Is God unjust in creating people without their permission?

Is God bringing you into existence (being born) somehow unjust in that you don’t have a say, and then HAVE to choose between hell and heaven? It has brought me tremendous discomfort.

We aren’t dealing with theology here so much as ethics.  The critic says it was wrong for God to bring about your precarious set of circumstances without your consent.  Setting aside for the moment, whether that is even possible, we want to know why they think God is wrong.  They may be appealing to “consequentialism,” the view that the consequences of an action occasion its being “right” or “wrong.”  They might also be appealing to a form of “deontology” that focuses on actions, saying that “bringing about consequences for another without their consent” is inherently wrong.

These views will compete with the ethical systems compatible with Christianity (such as natural law theory, virtue theory, or divine command theory).  So really, our disagreement here will be more fundamental than the scenario itself; we disagree on how to think about “right” and “wrong.”

I recommend Exploring Christian Ethics by Kyle Fedler for more on this topic.

So….how might we respond if someone brings up this critique?  First, we’d want to clarify what exactly they think God has done wrong.  Let’s assume that they believe the consequence that God brings about makes it wrong.  We can provide powerful counter-examples to this way of thinking.  Why would it be wrong, for example, to euthanize individuals for their organs to give to terminal transplant patients?  We save many and only kill one.  If consequences justify our actions, then indeed, such a move would be justified.  Even so, we can see how organ harvesting would be horrible!

Suppose they want to say that it is wrong to act in a way that affects you without your consent.  In that case, we might point out that no one can consult someone who doesn’t exist and so the result will be that God cannot create any human beings (since he can’t consult any of them beforehand).  Is it morally wrong that humanity exists at all?  Is there no possible world in which God can be morally right in bringing about humanity’s existence?  Surely not!  If God can be morally right in bringing us about without our prior consent, then God doesn’t need our permission.