God’s Not Dead, Chapter 3 – The Best Possible World? (pt37)
THE BEST POSSIBLE WORLD?
When we see evil and suffering in the world, we are compelled to ask, with mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, “Is this the best possible world?” he believed that in light of all the contingent factors, this was the best possible world.
What about Heaven? Free will and no evil, the perfect combination. Why couldn’t there only be Heaven?
He [Christopher Hitchens] and others [me] feel that the imperfections in the universe point to the absence of an intelligent Designer.
It isn’t surprising but it is evident that cherry picking is a required skill for faith. It is perfectly fine to attribute the wonder and beauty of the universe to a god but the imperfections and ugly parts are unavoidable because of the finite nature of the universe.
The short lives we live on this planet don’t even register in significance, if this life is all there is. In light of the vast eons of time and the ominous backdrop of eternity, we are less than a drop in a bucket.
I’m glad the author made this statement, in retort I must say that if this life doesn’t “even register in significance” to the eternal why would/should our eternal splendor in Heaven or torture in Hell be hinged on decisions we make in this insignificant, ignorant existence?
The author presents three types of worlds god could have created.
God could have created us without the capacity or option to do evil. No choices, just programmed goodness.
Automatons of peace and good will. The thought I had about angels for so many years (and still do, a little).
God could have created a world with absolutely no intervention on His part. He creates everything and lets it take its own course.
If any of the three had to be chosen I would choose this option as the most likely and also the best choice.
God could have created a world in which He gives us real choices to make. He works among us and acts according to His purposes and promises.
Again I must point out that you can’t have both a hands-on god performing miracles for the believers and helping in times of need and also have a hands-off god allowing human decisions to dictate the consequences individuals will earn. If you understand and accept this contradiction what then is the purpose of prayer?
Option 3 seems to be the world God has created. There are real choices with real consequences for our actions. At the same time, God is able to interact in His creation. He is not just the playwright who sits and watches, but is an actor in His own story.
Yet again, the author describes the ego of god better than I would have been able to.
Join me in a little thought experiment. Do you give god the power of omniscience (knowing everything)? Does god know the past, present, and future? Did god have a choice about the universe? Could the fine tuning be changed and still create life? Do you believe in multiple universes, multiple existences? These questions are obviously directed at theist readers, so, I will go out on a limb and assume your answers. Yes, god is omniscient. Yes, he chose this type of life, this universe, over another option. No, this is the only me.
With these answers, it follows that the creator god knew the consequences of his choices but also of every choice that would be made in the universe before he made it. He fine tuned this specific universe choosing the outcome of every decision before it was to be made. Where in that “plan” is there room for free will?
Much like a play, the ending has already been written; god is given the power of omniscience by many followers, and it follows that he would know the future, would know the outcome of all decisions, and has decided them all already.