Friday, April 24, 2009

The Incoherence of the Atheistic "Better World"

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MYTH
God is not omnipotent or omnibenevolent because He did not create a world in which all persons always freely choose good

1. Today I gave a presentation on the essay Evil and Omnipotence by atheist J.L. Mackie, but I did not have time to give the following demonstration by Dr. Scott Carson of the incoherence of a salient atheist objection to the mutual consistency of the propositions (1) God is omnibenevolent; (2) God is omnipotent; (3) Evil exists. The atheist objects along the lines of, "God is not omnipotent or omnibenevolent because He did not create a world in which all persons always freely choose good." Let the following sequence adopted from a post of Dr. Scott Carson{1} manifest the self-defeating nature of atheist J.L. Mackie's proposal that in an omnipotent omnibenevolent Creator would, in this better world, let all persons freely choose good and always intervene when they are about to choose evil:
(1) Assume World W in which all persons are free but necessarily, no free person will ever choose evil. In World W, necessarily all persons always freely choose good.
(2) God must guarantee that no free person in W uses his freedom to choose evil instead of good.
(3) No person in W is free to choose evil.
(4) No person in W is free.
(5) No person in W freely chooses good.
2. It will not do to complain that God should have created all persons in beatitude. For, as Aquinas says with the example of the angels, "the angels did not have from the beginning of their creation that ultimate beatitude which is beyond the power of nature; because such beatitude is no part of their nature, but its end; and consequently they ought not to have it immediately from the beginning."{2}

Notes & References
{1} Carson, Dr. Scott. "Impossible Possibilities." An Examined Life. 13 Nov. 2007. 24 Apr. 2009 <http://examinelife.blogspot.com/2007/11/impossible-possibilities.html>.
{2} Aquinas, St. Thomas. Summa Theologica I, q. 62, art. 1: "Whether the angels were created in beatitude?" 24 Apr. 2009 <http://newadvent.org/summa/1062.htm#article1>.

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