Argument Against a Perfect Being Creating the World

Argument Against a Perfect Being Creating the World September 3, 2012

I was listening to a podcast by bloggers Reasonable Doubts recently whereby one of the contributors, Justin Schieber, formulated a logical argument showing the inconsistency of the classic understanding of God, particularly a God who moves from an eternal (a-temporal) existence, to creating time (and space) and living within the framework of such dimensions.

This is an argument that I have often talked about, formulated more formally than I have done and is well worth thinking about. It actually has a twofold set of ramifications, one concerning desires and intentions, and the other concerning the ontology of perfection.

I will set the first out here today, followed by discussing the other later this week. I will set them out in my own manner, which may differ to Justin Schieber’s.

1) God existed as an ontologically perfect being, causally prior to creating the world.
2) There is nothing more perfect than the state of affairs in 1)
3) God intended to change the state of affairs to create the world (spacetime)
4) God, as a perfect being, cannot do anything or create anything imperfectly
5) The state of affairs with the world is ontologically less perfect than the pure perfection of the state of affairs with God

5) implies an incoherence since God, in a perfect state where nothing greater can be conceived or realised, creates the world. How and why would a perfect being want to change the state of affairs to an ontology that is less than perfect? One can only surmise from this that either God does not exist, or God is not perfect, or that the universe retains the state of ontological perfection upon creation. The last option is patently wrong, surely, since the Christian claims that humans are fallen, inescapably prone to sin. This cannot be as perfect as one can be! The Christian claim is that man is imperfect, that we are not synonymous with the perfection of God. And so surely the universe does not continue the state of perfection. The other two option pretty much invalidate notions of a theistic state of affairs.

1) and 2) seem to be pretty much taken as standard, although I will have more to say on this in my next post on perfection, since I think the whole concept is inherently flawed and incoherent.

3) seems to be the generally accepted understanding of temporal creation from an a-temporal state of affairs, as according to theists like Craig.

4) follows from 1) in being a necessary characteristic of God’s ontological status.

I would like anyone to comment on this to see if it can be tightened in any way. Obviously, and as Schieber concurs, it is an argument dependent upon the presupposition of many of the terms and theology accepted by mainstream theistic thought which accepted the coherence of perfection, omniscience, benevolence and potence, and that they are not themselves entirely incoherent.


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