7
Why Is God Good?

IN OUR THIRD CHAPTER we advocated the following necessary truth:

P2 For a person to be a moral agent, he must be at times significantly free.

That is, for a person to be a moral agent, he must be capable of making morally significant choices, where for him to do a certain action then would be morally right and not to do the action then would be morally wrong, or vice versa. Christian theists hold that God is a moral agent; indeed, God is the only perfectly good moral agent. If P2 is a necessary truth, God must be significantly free, capable of making morally significant choices. But if God is capable of making morally significant choices, it is possible that he could do an action which is morally wrong. Consequently, it is theoretically possible to discern whether God is good based upon an evaluation of his transient acts. 1

Yet, it is urged by most Christian theists that none of these conclusions can be true concerning God. God is free, but not so that it is possible that God could perform an action which is morally wrong. God is essentially good, and his good acts are an expression of this essential goodness. God's acts are free, but the goodness of his acts follows necessarily from the goodness of his nature. Consequently, it is impossible to question the goodness of God based upon an examination of his transient acts. 2 P2 applies only to created moral agents and not to God.

The fact that these two different positions can be advanced by Christian theists suggests that attention must be

-130-

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Evil and a Good God
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xv
  • 1 - The Deductive Argument from Evil 1
  • Notes 22
  • 2 - The Inductive Argument from Evil 25
  • Notes 41
  • 3 - Presuppositions 43
  • Notes 60
  • 4: Theodicy for Moral Evils 64
  • 5 - Theodicy for Natural Evils 87
  • Conclusion 117
  • 6 - Must God Create the Best Possible World? 121
  • Conclusion 128
  • Notes 129
  • 7 - Why is God Good? 130
  • 8 - Is God Omnipotent or Finite in Power? 154
  • Index 197
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