God, the Best, and Evil

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Overview

God, the Best, and Evil is an original treatment of some longstanding problems about God and his actions towards human beings. First, Bruce Langtry explores some implications of divine omnipotence, omniscience, and perfect goodness for God's providence. In particular, he investigates whether God is in some sense a maximizer. Second, he assesses the strength of objections to the existence of God that are based on the apparent fact that God could have created a better world than this one. Finally, he assesses the strength of objections to the existence of God that focus on the problem of evil.

To create a (possible) world is to strongly or weakly actualize it. A world is prime if God can create it, and he cannot create a world better than it. This book's conclusions include the following:

·(1) If there is at least one prime world, then if God does create some world he will create a prime world.

·(2) If there are no prime worlds, then it does not follow that God does not exist. Instead, what follows is that if God creates a world he will create one that is good enough, despite the fact that he could create a world which is better.

·(3) This conclusion does not give rise to a good objection to theism, based on the apparent fact that the actual world is improvable and yet it is not good enough.

·(4) Even if there is a best world, or several equal-best worlds, God cannot create any of them.

·(5) A good partial theodicy for evil can be provided, appealing to goods bound up with human free will, moral responsibility, and the roles of individuals' own personal traits in shaping their own and other people's lives. The partial theodicy is neutral between Theological Compatibilism and libertarianism.

·(6) The problem of evil does not provide a very strong objection to the existence of God.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is an exercise in apologetics that makes use of themes developed by the leading contemporary philosophers of religion, most notably, Plantinga, Swinburne, and Alston, to neutralize the challenge that evil poses for traditional theism. Its originality consists in the dazzling, rigorous manner in which these themes are deployed in elaborate deductive arguments."—Richard M. Gale, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199238798
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/27/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Langtry was a student at the University of Sydney, where he obtained his BA and PhD, and was appointed to a teaching fellowship. He spent four years teaching at the University of Tasmania before moving to the University of Melbourne in May, 1976. His current main research is in philosophy of religion, but he has also published journal articles and book chapters in a wide variety of other areas.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Problems, concepts, and background theories
2. God and worlds than which there are none better
3. Divine choice from infinite hierarchies of creatable worlds
4. World-creation when there are prime worlds
5. Empirical objections to theism, not based on evil
6. Logical arguments from evil, against the existence of God
7. Theodicy for two general truths about evil

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