Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

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Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:57 pm

I was reading the deductive argument of evil from Richard La Croix and wanted to see what you all thought about it. Here it is

Deductive argument from Richard R. La Croix:

“If God is the greatest possible good then if God had not created there would be nothing but the greatest possible good. And since God didn’t need to create at all, then the fact that he did create produced less than the greatest possible good.” “Perhaps God could not, for some perfectly plausible reason, create a world without evil, but then it would seem that he ought not to have created at all.” “Prior to creation God knew that if he created there would be evil, so being wholly good he ought not to have created.”


The first thing I see is that if God had justifiable reasons in creating a world that now contains evil then it's not the case that He shouldn't have created at all. If He has holy justifiable reasons then He is going to be motivated to create and does nothing wrong in creating. Moreover, to say it would have been better had God done things differently by not creating or creating things differently doesn't take into account that the laws of physics are based on symmetries and those symmetries are based on mathematical necessity. To do things differently God would have had to make those mathematical truths false which He cannot do because they hold of necessity. Moreover, He is a God of truth and cannot go contrary to His own nature. Hence, there was no "prior" to creation as La Croix thinks. God is "prior" to creation only in the sense that 1 is "prior" to 2. The universe was brought into existence simultaneously with God's creating. Our finite human minds have a hard time grasping such a thing but it's not impossible for God. To read about symmetries in physics go here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symmetry_(physics)
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby Paidion » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:48 pm

I don't think La Croix's statements form a deductive argument at all, at least not all of them.

If God is the greatest possible good then if God had not created there would be nothing but the greatest possible good.

This statement if deductive, and true if it is assumed that God existed before creation.

And since God didn’t need to create at all, then the fact that he did create produced less than the greatest possible good.”

I also agree that this statement is deductive and true if it is assumed that God existed before creation.

However, there is a problem in the assumption that God existed BEFORE creation. For it is assumed that TIME existed before creation. But I don't think there WAS a "before." I think that the first act of God, the begetting of his Son, marked the beginning of time, and then He created the universe THROUGH the Son.

I do not believe in an infinite regression of time into the past. If there were such, then what was God doing during that infinite past period? NOTHING?

Perhaps God could not, for some perfectly plausible reason, create a world without evil, but then it would seem that he ought not to have created at all.


A sentence that begins with "perhaps" is not part of a deductive argument.

Prior to creation God knew that if he created there would be evil, so being wholly good he ought not to have created.


God created man in his own image, with the ability to choose. Knowing what a free-will agent will choose in advance is a contradiction in terms. For if there was such advance knowledge, then there would be no free-will agents. So no one knew in advance or could know in advance that there would be evil.
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:52 pm

Awesome Paidion! :D
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby LLC » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:54 pm

I would agree with Richard La Croix in that God being the greatest, anything that is created would be less than God, unless He cloned Himself. But, who is to say what God created first, or how long He has been creating before He created the earth? I also agree with Paidion in saying that the future is unknowable, unless it be generally speaking. However, I disagree with La Croix's argument that God should not have created knowing that there was a possibility for evil. Humans are creative beings as well. Are we to just sit around twiddling our thumbs and never create anything because someone may use it for evil purposes? Do we never have any children just because they may do something wrong? This doesn't seem sensible.
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:18 pm

I like some of your points LLC but don't agree with all. I think God knows the future.
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby LLC » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:22 pm

St. Michael, in saying that God knows the future, I assume that you are saying, as many believe,that God knows every detail of a person's life and knows exactly what will happen because the future has already been played out; as if one is watching a rerun of a old movie you have seen before. How do we know this?
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby St. Michael » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:25 pm

Here's one scripture:

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. "So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.


God is outside of our time and therefore knows everything "all at once"
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby DaveB » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:45 pm

Another possibility that I've heard - and don't agree with btw - is that God knows everything, including the future, not because He is outside of time but because He decreed each and every movement of every atom, molecule, choice, etc.in the universe, from its beginning until its end. Every single thing.
And because He is omnipotent, He has the power to carry out that incomprehensibly detailed plan.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby LLC » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:49 pm

This still does not say that the future has already occurred and that every detail of it is known. Take for example an apple tree, if it's seed is planted you know that when it germinates, you will get an apple tree. You will not get a grape, or an orange. However, during the course of it's life, there are many things that may affect the tree and it's fruit. I believe these things are unknown until they actually take place.
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby Paidion » Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:16 pm

Hi Michael, you wrote:God is outside of our time and therefore knows everything "all at once"


This is a rather common concept, but it doesn't make sense to me. What does it mean to be "outside of time"? Time is not a substance that you can be outside of. As I see it, time is but a measurement of the temporal distance between events. If there were no events, there would be no time.

