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Technology in the Human World

  • Date Submitted: 02/09/2012 10:08 AM
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Atheists have argued that if there is a God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent, then God would have made a better world than the one in which we live. Many different possible worlds are better than this one. Some have less natural or moral evil than this world, and some even have no natural or moral evils at all. Consequently, there is no God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent because such a God would have made one of those worlds that is better than this one.1
Philosophical theists typically reply to the problem of evil by focusing on one aspect of it, namely on the claim that there are better worlds without moral evil. There are possible worlds with no moral evil, the theist responds, but these are worlds without freedom, and freedom is a moral good that outweighs the moral evil that necessarily attends freedom. Worlds with freedom are better than worlds without freedom, and the existence of freedom entails the existence of moral evil. So perhaps this is the best of all possible worlds or at least a better world than worlds with no evil, and so it does not follow that the existence of moral evil and God are incompatible. This defense of theism -- the Free Will Defense -- has provoked the following response by J. L. Mackie: “Why could God not have made men such that they always freely choose the good?” (1955, p.209). The point of this rhetorical question is that freedom does not entail moral evil. There are possible worlds that include freedom but lack moral evil, and these worlds are better than worlds with both freedom and moral evil. So even if it is granted that freedom has the value the Free Will Defense places on it, there still are better worlds than this one, and a God that is
Omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent would have created one of those instead of this one.
Mackie’s response assumes that such a God could have created one of those better worlds. Alvin Plantinga has challenged this assumption, and this challenge...


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