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"The World of Mans Making?

An Argument Regarding "The No Best Possible World" Response to
the Problem of Evil, Given an Omnipotent, Omniscient and
Omnibenevolent God.- Charles Gregory St Pierre September 2016
Given God, why is there evil? If God is, according to the generally accepted
understandings of omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, (and we disagree with
these understandings) then God, such as He exists, has the knowledge, the ability, and the
desire to eliminate evil, and make the world an omni-good place.
Indeed, God as so defined seems to have the knowledge, the ability, and the desire to
make this world not merely good, but the best, the Best of all Possible Worlds. Why
then has He not?
So what if there was no best possible world to manifest? After all, an omnipotent God
can always make a Best Possible World. But then, omnipotent, it is always in His power
to make a better possible world.
But here is the problem of the implicit equivocation involving the word possible. In a
'possible world,' the word 'possible' is used to mean both imaginable, and realizable.
And these are not be the same. One can imagine viable worlds without gravity, or without
the necessity of stars to provide energy and light, where people do not need to breathe air,
or eat. In the imagination, these worlds are possible. But can they be made manifest? Or
is even God, such as He exists, though omnipotent within the laws of physics, yet bound
by them?
So we consider a possible world as one which can be made manifest, and thus is bound
by physical law. And we cannot fault God if our imaginations outstrip any possible
Then if so, if there are limits to the bestness of a Best of all Possible Worlds, it could
indeed be the case that there could be many equally best worlds, each different from the
others, and no particular world could be set above the others and be The Best.
The existence of a single realizable Best World, in fact, rests on (at least) two
assumptions: First that there is some finite limit to the goodness of worlds, which even
an 'omnipotent' God cannot transcend. This limit would seem to be set by the necessities
of physics. And the second is that the set of all possible best worlds is transitive.
Transitive here means that if World A is better that World B, and world B is better than
World C, then World A is better than World C.
But the collection of all possible best worlds need not be transitive. It could instead be
intransitive. That is: World A could be better than World B, and World B could be better
than World C, but World C could be better than World A. And this notion can be
extended to any sized collections of worlds. (There may be interesting consistency issues

with the notion of better than in collections larger than 3. However, other notions of
best, where any one world may, in particular terms, be uniquely the best and better than
all other worlds, yet any of the other worlds yet be better than the first, can be made
In creating possible worlds, it may be that compromises must be made. The laws of
physics dictate, for possible worlds, not only that there is only so much of anything and
everything to go around, but the most likely distribution of things is not going to be
uniform, with everybody getting all the same things in the same amount. Some will have
more of certain things, others will have less.
One can complain: God has not strewn the world with riches enough for all. But no
matter Gods generosity, there will always be grounds for complaint: Why did he not
spread more wealth? Why not enough gold, perhaps, to pave all the streets, or sufficient
emeralds, perhaps, with which to construct all our buildings?
Were there so much gold, or so many emeralds, then gold and emeralds would have no
more value than the asphalt in our world, or the concrete. For no matter what there is
in plenty, there will always be complaints that of what is not in plenty, there is not
There is, however, only so much room for stuff. There is only space for some things to be
in plenty. And there must be other things which must be rare. In a world whose streets
are paved with gold, it might be concrete which was cherished, and asphalt which was
hoarded. And the one world, though perhaps shinier, in truth no better than the other.
And perhaps, because it is shinier, worse.
But there is another, larger, issue: Who decides what is the Best of All Possible Worlds?
That is, by whose will does the world take its form?
The usual assumption is that it is God, such as He may be, who forms the world
according to His own criteria. But if God is omnibenevolent, and all the rest, His
benevolence might extend to providing to His people whatever their desired world might
However since, as all men, and women, are each unique, the best world for each of them
will be different from the best world for any other of them. So now what we have is a
second problem in constrained optimization: How to make the best possible world (vs
the best imaginable world,) for each of 8 billion souls, subject to the restrictions that they
all live in the same world, and on the same planet, and that their differing needs and
desires will necessarily conflict, and conflict ultimately dictate the satisfaction of desires.
If this is so, then this is a world of our shared desires. Best possible world or not, it is a
world of our choice. This is the world we have made real, the world which we forge by
our deeds, and not by words some supposed paradise of relentless bliss, some paradise to
which all save a very few of us give only lip service to. These few, these dedicated few,

these hly men and monks who, giving long, hard hours to achieving bliss in this world,
put the lie to complaints about the inadequacies of this world. Paradise can be achieved
here, they tell us, they show us. But. We are busy. And we are not only busy spreading
joy amongst ourselves. By our own desires we are equally busy inflicting sorrow upon
each other. With what justice then, do we then blame God for that evil?
It is this world. This world would be the world as man has striven for, and moment by
moment strives for. And God has allowed man the work of his own hands, and blessed
him with plentiful resources and opportunities, to build a paradise for all, should mankind
so choose.
So. There are many best possible worlds. And this is the world that man has chosen to
make. True, there is death and destruction that is not by mans hand. This planet, our
world, is greater than mankind, and has a life of its own, beyond and despite the works of
man. Is this a bad thing, that we should prefer instead a planet small, and still, and inert,,
or a good thing?
One can still argue that the existence of a creator God is not necessary to all this. One can
still complain why such a God might not bind mankind to greater goodness.
But any possible reality chosen by such a God, or as such a God may allow mankind, will
have faults, and be blemished. So one cannot argue from its flaws that the nature of our
world is refutation for the existence of such a God. Such a God may yet exist, crouching
in the future, setting the hands of man to help create His own past, to stand forth and
become ever more defined and realized as His time progresses, with neither imperfect
past, nor imperfect present, having been obstacles to His eventual manifestation.