God begat his Son, and then through his Son, God created the Universe. Thus time began. So God is presently "within" time. If He were "outside" time, how would He know anything that happens "within" time? Would He see everything that ever happened or will happen simultaneously? Suppose for a moment that you were "outside" time. If you saw all past, present, and future events simultaneously, how would you know the sequence of events?
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby St. Michael » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:12 pm

Paidion,

God is outside time but He's also within time. It's Both. Does that help?
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby Paidion » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:11 pm

No, Michael. It does not help.

You haven't yet explained what it MEANS to be "outside of time." And where do you get the idea that there IS an "outside of time"?

In every instance in which I read of such a concept, it was mere philosophizing with no support.

Are you aware of any Scripture that suggests the reality of existence "outside of time"?
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby A. Guy » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:04 am

Paidion wrote:
I do not believe in an infinite regression of time into the past. If there were such, then what was God doing during that infinite past period? NOTHING?




The popular Reformed notion of the Infinately Eternal Trinity pre-existing in complete love, harmony and holiness from infinity past where each member of the Trinity was in perfect, holy communion with each other member of the Godhead, before creation ; --- how would you respond to that?
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby A. Guy » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:40 am

DaveB wrote:Another possibility that I've heard - and don't agree with btw - is that God knows everything, including the future, not because He is outside of time but because He decreed each and every movement of every atom, molecule, choice, etc.in the universe, from its beginning until its end. Every single thing.
And because He is omnipotent, He has the power to carry out that incomprehensibly detailed plan.



I've never had a problem with this. Like the old Puritan said "Not only does the speck of dirt which flies off from the wagon wheel have a set place to land, but its orbit through the air is pre-ordained"(or somethin to that effect)
Personally, I'm a stereotypical guy. If you were given a few facts about me, you could guess the rest. I'm a product of my 'tribe', of my location, ect. Anyone could guess my occupation, religion, complextion. I'm a slave to who I am.

But I'm also a slave to Christ. And folks can still stereotype me and guess my reaction and actions. If folks think I'm a robot, fine. I don't have a problem with that. What's wrong with being Christ's robot? Fine position to be in. Slave to Christ.


Edit: Kinda forgot where I was for a bit. This topic usually comes up with Arminians. Isn't it a necessity for Universalists to ditch free will?
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby St. Michael » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:27 pm

Paidion,

God transcends limitations that we experience with time. The Bible teaches that everything had a beginning:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? - Is. 40:21


I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.' - Is. 46:10


He also says, "In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. - Heb. 1:10


And that God precedes the beginning. The NEB correctly brings this out in John 1:1:

When all things began, the Word already was


This includes time for Genesis 1:1 uses the merism "Heavens and Earth" which has the definition of totality of everything in Hebrew. Time, days/night, seasons and years come later in the account. Time is marked by change and motion. Without these things being there there would be no time. Sans creation there are no bodies in motion. Time as we know it began at creation. Moreover, God is unchangeable in some respects:

For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. - Mal. 3:6


Just as the laws of logic are necessary and unchanging. Everything within time changes. Since the laws of logic don't change and are metaphysically necessary then they are transcendent and timeless. They are a causal and are an extension of the mind of God making this part of God timeless and unchanging as well. God's consciousness is without beginning and end and unchanging. He has perfect knowledge at all times. God looks down on time from His lofty height and is not limited in His knowledge, wisdom, and choices in the same way we are. He is Lord of time. For He is Lord in time as well as Lord above time. He is not merely temporal but is "in" time as He also transcends time in such a way to have existence "outside" of time (transcendent)
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Re: Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

Postby St. Michael » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:04 pm

Paidion,

Here's a picture. Check out the man in the corner with his head transcending the universe and therefore time and space:


Image


God can experience a "day" in timelessness while many years pass in His experience of time. To say it another way God can experience many years in time while only experiencing a "day" in timelessness. As the Bible puts it - A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day. Of course "day" and a "thousand years" aren't literal here.
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