A Perfect World ?

earthpicture source: superpictureda.

The following text portrays a philosophical approach to the goodness of God and the goodness of the world. It (also) tries to solve part of the problem of evil. It does not try to prove my view but it just states it. The reader is welcome to look into other articles on this website which form apologetical approaches in defense of this approach.

I begin by stating that God, in my opinion, only possesses Present Knowledge [1]. It means that God only knows perfectly what has happened in the past and what He can know of what happens in the present [2] but that He does not know the things that He cannot know in the present [3] (This does not take away from a correct definition of omniscience. [4] Think about it.) and that He does not know things that are not yet fixed in the future [5].

When we read the Bible, in the first chapter of Genesis, we see that God says six times that “it was good” and one time, when He finished His creation job, that “it was very good”. The number seven represents perfection and, more importantly, there is nothing in the text that represents anything that departs from a perfect world [6]. Therefore I believe that Genesis 1 represents a perfect world.

This perfect world did not include sin, sickness, death,… it did, however, include free will, a moral law,… as we can see in Genesis chapter one and two (1:26-27; 2:17,19-20). God chose to create a world that was perfectly good to His perception which includes the risk of free moral agents (free will beings) not loving Him anymore, for love cannot be forced.

We therefore can conclude, in this philosophical piece, that God showed His perfect goodness when He created a perfect world in which He did not foresee or predestine evil. Therefore He is not responsible for the evil that happened in this world [7].

Read also: Tertullian Offers a Free Will Defense to Theodicy.

[1]The first to have used the term present knowledge is David Basinger in “Middle Knowledge and Classical Christian Thought”, Religious Studies 22 [1986]:407-22. On this idea, read also “Does God know all Possible Futures?” by Christopher Fisher.

[2] Maybe I redefine present knowledge here. When the Bible says that God searches the hearts (example: Jeremiah 17:9-10) and “I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know” (Genesis 18:21, NKJV), one can believe that God chooses not to know certain things in the present or cannot know certain things of the present at a certain moment in time.

[3] If there are any things that He cannot know in the present. This might include the state of a heart in a certain situation. This might be the reason why He tested Abraham: “Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:12, NKJV).

[4] Thomas Aquinas stated about omnipotence: “All confess that God is omnipotent; but it seems difficult to explain in what His omnipotence precisely consists: for there may be doubt as to the precise meaning of the word ‘all’ when we say that God can do all things. If, however, we consider the matter aright, since power is said in reference to possible things, this phrase, ‘God can do all things,’ is rightly understood to mean that God can do all things that are possible; and for this reason He is said to be omnipotent.” (Summa Theologiae, 1a, Q. 25, A. 3, Respondeo, emphasis mine). The same idea of defining a term correctly is applicable to God’s omniscience; what does “knowing everything” mean? As Lorenzo Dow McCabe wrote: “As omnipotence is limited by the possible, so omniscience is limited by the knowable. The cases are absolutely similar. As this limitation of omnipotence does not render God imperfect, so also this limitation of omniscience does not render him less than perfect. The limitation in both cases rests on the same ground; namely, the law of self-consistency, the law that obtains against self-contradiction. We do not limit omnipotence by denying its power to do Impossible or self-contradictory things. Neither do we limit omniscience by denying its power to foreknow unknowable things” (Divine Nescience & Foreknowledge, p. 331).

[5] Things that are fixed, for example, are: the fact that there will be a Judgment Day, that the Devil will be thrown into the Lake of Fire,…

[6] This is not to say that there could not have been any other form of a perfect world.

[7] This was just a philosophical piece, it did not try to show from the Bible that this view is correct. It is merely written to make you think these things through. It is up to the reader to test whether this is compatible with the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:21).


4 thoughts on “A Perfect World ?

  1. “God chose to create a world that was perfectly good to His perception which includes the risk of free moral agents (free will beings) not loving Him anymore, for love cannot be forced…. He created a perfect world in which He did not foresee or predestine evil.”

    The fact that God’s perception “includes the risk of free moral agents…not loving Him anymore” suggests that He had knowledge of the possibility of man’s rebellion. So when God made Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, He knew of Adam’s disobedience as a possibility, did He not? I don’t see how God’s knowledge of future free choices as possibilities (not certainties) can in any sense be described as Molinism. Molinism states that God knows precisely what a man would do in any given set of circumstances.


  2. Can it really be stated that a world which contains the possibility or inevitability of sin and evil could be classified as a “perfect” world? I believe Alvin Plantinga, for example would call a world containing the possibility/inevitability of sin and evil, a “best possible” world, but I’m not sure he would go so far as to assert it as “perfect”. I suppose it depends upon one’s definition of “perfect”. But if one holds that God is perfect and that, God’s perfection entails the absence of sin, then wouldn’t it seem logical that “perfect”, as defined by God’s perfection, would require the absence of sin?


    1. The possibility is there because we have a free will. The inevitability is nonsense. Sin is nonsensical and God is not responsible (“An enemy hath done this.”) but Calvinists really try to make us into robots. That goes against orthodoxy, which has always defended free will. The Gnostics denied free will and I believe that to be a problem. Please don’t take it personal. 🙂


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