Lately, I’ve been working through the theodicies in Encountering Evil. Two of the theodicies found therein present solutions to the problem of evil that are willing to bite the philosophical bullet and deny one of the first two propositions in the following triad:
1. God is infinitely good.
2. God is infinitely powerful.
3. Evil exists.
John Roth denies (1) and posits a God that is simply not infinitely good. His God sometimes falls short of moral perfection. David Griffin’s process God denies (2). More specifically, Griffin’s God could not create ex nihilo, so evil is just a part of the pre-existing “stuff” that God has to deal with. The propositions that we might state from Roth and Griffin’s positions respectively are these:
4. God is good, but God’s goodness is finite (or limited or whatever)
5. God is powerful, but God’s power is finite (or limited or whatever)
Both of these thinkers are criticized (among other things) for positing a God that is unworthy of worship. The criticisms, however, found within the text seem to offer little more than an unexplained “religious” bias.
Let’s assume for the purposes of this post that God exists. Now, you pick the God you would consider worthy of your worship, and explain/justify your selection. (As the above statements imply, I’m particularly interested in this question with respect to God’s supposed omnipotence and omnibenevolence.)
For clarity’s sake, it might be good to present our answers by stating what attributes of God are necessary and/or sufficient for God to be considered worthy of worship, so the “God salad bar” might look something like this:
- The Classic Caesar: (1) and (2) are each individually necessary but taken together sufficient to justify God’s being worshiped.
- Roth’s ‘Power’ Pasta Salad: (2) is necessary and sufficient.
- Griffin’s ‘Goodness’ Garden Salad: (1) is necessary and sufficient.
- Extra-Heretical Homemade Special: (1) and (2) are neither necessary nor sufficient.
- I am out of corny names…but you can invent your own for the remaining possibilities working in (4) and (5).
Before you make your choice, allow me to make my recommendation. 🙂
I see no reason why the the Homemade Special (henceforth HS) posits a God unworthy of worship. More specifically, HS with a side of (4) seems good enough for me. If worship means something like fervent devotion or praise, then its not exactly clear why the HS + (4) is not sufficient. After all, we quite regularly devote our lives to and praise finite beings. Devotion to a spouse is a good example. Perhaps this is why the “biblical” metaphor of the church being the “bride of Christ” is so apt.
If God is just 100 times more morally good than the most morally exemplary human being, then provided I have the opportunity to be in intimate relationship with such a God, I could theoretically be 100 times more devoted to God than than to, say, Mother Theresa. That’s probably devoted enough for martyrdom, which seems to be a pretty good indicator of a sufficiently worshipful disposition towards something.
Enough of my humble recommendations. You chose. Bon appetit! Let the dialectically delicious discussion commence!
(Remind me never to write a post on an empty stomach again.)