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Если Бог желает предотвратить зло, но не может, он не всемогущ. Если может, но не желает, то он есть зло. Если может и желает, то откуда берется зло? Если не может и не желает, то какой же он Бог?

(Собственно говоря, это тезис теологии "слабого Бога", во времена Эпикура этот вариант всерьез не рассматривали.)

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Does not fly. You assume that God is bound by the existing natural laws. Granted; I do not expect God to rule the world by a miraculous fiat (on the other hand - why not, since he is omnipotent and supremely good?) In which case he should have created world with a more benign physics. I do not know how - I am not all-knowing, he is. The thesis that this is the best world of all possible ones assumes that god is somehow limited in his possibilities. If this is all he is capable of, he should have abstained.

Edited at 2008-01-28 07:20 pm (UTC)

(1) Abstaining from creation might not be an option for the one whose ideas authomatically come into existence.
(2) Imperfection of creation is not the sufficient reason for abstaining from creation. (3) I assume Him to be the source of the physical law rather than its slave. More "benign physics" may be logically inconsistent with the existence of objects on which love can be bestowed. What we have is already amazingly, incomprehensibly benign. Still you want more. Would you be given more, you'd still want more.
(4) Omnipotence does not permit five sided triangles. What cannot be done cannot be done.
(5) As you say, you are not all-knowing. Exactly. You do not know what kinds of worlds can be made in self-consistent way in which good and love exist. You do not know on which scale of perfection such worlds are ranked. Yet you (Epicurus) are confident that this is not the best possible world. I respect this position, but I find it weak, just like you find my position weak. At least, I have something to show: our world. It is not good enough for you? Show us better. Imagine this more perfect world, explain how it can be created, prove that you will infinitely love its constituents, and demonstrate that it is indeed better than ours in all possible ways. Then your argument will be complete.

Briefly, my grudge against God is this: if you gave us a moral compass, you should have taken more care to align it with yours, otherwise it makes no sense to many of us. This universe seems quite compatible with a malignant God or with an indifferent one. But my ideas of goodness seem much more generous than those of this particular God.
Do not take me wrong, I do think this world to be a marvel, albeit a terrible one. Is it better than nothing? It certainly is, for me, but I bet there have been countless millions that would have settled for nothing instead. Yes, we have the promise, but I do not trust the party who made it.

Your grievance would be understandable if the forbidden fruit of knowledge were stuck into our mouths against our wishes. That was not the case. Our creator wanted best for us and did not give us what you call moral compass. We wanted it, we invented it, we defined our lives around it, we integrated it into our selves, we desired to judge the creation, and every day we want more of it. We were forewarned in no uncertain terms against it. Now, you want this "moral compass" of our own chosing and making to be aligned with our creator's will. Moreover, you want it to make perfect sense. Again, what do you want Him to do? To make sense out of nonsense? That cannot be done. Have it occurred to you that it might be Him who is having difficulty in aligning His will with our insane demands and ridiculous notions, with self-contradictory expectations that no omnipotence can deliver? Those "countless millions that would've settled for nothing" got exactly what they wanted. Before their incomprehensible wish was fulfilled, they were given their last chance to see and want something.

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