God and the will (2)

There’s no danger of losing sight of the evils engineering and science can fix. Any sickness, famine, or medical emergency reminds us, and we can be proud of the fixes we’ve come up with, especially in the last two hundred years.

Such fixes leave another domain of evils untouched. While there’s little disagreement over when our bodies or possessions aren’t functioning properly, e.g. when our legs or cars or thermostats are broken, there is considerable disagreement over when human actions and behaviors are similarly dysfunctional. Even when we can all agree that some behavior is wicked (and if we all agreed, who would find it worth doing?) we still have very little idea how to fix it, even in principle.

While the human need for God arises in the face of either sort of evil, the mystery of the second sort of evil is more proportioned to the mystery of divinity. We know what to do when an object is obedient to our will – and all of engineering deals with things that predictably respond to how we treat them and stay where we put them. But the will itself isn’t like this – the will demands inspiration, affective knowledge, light, and strength that we have very little idea how to generate and which all tend to be experienced as coming from another.

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