Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:51 pm
by Michael
Cole H. wrote:Hey Michael,

I think it is a categorical error. Something and nothing have nothing in common so they can't be compared. It's like comparing apples and nonapples, insisting that non apples taste better.

I've often heard people say you can't compare apples to oranges, but I've never understood why.

Apples and bannanas aren't my favorite fruits precisely because they come up short when I compare them to oranges, peaches, tangerines, pineapples, berries, and melons (all of which are soft, juicy, and refreshing when compared to apples and bannanas.)

Bannanas are starchy, dry, and bland, and apples (though less starchy, and maybe less bland) are hard and dry (compared to citrus fruits, melons, and berries.)

A good cantelope, watermelon, or pineapple is far better than a good apple.

So maybe what people mean when they say you cant compare apples to oranges is that you can't expect a good apple to be as refreshing as a good orange (and you certainly can't expect to enjoy either of them, or a host of other things if you don't exist.)

So what was your point about apples and non-apples?

And are you saying that being in a state (or non state) of total non-existence is no better than being crucified, or slowely burned alive?

Or that enjoying a good meal, or a sexual orgasm is no better than being dead (or non existent)?

Or that a God who brought finite sentient beings into existence could have had no unselfish reason for doing so?

How than was creation an act of love?

And if you define grace as "unmeritted favor," how was it an act of "overflowing grace"?

Oh, and if you exist, it must be possible for you to exist (right?)

And if God is omniscient, and has knowledge of all possible worlds (and all possible entities in those worlds), wouldn't you exist as a counterfactual even before creation?

Even apart from creation?

Even if you never actually existed?

So wouldn't it be possible for God to compare your state of existence to your counterfactual's state of non-existence?

If Cole H. is enjoying the beautific vision in heaven, wouldn't it be possible for God to say your existence in that state is better than your experience of absolutely nothing (as a counterfactual who never existed)?

And (conversely), if you were suffering unending, conscious, eternal torment, couldn't God say you were somewhat worse off as an actualized individual than you would be as an unactualized counterfactual?

In the OP, I said I didn't know how to argue against the logic that it was a category error to say it would be better for x to exist in happiness than not to exist at all, but I think I'm beginning to see what's wrong with that logic.

If x can exist, he exists as a counterfactual whether or not he's ever actualized.

The counterfactual x feels no pain, so he's better off than an actualized x (in some possible world) who can never feel anything but pain.

And the counterfactual x knows no happiness, or love, and feels no pleasure, so he's worse off than an actualized x (in some possible world) who knows, and shares, and enjoys all these things.

I think that might be the answer to my question here.

And in that case the God who creates ex nihilo (who brings non-existent counterfactuals into being) could do so as an act of love, and creation could be what you call an act of overflowing grace.

Does anyone see any flaw in my logic?