Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why might God refrain from creating?

Traditional Jewish and Christian theism holds that God didn’t have to create anything at all. But it is puzzling what motive a perfectly good being would have not to create anything. Here’s a cute (I think) answer:

  • If (and only if) God doesn’t create anything, then everything is God. And that’s a very valuable state of affairs.

4 comments:

Ron said...

I’ don’t think it’s cute. I think it’s a genuinely good reason why God wouldn’t create. Not only would a God-only world be very valuable, it would have every great making property instantiated to an infinite degree. The addition of any finite food wouldn’t really improve anything, because that good would already be instantiated to an infinite degree. Further, not only would the addition of finite goods not make the world better, but it would serve to introduce badness into the world, which wouldn’t exist if only God existed. So it’s not obvious to me why this isn’t a genuine prima facie threat to theism.

Walter Van den Acker said...

There isn IMHO another reason why God "might refrain from creation" and that is that it is impossible for God to create.

Suppose wG is a world in which God doesn't create. According to your cute answer, in wG "everything is God". That is not only a valuable state of affairs, it is also, per classical theism, an immutable state of affairs. It is logically impossible for wG to change.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Creation by a timeless God is causal, not temporal, relationship. It need not involve any change. God can create an immutable state, or God can create a mutable state, or God can refrain from creating (which results in an immutable state). Given an immutable state, one can still say: God could instead have created a mutable state.

Walter Van den Acker said...

Dr Pruss

My argument doesn't rely on creation being a temporal relationship. And I know that classical theism claims that creation is not a change,
But claiming that if God doesn't create anything, then everything is God means that wG is the same as God. Hence, wG cannot become anything else.
Now wG is, according to the doctrine of creation, the state of affairs that logically (but not necessarily temporally) precedes wU (a world in which a universe exist). But since wG is an immutable state of affairs, wU cannot logically follow wG, becasue that would be a denial of ex nihilo nihil fit.