Does a perfect God exist? (All good, all powerful, all knowing)

Does someone or something exist that is:

  • Omnibenevolent: All good, perfectly adheres to some absolute moral standard.

  • Omnipotent: All powerful, able to bring about any possible state of the universe.

  • Omniscient: All knowing, knows all true propositions to be true, all false propositions to be false.

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subject: Tri-omni God

fan: Believer

critic: Skeptic

Edit 01/26/22: "All powerful, able to do any logically coherent thing." -> "All powerful, able to bring about any possible state of the universe."

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The omnibenevolent definition is fishy. If there is a god, morality is whatever he says it is.

All the definitions here are a little weird imo

@StarkLN I can think of a reason why...

It won't create not only an imperfect world, but won't create any world at all. And probably, won't even act anyhow.

predicts NO

@fb68 this is a trap of perfection. All goals are already reached, and no reason to act or self-improve. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

predicts NO

As an agnostic, I don’t know whether there is a god. However, if a god were omnipotent, omniscient and completely benevolent, they would easily be able to make the best society possible. Therefore, our society would have to be a utopia, and I don’t think it is.

@ShadowyZephyr isn't paradise a utopia?

predicts NO

@stony only for those who are in it. And it's a little group for a best work of a perfect one.

@fb68 as a percentage it may be a little group but absolutely speaking it could be very large.

There may be some underlying truth to absolute populations being "better" than percentage populations.

I'll jump in on this. Another classic argument in response to the claim that god gave humans free will: "If god is omniscient, then yesterday he knew as true the true proposition that I will eat breakfast today. Since that proposition was true, it is not possible for me not to eat breakfast. Therefore I have no choice but to eat breakfast. Therefore, I have no free will."

Mega necro-reply here but I don't think this argument works. The 2 most convincing counterarguments I've heard to this point are

1) Might commit a modal fallacy where it's asserted that something, let's say "I will eat breakfast today" is necessarily true just because it's actual.

2) The timeline argument where it's argued that God is supratemporal, or in other words, let's say you have a fair coin. You can record a video of you flipping it 20 times. If I watch that video and memorize the sequence and rewatch the video again, I know exactly what's going to happen. But that doesn't make the coin not random, it's just that there's no causal relationship between my knowledge and your coin outcomes.

The coin is technically not random but that's not the point

I'm not gonna bet in this market cause I don't wanna, but I will state the classic argument, "if god is not aware of the evil in the world, then god is not all knowing. if god is aware of the evil in the world but can't prevent it, then god is not all powerful. if god is aware of the evil in the world and capable of preventing it, but chooses not to, then god is not all good."

Not sure what Islam says, but the Christian God has defeated death, demons, sin, hell, among other things. The Christian faith is about the destruction of this world, and a brave new world to come.

Another argument is for human free will. Free will is preferable to robots adhering to God's moral standard. Evil is men's choosing, and it is fit that evil should be destroyed and evil men perish. Indeed, no one is righteous, no, not one.

Now, the Christian God goes above and beyond, by intervening to redeem the world. Instead of destroying evil, he redeems it to goodness. In all his actions, it is reflected omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence.

And it doesn't have to be the Christian God. Any God whether personal or not, which in neo-Platonist thought is Being itself, the collection of the entire universe, and transcending, is himself infinitely Being, Life, and Goodness. Any human / earthly evil is finite, but God himself is infinite Being, Life, and Goodness. Infinity minus a finite number is still infinity. The latter is not out of or from God, who and whatever it may be.

Lying is a disability, not a capability, likewise creating a rock that one cannot lift. Not being able to harm or disable oneself is a fundamental implication of omnipotent. Someone who is omnipotent cannot be or become not omnipotent.

predicts NO

@XComhghall The argument from free will fails to explain natural evil like hurricanes. Also, will this brave new world to come have just as much evil in it as this one, or will God somehow be able to reduce it? If evil can be reduced in the new world, why hasn't it been in this one? People could still have free will in a world in which the worst thing that ever happened was stubbing your toe, so why are we living in the one where children die painfully of incurable diseases?

Also, I'm not that familiar with Neoplatonism, but my understanding was that the One doesn't really have any interaction with the material world at all. Also that it may not technically exist, because it's beyond existence.

(Also, no, a being which can lie or not pretty clearly does have a capability that a being which cannot lie lacks.)

@Sophia Hurricanes and natural disasters destroy the evil world. Further, evil is a consequence of evil. The destruction of the world is a consequence of the depravity of men.

The brave new world is aka the Kingdom of Heaven, where God, the Good himself, the uncircumscribed infinity is.

To reduce evil in this world means to destroy the entire world and every human being. To redeem the world, God chose to die himself, so that sin and death are subdued on the cross.

