Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Basis of Morality and the Problem of Evil

The timing of this post was completely unplanned. I simply got to the point that this was the next topic to tackle, and happened to have time today, in case anyone wondered.

The Basis of Morality

Recently, I showed that God must be the most valuable thing existent. All ought to ascribe value to things with regard to their actual value, therefore all ought to ascribe God most value of all, since he is most valuable. Furthermore, all ought to ascribe to God all value, since he created all that has value. Worship may be defined as the ascribing of ultimate value to someone or thing. Thus, all ought to worship God.

How does one ascribe value to a thing? One might merely state that the thing is valuable, but if one proceeds to ignore that thing, then people will assume that you are merely saying that, and that you do not actually believe it yourself.Thus, one must act out of a motive of seeking that which is valued. If it were merely to act in those ways that would show that one valued the object, then it could still be faked. If it could be faked, then one could lie in order to do good. But earlier I suggested that God must be entirely honest. Does it show that one values a thing if one does that which is contrary to that thing's purpose? Therefore, to do good is to be motivated by a desire for that which is most valuable.

The Problem of Evil

I have mentioned before my dislike for defenses against the problem of evil that make God seem less powerful than he may be. I have also shown that, from a certain perspective, we do not have freewill. Thus, a defense against the problem of evil must not rely on human freewill in that perspective, nor make any of God's attributes to be less than they may be. It will be helpful to examine the issue from the perspectives of God's transcendence and his immanence, separately.


Transcendent

God must act in such a way that he does not cause evil. This is relatively simple when one focuses on his transcendence, since he may create all the events at once such that the ideal outcome is provided, and therefore God acts with utmost desire for himself. Thus, taken as a whole, across all of its duration across time, this is the best of all possible worlds.

Immanent

This leaves explaining the problem of evil when one focuses on God's immanence. This is not so much of a problem, however, because the perspective from which one may not rely on human freewill was the perspective of God's transcendence. Thus, the traditional freewill defense may be given from this perspective.

This traditional freewill defense supposes that God has given us freewill, and that this freewill is worth the risk of our sin, and that Adam sinned by misusing his freewill. This language does not appear to be open, having denied freewill from one angle. However, in so far as God is in time, and responds to human actions, freewill is granted to us. The language of "risk" may be unacceptable, but if so, then it is because God knows that the end result will be the best of all possible worlds, which is worth whatever finite amount of suffering is experienced before then. The last part of the defense, that Adam sinned by misusing his freewill, may thus stand so long as it is noted that freewill is granted us by God from this perspective.

2 comments:

  1. Is "freewill" really one word? :-)

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  2. No red squiggly. Dictionaries seem only define it as an adjective when it is one word, but here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freewill one of the example sentences uses it as a noun. It may be a recent shift.

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