Must God Create the Best Possible World?
IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER I argued that it is impossible to show from experience that this is or is not the best of all possible worlds. The reason this is impossible from an empirical perspective is that it is ultimately impossible to construct the total world-system which would result in and from significantly altering certain undesirable physical structures or natural laws, or removing undesirable organisms or states of affairs, and to calculate and then compare the total values realizable in this possible world with the total values realized in the actual world. As such, from an empirical point of view, the theist is not required to demonstrate that this is the best of all possible worlds, or even to respond to contentions that the actual world is not the best because the atheologian purportedly can conceive of one better.
The issue concerning the best of all possible worlds, however, can be raised from a different perspective-- i.e., not empirically but rather a priori. From the consideration of the properties or attributes which God is traditionally conceived to possess, i.e., perfect goodness, omnipotence, and omniscience, can it not be deduced that if he exists, he must create the best possible world? 1 That is, is failure to create the best possible world contradictory to God's possession of one or more of these traditionally ascribed properties or attributes?
One reply to this might be that there would be no contradiction involved provided that God had a morally suffi