john w. loftus said...
"I don't see any reason for God to create anything...anything at all."
Loftus has leveled this objection to David Wood's position. And he also brought it up in his book, Why I Rejected Christianity:
"Why did God create us rather than not create us at all?...This God needed nothing, and they must stress here that God needed NOTHING, otherwise there are problems with the Christian understanding of God needing anything. So why did God create us? Why ruin this prefect existence he previously had?...Why do this at all, if life was already perfect for him" (85-86).
As I've pointed out before, the problem with this objection is that the goodness of the world doesn't add to the goodness of God, since God is not the world. And, by the same token, the badness of the world doesn't subtract from the goodness of God since, once again, God is not the world, or vice versa.
The world does not affect God. It doesn't ruin *his* perfect existence. Life doesn't cease to be perfect *for God* if there is evil in the world.
At the same time, the creation of the world does bring good to some of God's creatures. It is good *for them.*
It is not good for all of them. But those who lose out, justly suffer, and they suffer for a greater good.
One of Loftus' tactics, when his objections have been answered, is to ignore the answers and dust off the same objections in a different forum. Like a crooked businessman who, once he acquires a bad reputation, moves to a new town, Loftus recycles the same discredited objections by finding a new audience, hoping that his reputation won't precede him.
Now, one of the problems with trying to address this objection is that the question is equivocal. By asking what *reason* God may have had, this could either mean:
1. What was God's motive or rationale for creating the world?
2. What was God's justification or warrant for creating the world?
Loftus seems to be asking #1, but he's really asking #2.
He's trading on #2, and tacitly reading that back onto #1.
That is to say, the unspoken assumption behind his question is that the existence of the world needs to be justified. That there's some antecedent presumption against it.
Not what reason did God have to make the world, but what right did he have?
This ties into the argument from evil, as Loftus's views it. He acts as if making the world were an injustice against its creatures. They were wronged by merely existing.
That would make some sense if he were asking about the existence of a fallen world. But he is conflating two different questions:
1. What reason did God have for making *any* world?
2. What reason did God have for making a *fallen* world?
Now, his objection to #1 is, as we have seen, muddle-headed.
The only antecedent presumption against #1 would be his argument about the creation of *any* world somehow subtracting for the optimal state of God's solitary existence.
But if that object is muddle-headed, then there is no presumption to overcome. No need to *justify* the existence of creation qua creation.
The only direction in which one could find such a negative presumption would be in the creation of a fallen world.
However, the mere existence of evil is insufficient to launch the argument from evil. What is needed, among other things, is the identification of *gratuitous* evil.
And there are only two possible grounds for establishing the existence of gratuitous evil:
1. An external argument from evil, predicated on the unbeliever's value-system;
2. An internal argument from evil, predicated on the believer's value-system.
A necessary condition to meet in the case #1 is a version of moral realism consistent with secularism.
Another necessary condition to meet the case of #1 is the existence of beings who are capable of suffering pain or injustice.
Conversely, a necessary condition to meet the case of #2 is to show that certain evils are gratuitous in the light of Christian theology *as a whole.*
Loftus has consistently failed on both counts.
He thinks that he can generate a logical dilemma by simply abutting three premises: (i) God is good; (ii) God is sovereign; (iii) there is evil.
But that is a grossly simplistic syllogism because it leaves out of account many other premises in Christian theology which relieve the logical and evidential problem of evil, internally considered.
Loftus generates an artificial dilemma by artificially isolating and limiting the relevant premises to just three in all.
But such an arbitrarily restrictive version of the internal argument from evil is a straw man argument.