Assuming these givens: (1) God is perfectly just (2) Something imperfect cannot come from something perfect (3) perfection must exist for imperfection to exist (4) Humans are imperfect (5) Humans must have free will for God to be perfect

I am new to philosophy and was thinking on my own, and came up with an argument. I am looking for rebuttals and explanations as to why something may be wrong or improperly assumed.

If God is required to give people free will (forcing someone to do something is unjust, so he must) and free will can cause humans to be imperfect, would it be reasonable to refer to God and the process of humans becoming perfect through God as perfect? As a result, perfection exists.

Therefore, imperfection exists, which would be a human not following the perfect process due to their free will. Since the potential imperfection is a result of an attribute that allows for imperfection (free will) that is required for God to be just, God and his process remain just, while humans who choose to not be a part of the process are imperfect.

In order for God to remain perfect, imperfections must not be a part of the system. Hell, being defined as the complete opposite of God’s attributes, would be the right place to send those who do not follow the perfect process.

  • There's quite a bit too much here to really be a single question, but Descartes considers just the parameters you mention above in Meditation IV...
    – virmaior
    Sep 24 '17 at 9:27
  • Every sin is condemnable with respect to mankind, but, even so, every condemnable event (with man as the efficient cause) serves a praiseworthy purpose with respect to God's plan. Therefore, whatever imperfection exists is only so with respect to mankind, and it would be insolent to attribute any imperfection to God's purpose.
    – user3017
    Sep 24 '17 at 15:17
  • @Pe de Leao: hardy har hat
    – user20153
    Sep 24 '17 at 21:36
  • @PédeLeão I don't understand, could you simplify a bit. Sep 24 '17 at 21:39
  • that makes every sin praiseworthy. because, you know, it'a all part of God's plan. which means there is no sin.
    – user20153
    Sep 24 '17 at 21:39

This site is not a place for personal philosophy, so in theory asking people to poke holes in their theology is out of scope. However, I see some issues with how the argument is presented which I think could prove valuable to others, so I choose to answer rather than vote to close the question. I think there's value in having examples of how to look at the structure of an argument, while not explicitly agreeing or disagreeing with the outcome.

The primary issue I see is how hard it is to find a conclusion. You list 5 very substantial givens. Then the body of the argument consists mostly of defenses of the givens. The only statement I could find in the body of the argument that wasn't a defense of a given was "Hell, being defined as the complete opposite of Gods attributes, would be the right place to send those who do not follow to the perfect process." I can only presume that was the conclusion.

You also have several unstated givens. These are things which you assumed, but chose not to enumerate as givens.

  • "forcing someone to do something is unjust" -- This starts to re-define justice. As an example, modern secular justice does indeed include the concept of compelling someone to act, such as revealing a password. There is a special clause in US law known as the 5th amendment which permits one to refuse to incriminate themselves, but you can be compelled to incriminate someone else. This suggests that there is a very high likelyhood that your listener's concept of "just" is different from your own.
  • "God by definition is omnipotent, omniscient, and just." Defining God is tricky business. These adjectives are actually at the root of many major philosophical paradoxes regarding God, so they certainly should receive their due status as givens, along with exacting definitions of what "omnipotent" and "omniscient" actually mean. For example, "omnipotent and "forcing someone to do something is unjust, so he must" are often considered to be conflicting. Omnipotence and omniscience are tricky beasts indeed.
  • "...would it be reasonable to refer to God and the process of humans becoming perfect through God as perfect?" You ask this phrase as a question, then continue the argument on the assumption that it is true. This pattern typically is indicative that there's more thinking to be done here.
  • The structure you define for Hell very likely permits a counterargument that the Devil is perfect, and those who do not follow his process are sent to heaven, which is defined as the complete opposite of the Devil's attributes. This may be desired, but theological arguments tend to avoid framing things symmetrically enough to permit this sort of argument.

From there, one could challenge the givens, which some of them are quite demanding ("perfection must exist for imperfection to exist" is a really hard one to defend), but that gets into the discussion of whether or not the argument is sound, which is outside of Philosophy.SE for sure. I'll stick to discussing the structure of the argument.


How did you come up with your assumptions? 2 and 5 in particular are rather nonsensical.

Why can imperfection not be brought out of or from perfection? Maybe I am missing something but if you believe in creation and you also believe humans are imperfect (one of your assumptions), then you cannot possibly come to this assumption. Humans are imperfect as you say, but they came from something perfect (God). Your assumptions are therefore contradictory and any argument based on false assumptions is provably false.

Why must humans have free will for God to be perfect? It cannot be assumed that forcing someone to do something is unjust. We are forced to obey our parents, obey just laws, etc.

I would love to hear more about your assumptions, but as I see them now with the information given, they are fallacious and cannot be used as a basis of argument or philosophizing.

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