Choices that make a difference

Our choice to express the divine nature in all that we think and do is a vital step—for ourselves and for humanity.

Are we really free to choose between right and wrong? And does it really make a difference? Without thinking too much about it, most of us would agree that we are and it does.

But with a little sober reflection, most of us would have to agree that it's not always easy to tell right choices from wrong. What is considered to be right or wrong can be highly subjective, and based as much on undetectable prejudice as reason. Even were we free from prejudice, bad sometimes blends with good so subtly in human affairs that it's hard to tell where one begins and the other leaves off. Even if we're sure about what's right or wrong with regard to our personal moral values, we sometimes have to make decisions where the issues don't always look clear-cut. Selecting from among alternatives requires us to foresee, at the time we choose, which alternative is likely to cause more good than evil. In an election, for example, we may find it difficult to tell which individual will be more right than wrong in the way he or she governs.

The Bible, in Genesis, tells us that Adam and Eve were the first to choose between right and wrong. Their choice, many believe, made a great difference, causing mankind to fall from grace and to be condemned to a continuous struggle with the conflicting forces of good and evil. This view of free moral agency holds that man is still free to choose between right and wrong but that his choices can never have the significance of the "first man's"—Adam's. Death, for example, is considered to have come into the world as a result of Adam's choice. According to this theory, no matter how obedient Adam's descendants might try to be in exercising their freedom of choice, death—along with many other undesirable things— is an irrevocable penalty for Adam's disobedience.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Being the child
September 23, 1991

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.