On Why God Made Those Who are to be Punished

St. Gregory Palamas 1296-1359

As for those who accuse God of calling people who were not going to act in obedience to Him, no doubt they would also have held Him responsible for the destruction of such people, had He not called them. He called them so that no one could say that He was the cause of their being punished. Why was it, then, that He created men who were to be damned? He did not make them to be punished, but to be saved, as is clear from the fact that He called them. If He wanted to damn anyone at all, He would not have called everyone to salvation. If God led me and called me to salvation through His goodness, but I turned out evil, ought my wickedness, before it even existed, to have overcome His eternal goodness and have thwarted it? That would be totally unreasonable. People who assert otherwise and make accusations against the Creator are actually saying that it was wrong to make human beings rational. For reason would be pointless without free choice and the power of self-governance. How can someone have the freedom to choose and the power to act freely, unless he were able to do evil, should he so wish? If he could not be wicked, nor could he, presumably, be good.

Anyone who states that God should not have made those people who will be punished, is also saying that He should not have made those who will be saved, or any rational free beings at all.  As everything else was made for the sake of mankind, such a person is contending that God should not have created anything. Do you see the absurdity of this? God made the human race rational and free, and because of men’s tendency to please themselves and the different uses to which they put their freedom, some were to become bad, and others good. What should God, Who is truly good, have done? Ought He not to have brought good men into being on account of those who would turn evil? That would be the greatest injustice imaginable. For even if there were only going to be one good person, it would not have been just to stop creating, since one who does God’s will superior to innumerable sinners. (Homily 41.5-6) 

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