The Weakness of the Human Will: Part I – ‘Good Man’ Fell


I sat listening to a lecture today and a question of free will came up during the lecture, something along the lines that some persons assert that God should have made a world where humans were inherently good because if they were so, then they would always willingly choose good. Instantly my thoughts traversed to the garden of Eden. Here is man, unadulturated, pure, holy, clean, and, in its truest sense, good. This is what many people assert that a good God would have done with all people. But here we have man and woman who are good and given the ability to choose between right and wrong and they failed to choose the good.

The question necessarily arises: “Why didn’t man resist the temptation that was posed to them by the serpent?” Before we endeavor to draw out some answers to that question, there were many other things in my mind that I considered that tie into that question. What is interesting to note is that there is only one temptation account in the Garden of Eden. This is important because if there was only one moment of temptation, then man fell at the first temptation. Even though man was endowed with complete internal goodness, that goodness coupled with the power of man’s will was not enough to restrain him from choosing evil. This is something that I am inferring from the text which may or may not be false, but it is worth noting for the sake of the argument. If this is true, that man fell on the first temptation, then we must consider reasons why he would have fallen. There are three observations that I see that are necessary to understand. 1) Man’s will is inherently weak, whether that man be inherently good or not. This is the hinge of the argument. 2) The nature of the offer (temptation) of the serpent. 3) Temptation will always appear as the greatest immediate pleasure to an untrained conscience, and man will always follow their greatest perceived desire, therefore man necessarily would have chosen the temptation that was presented to them.

What is most important for us to distinguish at the outset though is that man did not resist temptation even though they were inherently good. This flies in the face of condemners who say that a simple restoration to internal goodness will suffice for the power to always resist temptation.

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