eudaemonism, happiness. Other possibilities would include the production of the most virtue, moral goodness, or goodwill in the world. But no matter which of these be accepted, whether individually or in combination, as in the previous case one could imagine an infinite series of optimific states in which for any amount of optimific states of affairs n, one could conceive of n+1 optimific states of affairs, or considered qualitatively for any degree of optimificity in the world one could conceive of even more optimificity. For example, for any sum total of happiness n which might be produced, it would be possible to think of a greater total of happiness, n+1, which might have been produced. Thus, there could be no best possible world, since for any world which we would name there would always be another which was more optimific. Again, the notion of best possible world proves to be meaningless.


CONCLUSION

We have seen in the above discussion that there are substantial grounds for seriously doubting that the notion of the best possible world is meaningful. When we speak of best as relating to the created world, we find that there is not a finite series such that there could be a best possible being, state of affairs, or maximal state of affairs. Rather, we are faced with an infinite series of characteristics, degrees of their actualization, or optimific states of affairs, in which for any given being or state of affairs there could always be a better. Since the notion of the best possible world is not meaningful, it makes no sense to inquire whether God could or must create such a world; the very concept of such a world is indeed a chimera. In speaking of God's creative activity, the theist need only affirm with the writer of Genesis that what God created was good.

-128-

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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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