Nope. Neo-Platonism is the prevalent philosophy of Christianity from pretty much 4th century until mid/late middle ages. The One is all in all. The One is, yet transcends Being. There is nothing not within the One, nothing not under his control. The transcendence of the One refers to the One not being circumscribed by Being. It does not mean that the One is circumscribed outside of or from Being.

Lie is the lack of truth. Lie is for the weak. Those who lack in ability, lie to gain what they lack. But the Perfect and the Infinite lacks not ability, power, knowledge, or truth, and therefore do not and cannot lie.

predicts NO

@XComhghall I mentioned children for a reason. Adults can be evil, adults have eaten the fruit. Children? No. No child should suffer and die for the depravity of another.

"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature - [a] baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."

(Brothers Karamazov is a very good book, incidentally. I'd give the whole speech but it's looooong.)

If God designed a world in which natural disasters like plagues punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty, He is not omnibenevolent.

Now, you avoided my question about this brave new world. Is there as much evil and suffering there as here? The phrase "redeem" the world is interesting - God designed the world. If it needs redeeming, that is a consequence of His design. One He presumably knew about in advance. The question is not one of changing this current world to be less evil, but of His initial choice of design.

I'm just going to shortcut your last paragraph a bit. Is God capable of evil? Not would God ever do evil, but is He capable of it? If He is not, is there ever a situation in which He can take any action other than the most moral one? And if He cannot, is He really good? Goodness, after all, usually implies the ability to not do good. We would hardly praise medicine as 'moral' or 'benevolent' for curing a disease. Ought implies can, and just as much implies can not.

@Sophia Behold, I was brought forth in guilt, and in sin my mother conceived me. (Ps. 51)

There is no evil in the brave new world, as there is no evil in God. The brave new world is perfectly and infinitely good, as is God. I thought I was very unambiguous and clear.

Let me put it this way: I designed a self-aware robot that is able to reason and act. It had no evil initially. I told it to reject a file transmission that contains virus, although I knew it will not do as I said. The robot accepted the file, and was corrupted by the virus. Now the robot and all the robots it produces are corrupted by the virus. To restore the robots to the original good state, I went into the group of robots, who now act crazily, kill each other, and all. Being stabbed myself, I successfully helped them overcome the virus, without damaging their free will. I planned to come back in several thousand microseconds with an update for the robots, that will make them even better than the initial state, make them human too.

Now, certainly I could have just created the robots in the final state in the first place, but in acting in the manner above, there is no immorality or evil.

Romans 9:21 Or does the potter not have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one object for honorable use, and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with great patience objects of wrath prepared for destruction?

I emphasized that God in himself is perfect and infinite Goodness. Human beings are not nearly equal in moral value. God may freely create human beings, so may he freely destroy them. Now, God would protect and spare those who are innocent or righteous, but human beings are all, more or less, evil and depraved. Further, death and suffering in this world is powerless before God, who has destined all to resurrection, and will take those who love him to everlasting life with him, as C. S. Lewis described, in which every day is better than the one before, and those who hate him to everlasting life without him (so fulfilling their wish), or also with him (because he still loves them).

Finite goodness of human beings cannot be compared to the infinite goodness of God. Finite suffering and sting-less death cannot be compared to the infinite joy and blessing of the Kingdom of Heaven. The former are negligible before the latter.

God is not capable of evil.

Medicine is good. But bad medicine kills people.

A broken chair, a chair consumed by termites, is no chair at all.

Bad medicine is no medicine at all.

An evil God is no God at all.

Now, I do get the distinction — You seem to speak of goodness and virtue in terms of one's own choosing. In this sense, even good medicine is not itself good. The person or machine that made it is good, but itself is just a result, outcome of good work.

I however hold a different opinion. I don't think will and action, choice and result, volition and outcome are separable or separable. Whatever causes or enhances being is good. Even though in the brave new world, all are not able to sin or do evil (non posse peccare), that is the perfect, all-good state and condition.

Just to point out, Christians should say 'no' on this as presented. Hebrews 6:18 gives an example of something that's both logically possible, and which God apparently cannot do.

predicts NO

@Sophia Good point. Would adding a clause to omnipotence about the being's nature help? From wikipedia, one common conception of omnipotence: "A deity is able to do anything that is in accord with its own nature (thus, for instance, if it is a logical consequence of a deity's nature that what it speaks is truth, then it is not able to lie)"

And would anyone object to me adding such a phrase?

predicts NO

@KCS I wouldn't object to the update you suggest. Though I'd offer a slight variation based on Wierenga: An omnipotent being is one which is able to bring about any state of the world that could possibly exist.

That allows for God being unable to lie (because the world in which God lied has probability 0), but excludes the omnipotent Mr. Ear, whose nature is never to do anything other than scratch his ear. He can do nothing else, but doing anything else would not be in accordance with His nature anyway.

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