One might be worried--as a commenter recently has been--that the idea that God kicked Adam and Eve out of paradise, thereby ensuring that their descendants would grow up in our vale of tears, is unjust. Since the focus is on Adam and Eve's descendants, let us grant for the sake of argument that God was just in punishing Adam and Eve with death. The question, then, is whether God was just in having us live outside paradise.
Now, if God was unjust in acting as Genesis says he did, then whom did he wrong? He did not wrong Adam and Eve, for their punishment was deserved. Presumably, he wronged their descendants, namely us. But now consider a sequence of three possible worlds:
- God kills Adam and Eve on the spot, and the human race gets no further.
- God kicks Adam and Eve out of paradise, and prevents them from reproducing.
- God kicks Adam and Eve out of paradise, but does not prevent them from reproducing.
So, in 1 and 2 there is no injustice. What about world 3? If we say that in world 3 there is injustice, then it seems that God's failure to prevent Adam and Eve from reproducing was an injustice--for we have granted that there is no injustice in world 2 which is like world 3, except that Adam and Eve are prevented from reproduction. In other words, if we say that there is an injustice in world 3, we have to say that once God decided to kick Adam and Eve out of paradise, he acted unjustly towards their descendants by letting Adam and Eve have these descendants. But that, I think, is absurd. If we grant it, then by the same token any of us who choose to reproduce in this vale of tears are doing wrong. (Yes, there is a recent book arguing just for the wrongness of reproduction. Few absurdities are such that no philosopher could be found to defend them.)
But that's too simple an argument. After all, maybe the wrong in 3 is not just in the point where 2 and 3 branch off from each other (the prevention of progeny). God is omnipotent after all, and that makes a difference. I think the most plausible alternative way of salvaging the argument for God's injustice is the suggestion that God did wrong in not transporting Adam and Eve's children miraculously back to paradise, perhaps immediately after their conception. However, I do not think that God owed them, as a matter of justice, such miraculous transport, especially given that there were unique kinds of goods that would be available to them outside of paradise that wouldn't be available in paradise, goods such as sacrificial love, forgiveness, and courage.