Freedom of Choice Between Right and Wrong (1)
You say “Humans choose to fall into the wrong side of the moral divide not because they have no choice or they don’t know it but because they find the immediate temptations of the evil way alluring.”
If indeed we ‘carry great potential for doing what is right’ then that explains why we choose to do right instead of wrong. It follows from this that the explanation of why we choose to do wrong instead of right must necessarily be that we also ‘carry great potential for doing what is wrong.’ Clearly, if we have the freedom of choice to choose either a good action or a sinful action in response to a given situation, there must be some explanation of why we choose the one or the other, and postulating that we carry the potential for goodness or sinfulness only begs the question; it is only a tautology.
The reason why we choose to do good or ill is because we are created both good and evil. Some will say we inherit evil through Adam and Eve, but then where did they get the evil by which to disobey their God? Some will say we are lead to evil by the temptations of Satan, but then by whom was Satan created if not by God? In the end, creation must reflect the nature of its creator, and it is clear from the events of Eden to this day that the potential for evil was as intrinsic to the creation of God as was the potential for good. Therefore, how can we continually make excuses for a God we insist is perfect and spotless? How can we blame sinfulness on human disobedience when disobedience is only possible if the creator made it possible with freedom of choice, and further made it inevitable by making the human soul both good and evil by its very nature?
God decided to make a creature that could genuinely justify for itself a place in the eternal life of paradise. That justification could only be provided if he had the opportunity of living a life where he had freedom of choosing right from wrong. Man knows right from wrong but still chooses the latter because of its immediate tempations. God hasn’t created evil. He is the creator of only goodness. Evil is the natural consequence of misuse of freedom, which itself is an undisputed virtue.
In other words, in order to be deserving the paradise, man had to freely choose the path of virtue. In order for him to be free, he had to have the opportunity of choice making. As a free agent, he at times chooses the wrong way, and he is aware of it in his conscience that he is doing so. It is only after he persists with evil over a long time that man’s conscience degenerates so much that he doesn’t even realize that he was doing anything wrong.
Had man been forced to do good like a robot, this life wouldn’t have been a test. There wouldn’t have been any point of eligibility of entering the paradise in that case.
We never inherited evil. Adam and Eve were the first pair of humankind. They were like us, more or less. Like we can fall into temptations so did they. Their example in the sacred books has been given to show that the battle between good and evil began from day one. Another point it illustrates is that while to fall into a temptation is human, to realize that the wrong done was evil was human too. The expectation of God is not that we become super humans, which we cannot become, but to become good humans by making earnest attempts to avoid evil and if it is committed by repenting and reforming. According to the Quran, both Adam and Eve repented immediately after realizing that they had done wrong.
Satan too was, like humans, a djinn, a fellow existence in trial. He too had, like all fellow djinns, the possibility of doing right and wrong. When tested, he committed the grave crime of arrogance and never repented. Furthermore, he took the mission of misleading man in his hands. Now, he tries to mislead humans by whispering evil into their hearts but only succeeds in case of those who are inclined to accept evil. God didn’t force Satan to assume that role. Had he not chosen it himself, God would have arranged some other way of testing humans through evil whispering.
In short, this life is a trial of good against evil. God has decided to reward the good people with paradise. Evil is the flip side of the equation. It happens when freedom is misused.
I hope what I have mentioned is not tautology.