Heaven and theodicy are not compatible

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Heaven and theodicy are not compatible

The typical Christian view of Heaven is not compatible with the common approaches to reconcile theodicy.

When dealing with theodicy, most Christians try to solve the problem with some combination of saying that free will justifies all bad decisions people make (and the existence of Hell!), and that we have to suffer in this world because we need to know suffering to appreciate paradise (because they say so). So, based on the two above assumptions, we have to be allowed to be jerkwads to each other, and we have to suffer in order to appreciate Heaven, but that's okay, because Heaven is infinite and totally worth it, and also because of [mysterious ways].

Now, that being said, what is Heaven? Well, most Christians think it's eternal, and it's perfectly good, and everyone "lives" there in perfect happiness. Sweet! This does sound like it's worth it! Although, not everyone goes to Heaven. Some people make the wrong choices and go to Hell. Sometimes, your friends and loved ones even go there, and that's sad. So, are you sad in Heaven that some of your friends won't be there (and are currently suffering like crazy)? Nope! It turns out, you're not aware of this because you've forgotten about them, or it doesn't bother you because of [reasons]. Okay, I guess. That seems like a bit of a non-answer, or like I'm not even myself anymore, but hey! Eternal happiness!

So, can we do bad things in Heaven? No, because then not everyone would be happy. Do we have the free will to do bad things in Heaven? There are two responses:

1: No, but that's okay, because it's Heaven and because of [reasons].

2: Yes, but you don't do bad things because it's Heaven and you don't feel like it, because of [reasons].

Wait. What the crap? Both of those just ruined the whole theodicy thing! Let’s look at each of those a little more closely:

1: No free will, but it's cool.
Free will was the justification for all human-caused suffering and for Hell. I thought it was super important. Now it's not? It seems like this is either really circular reasoning, or that you're only looking at one part of this at a time (theodicy or Heaven), but refuse to look at the big picture.

2: Free will, but you don't want to be a jerk face.
So, we're going with the you have to know suffering to appreciate Heaven approach, here. Because, if we aren't, you'd wonder why God didn't just create all the souls in Heaven in the first place. So, we accept that free will is super important, and we can have free will and be certain to not be jerk faces, but all that suffering is what drives this. There are still a few problems with this. Namely:

That no longer justifies the existence of Hell, which is super creepy, and

how much suffering is necessary to enjoy Heaven? Does everyone enjoy it equally?

Let's look at that second point a bit more closely. Picture three people:

  1. A wealthy person who has barely known suffering. Sure, he's stubbed his toes on furniture and lost money in the stock market, but he's always lived comfortably. He'd never been sick, and he dies peacefully in his sleep of old age.
  2. A poor person who suffered extensively his whole, long life. All of his loved ones have died, many horrifically, and in front of his eyes. He suffers from chronic pain and illness. He works his entire life just to scrape by enough to barely survive. In the end, he dies tragically, painfully, and in a way that is drawn out, so that he knows he's going to die.
  3. A fetus (or perhaps born baby) that has existed just long enough to have nominally suffered, then promptly dies.

So, do they all enjoy Heaven the exact same?

Cool! Now, it seems that the optimal solution would be to ensoul lots of "babies" and instantly kill them in such a way that they baaarely suffer. Now, you can have infinite souls in heaven living the good life for eternity for minimum suffering! And no Hell! So why doesn't God do this? It must ether be [mysterious ways] or because this isn't the correct answer.

So, the second guy, the one who suffered the most enjoyed the most, but it's cool, because Heaven is infinite, and totally worth it! So, the optimal solution is to torture yourself and/or others for your/their own good? Creepy. Also, why don't we advocate this more, if it's the highest good?

Seriously. Any popular concept of Heaven makes no sense in any reasonable sense of the word, and it completely undoes all of that theodicy that Christians have so painstakingly put together.