Ep66-Radical Evils and Pre-mortal Consent-The Plan of Atonement Theodicy (pt 3) - Vol 4

Topics Discussed:
• Can Radical Evils Benefit the Victims as an Essential Feature of God’s Plan of Atonement?
•  Is It Justifiable to Permit Consent to Personality-Destroying Evils?
• Are Radical Evils Essential to the Plan of Atonement? 

Refer to the outline here...specifically #9 for this episode: http://www.exploringmormonthought.com/2018/10/ep65-plan-of-atonement-theodicy-pt-2.html

Show Notes:

Can Radical Evils Benefit the Victims as an Essential Feature of God’s Plan of Atonement? 

while the possibility of some evil action is necessary to a greater good, nevertheless, no particular instance of evil is necessary to a greater good.

Peter van Inwagen says which evils are allowed is arbitrary.

Unless their own interests and purposes are also furthered by allowing the evil, then the victims of evils are used as mere means to accomplish God’s plan for the benefit of others.

God must not use individuals as mere means to benefit others.

Job analogy...his wife and kids

In a vision to Joseph Smith dated 21 January 1836, the voice of God declared: “All children who die before the age of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.” (D&C 137:10) There are three points that are essential to make about this revelation.

First, it does not follow from that fact that children who die before the age of accountability are assured celestial glory that therefore God caused Rachel Runyon or any other child to die before the age of accountability. Rather, it means that if one in fact dies before such an age, then that person is assured a celestial glory.

Second, all persons who have accomplished whatever they came here to learn, or at the very least have had sufficient opportunity to do so, whatever their age, can leave this mortal probation at any time having fulfilled their purpose in life.

Third, there may well be many people who live beyond the age of accountability who are nevertheless assured of the celestial kingdom because of the progress they made before this life.


So again you have the same problem. Someone can die, but it doesn't justify the type of death. If you fulfill your 'purpose' then can you raped tortured and slowly killed and God won't do anything about it?

Should I be sad that someone is killed? Seems like their purpose was fulfilled and 'God needed one more angel in heaven.'

Should I assume that I can't kill anyone who hasn't already fulfilled their purpose? Can I then really being just helping that person along their journey by killing them.....

So because someone progressed in this life if they keep on living by chance and then sin up a storm...on your view they are still assured celestial glory.

Moral Quietude comes back with a vengeance.


to be an instance of redeemable evil, there are other conditions that must be met.

First, Rachel must have consented to confront this life and all of the kinds of dangers and challenges attendant to mortality. I am not asserting that Rachel Runyon or anyone else consented to the particular morally reprehensible actions that caused her death. That would only be possible if God could have foreknowledge of morally free actions. Such knowledge is impossible. What I am asserting is that Rachel Runyon and others who are subjected to radical evils consented to the types and kinds of evils that could occur in this life.

Second?...Rachel and others who consent to be subjected to radical evils are a necessary part of God’s plan of Atonement because their consent gives others the opportunity to exercise their free will to choose even horrendous evils.

God is not arbitrary and capricious with respect to which instances of evil he will allow to preserve the viability of his plan of Atonement. He bases the choice on: (a) the prior choice to consent of those who are potentially victimized; (b) the fact that they will not be deprived of the opportunity for soul-making toward celestial glory as a result of death as an infant.

 Whether an evil that gives an opportunity to learn turns out in fact to actually be an occasion of learning is up to the individuals involved. This life is but a moment in the eternal span of time that we have been progressing and learning through many episodes of various types of experiences. There has been an eternity for the intelligences to work out what they desire to learn in this life. Toward that end, I suggest that each intelligence/spirit in the pre-mortal life may have entered into certain covenants and agreements with others to be the means by which they could learn the lessons necessary to progress in capacity to love.

 Is It Justifiable to Permit Consent to Personality-Destroying Evils?

 it seems open to question whether it is morally permissible for God to allow spirits to consent to be used and abused, degraded and traded, demoralized and depersonalized even if they express immense love by so consenting and others may possibly benefit. The key difference, however, is that the spirits are not only a means to God’s ends. Their own purpose of expressing their love by being allowed to serve others is also realized in God’s plan of atonement.

Radiation volunteer example

If some do not consent to be used and abused by others to offer the possibility of morally significant choice, the entire creation will be wasted and God’s plan will be frustrated.

Why? I don't see this as necessary. Seems like you are saying free will is an illusion. You can only commit atrocious acts against those who have volunteered. So if someone is brutally murdered you must conclude that they volunteered so it isn't that bad.

it seems that whoever is asking the volunteers to confront the danger of radiation poisoning to effectuate the rescue mission must himself be willing confront the same dangers. Referring to Jesus.

I thought Jesus was volunteering to make it right. His suffering heals all the other suffering. He suffered so we don't have to.

Train collision analogy.  Should God allow some to suffer even as innocent children for the benefit of many others?

What is this benefit we all get from children suffering you keep referring to?

Are Radical Evils Essential to the Plan of Atonement? 

I suggest three reasons why a world with power to do great good but not power to do great evil is not a real option.

First, it seems that God’s existence would have to be rendered obvious to us with the kind of constant and dramatic intervention called for.

Second, it is not possible for God to simply gerrymander natural laws in the ways suggested.

Third, confronting radical evils is essential to God’s plan because of the nature of love at issue.

The problem of evil thus is not answered by an argument that calls evil good, or that justifies God in allowing evil so that evil is justified, but by a response that transforms the evil with love. Evil remains implacably evil and not a greater good. There are genuine evils because the world is not better, even all things considered, that these horrendous evils occurred. Rather, the world is made better by our loving response to evil. When we respond to our enemies with love, when we respond to violence with love, when we are moved to love and care for others because of the evils they encounter, then, and only then, can we redeem the evil because it has served it purpose to wake us to our own evil and our potential for good. Then the evil is redeemed because through it we have learned something we could learn in no other way that has such great value that it transforms the evils into mentors of gods.


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