[FoRK] A bit of religion - Problem of Evil

Corinna corinna.schultz
Wed Jan 4 14:29:15 PST 2006

Posted for comment, as a favor to someone else. But I'm interested as well 
if any of you have anything to say in the way of criticism or argument.

(Asterisks represent hyperlinks to notes :) "G" refers to a god.)


(Previous discussion of the problem of evil, and variations on the argument 
presented below, snipped. I'm assuming you all know what the problem of evil 

(premise 1) G is:

-> Omnipotent: capable of _any_* solution;

-> Omniscient: capable of determining and subtly applying _the_ optimal 
solution, regardless of breadth or complexity

-> Omnibeneficent: desirous of obtaining _only_ the optimal solution.

(Premise 2) G has not applied an optimal solution**.

(Conclusion) [1] and [2] contradict.  G as defined by [1] does not exist.

*Conceding the requirement that G's acts need be ethically and logically 
consistent*** serves to increase the subtlety of the argument, and perhaps 
the creativity necessary for a full and fair consideration.  Consider, as a 
fanciful suggestion of a superior solution, that men were instead of anxious 
and nervous primates (which can not be denied), sanguine and serene-minded 
beings of an arboreal nature (cf. Tolkien).  It is not hard to see, while we 
ourselves lack the intelligence and subtlety for a thoroughgoing and 
adequate solution, that there are many ways in which the basic conditions of 
our existence could be improved.  Here the suggestion only addresses certain 
aspects of the physiological and psychological environment; it must be kept 
in mind that G would have the ability to address and optimize across every 
remotely relevant element of our existence from the charge of an electron, 
to the nature of geography and space, to spiritual perspective, to the 
quality of the ecological constraints man must regard, to the manner in 
which our minds are structured -- indeed, of all realities, whether 
conceivable or otherwise.  By the requirements of [1] G must have done 
precisely this, and in the absolutely most perfect manner.  The strain upon 
[not-2] is unbearable.

**Shades of Leibniz.

***Why should Omnipotence have this limitation?  Do logical constraints 
somehow preexist G (cf. the Greek demiurge)?  Or is there an ethic which G 
must recognize, apart from that which he chooses to define/be as Good?

This argument has the advantage of broader and deeper application, and able 
to cut through all of the narrower considerations and counterarguments, 
which operate by presuming some of the regular features of theistic thought, 
and then propose to solve the problems in exactly those terms presumed. 
[The argument above] requires that every theistic conception of G's action 
or character be absorbed into [1], and that every ethically or pragmatically 
estimable fact of life coordinate with [not-2].

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