It Doesn’t Make Sense: 1. Why this world?

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This is a new series of quick takes on things about Christianity that never made any sense to me, and still don’t. This week, we start with the question of why god decided to make this wold and not a different one. Here we go…

Dead end

We learn from the Christian bible that the vast majority of people who ever lived and who ever will live are destined to live a brutish life, die a bad death, and spend eternity in hell. Before the ultimate fulfillment of that grizzly fate, we are in for untold types and amounts of suffering.

It is not just the natural suffering like lice and toenail fungus. It is the evil that extrudes from every pore of the multiverse. That evil has infected every human from before the cradle and beyond the grave. There is only one narrow path to freedom. And there will be few that find it.

What that means is that this is truly a dead end existence for the average type 1 mark 1 human. Even the people who manage to believe in a god and pick the right one are facing long odds of running the gauntlet all the way to heaven. Christians can talk about the solution all day long. But the fact remains that we have been given a sneak peak of the end. Spoiler! Most of us don’t make it out alive. And that’s a problem.

Other worlds than these

Throughout Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is the refrain, There are other worlds than these. It refers to the fact that there are other universes where the plight of our wandering heroes is better than the one they are experiencing. Other worlds, other possibilities.

As one who mostly believes in the multiverse, I am forced to believe that there are other worlds than this one, perhaps infinite worlds. And if there are infinite worlds, then there are worlds better than this one – worlds where there is less crime, less suffering, more prosperity, peace, thriving, tranquility, and overall wellbeing.

Under theism, the question is why god did not create a better world with less suffering and evil, and more of the good stuff. Christians claim that god had foreknowledge of everything that would happen in this world before he set it into motion. So if he saw the mess that was to come, why not keep tinkering until he got a better outcome? There are only a few possibilities:

  1. God did select a better world. But Satan messed up his plans.
  2. God only ever wanted a few to be saved. Everyone else is just so much background noise.
  3. God requires the suffering and evil for his plan. So we have just the right amount.
  4. There were many other possible worlds from which to choose. But this one is the pick of the litter.

This last one gets quite a bit of play among the new apologists. They claim that we don’t know that there were any other possible worlds. Given the parameters with which god chose to work, this may have been the only possible outcome. Of course, let’s not forget that god chose the parameters.

The one option that Christians fail to consider is the option of not creating any world. Remember, god had perfect foreknowledge of how this would all turn out before he ran the program. He knew that creation would fall to sin, and that most would perish. He was okay with that. But at any point before starting the machine, he could have pulled the plug and gone back to the drawing board. None of this had to happen.

If a careful scientist starts preparing for an experiment and discovers through many simulations that it will all end catastrophically, they abort without proceeding further. God saw the catastrophe before it started, hit the on button anyway, ordered a pizza, and is still enjoying the show.

Is this wrong? Is my categorization all wrong? Fine. Then please tell me why this world and not some other world where at minimum, more than half would be saved? Why would god foresee all those people burning in hell and declare it acceptable losses?

Conclusion: That none should perish

The bible suggests that god’s desire is that none should perish. That sounds good to me too. Christians often ask what people like me consider a better world than the one we have. A better world would be a world where none perished. It seems like a better world if one fewer person burns in hell. That seems reasonable.

Could there have been one slightly more effective preacher of the truth? Might Satan’s hand have been stayed a little more in at least one situation? Could one more person have been exposed to a convincing miracle? Isn’t it at least possible that we could have had a world without the influence of the devil?

There are all kinds of ways to imagine a better world. I have never understood why this fallen world was the only option available to god. Perhaps some Christian can come along and clear it up for me.

David Johnson

 

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