Ehrman’s Problem 3: God Could Have Made Us So We’d Always Do Right

by Clay Jones

Bicentennial ManBart Ehrman asks why God didn’t give humans “the intelligence they need to exercise it [free will] so that we can all live happily and peaceably together? You can’t argue that he wasn’t able to do so, if you want to argue that he is all powerful.” (13)1 This objection is Ehrman’s slant on the more commonly stated argument: God should have been able to create free beings who would always do what was right.

There are two problems with Ehrman’s idea.

First, it would seem that Ehrman sees a strong correlation between intelligence and goodness. Personally, I see absolutely no correlation whatsoever. I do not believe for one minute that intelligence is any indicator of goodness. Those with higher IQs aren’t more moral than those with lower IQs. After all, it was the Nazi doctors who began the genocide in Nazi Germany by killing the disabled and mentally retarded. It took great intelligence to arrange the systematic murder of six million Jews and five million of Slavic descent.

Now I suspect that Ehrman would say that he meant something different than just raw intellectual horsepower. But what would it be? How does God educate beings, like humans, who have decided that He doesn’t know what’s best for us? That He is just holding us back from something good? That He is not looking out for our best interest? That He is spoiling our fun? One student got angry with me: “There must be a way!” My reply was, “Okay, what do you got?” which only made him madder…


Ehrman’s Problem 3: God Could Have Made Us So We’d Always Do Right | Clay Jones



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