Re: [asa] Philosophical Musings on Heaven & the Problem of Evil

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Mon Jul 28 2008 - 19:20:30 EDT

The number of possible universes is just that - a pure number. It has no
units, of length, time, or otherwise. The sequence I gave is denumerable
(1 - 1 correspondence between its elements & the integers) but the same can
be true for a non-denumerable set. E.g., 1 is the largest number in the set
of all reals from from 0 to 1.

Of course we don't know whether set of all possible universes is denumerable
or not. In fact we don't even really know that it's infinite. I'm glad the
guy became a Christian but his argument is just plain wrong. (People who
are converted by philosophical arguments are often converted to a religion
whose deity is the God of the philosophers, even if it's called
Catholicism.)

Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 7:01 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] Philosophical Musings on Heaven & the Problem of Evil

> Hi George- interesting sequence. However, if the units for those
> numbers were in time (seconds), it would not be infinite, as planck time
> is the smallest and you can't go smaller. If unites were length, then
> planck length is a limit. However, if no units, then yes, you can play
> with the numbers until infinity.
>
> ...Bernie
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
> Behalf Of George Murphy
> Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 12:09 PM
> To: Christine Smith; asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] Philosophical Musings on Heaven & the Problem of Evil
>
> The assumption in 1) is wrong. Consider the infinite sequence 1, 1/2,
> 1/4,
> 1/8, ..... . If "best" is defined as "largest" then this infinite
> sequence
> contains a "best" member, the first.
>
> Of course the notion that this is "the best of all possible worlds" is
> not
> the Bible's but that of Leibniz (aka Dr. Pangloss, "a very wise man whom
> I
> once knew, who has since had the misfortune to be hanged.").
>
> Shalom
> George
> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Christine Smith" <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com>
> To: <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 2:22 PM
> Subject: [asa] Philosophical Musings on Heaven & the Problem of Evil
>
>
>> Hi all,
>>
>> Thought I'd add to the mix of "problem of evil" themed
>> threads the following musings...I hope in some way,
>> shape, or form, they're not redundant on previous
>> conversations...would appreciate all of your insights
>> as always :)
>>
>> I recently read the book "The Unexpected Way: On
>> Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism" by Paul
>> Williams. Among the items in his book that I found
>> thought-provoking was his take on the problem of evil.
>> The basic essence of his argument is as follows:
>>
>> 1) Because there are, theoretically, an infinite
>> number of universes God could have created instead of
>> this one, it is logical contradiction to say that God
>> could have created the "best of all possible worlds",
>> since being a part of an infinite set of
>> possibilities, there would always be a better
>> possibility. Therefore, it is not a violation of
>> God's omnipotence to say that He couldn't create the
>> "best" world, and thus the question is reduced to "why
>> didn't He create a BETTER universe"
>> 2) Being God, He is under no obligation to make a
>> better universe than the one we currently live in, if
>> the one we currently live in suits His purpose.
>> Therefore, God's creation of a universe that includes
>> suffering and evil is not a problem, and indeed,
>> should probably be expected.
>>
>> My musings on these lines of reasoning are as
>> follows...
>>
>> Regarding #1, this sounds reasonable on the surface,
>> but is this a correct understanding of the idea of
>> what an infinite series means, and is it
>> scientifically correct (so far as we can understand
>> things) to say that there could have been an infinite
>> number of universes created? Also, regarding the idea
>> of the "best of all possible worlds", doesn't this
>> equate in some sense, to what we believe heaven to be?
>> If so, does the idea that this type of world could not
>> be created, violate our theological creeds which state
>> that God is the creator of "heaven" and earth, and the
>> general understanding that Christ "came down from
>> heaven" and "ascended to heaven". Or, rather than
>> being the "best of all possible [created] universes",
>> is heaven rather to be understood as the place (so to
>> speak) where God resides, outside of created time and
>> space? If so, then will heaven (where we will rest
>> eternally) merely be better than our current universe,
>> rather than the best possible universe? Is it possible
>> that the creation of a lesser (containing more
>> suffering & evil) universe is in some way a
>> requirement of being able to create a better universe,
>> thus the need to endure the lesser to get to the
>> greater?
>>
>> Regarding #2, I question the premise of his argument.
>> In the act of creation, doesn't God submit Himself to
>> certain obligations, in the same manner that a parent
>> is obligated to a child? Certainly, it is clear that
>> God does submit Himself to certain obligations through
>> the form of historical convenants with His people.
>> Doesn't this mean that God does, in some sense, have
>> an obligation to create a better universe than the one
>> we are in now (or perhaps that's what He's doing as we
>> speak?)?
>>
>> Thanks ahead of time for your insights and your
>> patience as I reflect on these questions in an attempt
>> to better articulate my own thoughts on it.
>>
>> In Christ,
>> Christine (ASA member)
>>
>>
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Received on Mon Jul 28 19:20:56 2008

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