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So, who's to blame?

"... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." Romans 3.23

Is the human propensity to make bad and harmful choices the result of moral wickedness or a design-flaw in the way God has made us? The latter possibility is generally dismissed through the argument for free-will: for humans to be genuinely free, God had to give us the opportunity to behave badly as well as to be good. So then, are we to be held responsible for our actions. Assuming we really are in control of our actions, then why not?

More difficult is the question of why we so often and naturally go wrong? For instance, you don't have to teach a child to behave badly; it comes naturally! Another habitual response, among Christians anyway, is to point backwards to The Fall, to explain the problem as humanity's seduction by the attractive side of evil, as represented by Satan and his lies, leading to our rejection of God's benevolent authority.

Some contemporary thinkers regard such a view as naive, suggesting instead that, rather then looking back towards some half remembered fall from grace, we should realise that the opposite is, in fact, the case: that we are clawing our way towards moral improvement, getting better every day. Evidence is to be found in our increasing awareness of suffering and injustice, the proliferating number of charities reaching out in love and laws designed to offer protection.

The trouble is that, running stubbornly alongside this virtuous evidence are the ever greater examples of man's inhumanity to man, abuse of the environment and rejection of God. Can we really claim to be on a trajectory of moral improvement? As Easter reminds us, humanity as a whole has always been capable of both good and evil while God, in his love, has a plan to curtail the latter so that the former triumphs ultimately. In that sense life is like a river running in opposing directions. The question is: which will you take?



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