You hear Christians, or even just people that believe in God, say that “He has a plan for all of us.” And then when someone asks, “Why does evil exist if God is omni-benevolent and all-powerful and more or less PERFECT?” To which the believers reply: “He gave us free will and WE created evil in the world.”
So this logically doesn’t work. If God has a plan, we can’t have free will. Anyone with free will would do as they wished, and God couldn’t know the “plan”, if it indeed truly were free will.
So let’s pretend that God does have a plan and we don’t have free will: this means God planned on some people going to hell, since according to the Bible and to some believers people indeed have gone to hell and are indeed in hell. What kind of benevolent God would PLAN on sending people to hell? Sounds a lot worse than Satan to me…
Either God doesn’t have a plan (because some are in hell and Him loving you infinitely means he couldn’t have PLANNED that) or he’s not all good (because an all loving God wouldn’t plan on sending folks to hell). I’ll leave out the free will argument aside for now. Because here’s where I love argument and not knowing: St. Augustine comes back at me apparently immediately by saying that God CAN love you AND throw you into hell. How? He loves you so much that he sends you to hell. As a punishment. As a lesson. Now this doesn’t work for me exactly because a lesson isn’t eternal. If it is, then again, it’s a logical contradiction according to the definition: you can’t learn a lesson for eternity, because learning a lesson implies that you’ll do better and get another chance. Thus Augustine, so I heard, would say back that the lesson is for other mortals to learn from. That’s how much God loves us.
Here’s a better argument for it: There is no such thing as evil at all. Hell and pain and suffering ARE NOT evil and bad. In truth, those are as much pure love as sending you to heaven; good and evil don’t exist, only love from God. And that love might mean eternal hellfire or eternal light.
Here’s my favorite argument that I said to myself before anyone ever would have said it to me: God can somehow be an all good perfect infinitely loving being, and have a plan that throws us into hell. Contradiction right? It’s what I brought up in the beginning of this essay. Yet if God is all-powerful and perfect, in which nothing greater can ever be imagined, doesn’t that mean He can make it so that this notion ISN’T a contradiction? It just IS. If God created 2+2=4 can’t he also make 2+2=6? Somehow? In some way that we can’t fathom because we’re infinitely far away from his divinity and perfectness? It’s why I say that contradictions don’t exist; it wasn’t just some flippant expression for me to sound profound. They don’t exist on a micro or macro level if you just dig in deep enough and discover the truth of it all.
And once you do that you let me know.
The answer to the initial question is what everyone already knows deep down in themselves: We do not know. I give the question How can God be an all loving/all good God and still have a plan that sends us to hell? I don’t know. Neither do you I’m afraid. Oh and by the way, you don’t know if God exists either. Or if he doesn’t. Or if He’s perfect. Or if he’s a He, Or if you’re you or if you’re real or if you breathe or what chalk is or what you love or what numbers mean or what logic is or if you’re leaving the house tomorrow. We all just believe things.