I’m starting to get some respect for William Lane Craig’s seemingly strange and offensive idea that if a person is damned in the actual world, then he is damned in all possible worlds, too; and for its corollary, “if a person is saved in one possible world, then God is duty-bound, lest He commits an injustice, to save him in the actual world.”

Craig’s interest lies in attempting to shore up the idea that non-Christians most likely go to hell. But an objection crops up: during the heavenly trial, can’t a non-Christian say that had he been preached the Gospels to, he would have believed and been saved? He is not at fault; his environment is. Craig says, no, this complaint cannot be sustained.

If Smith has any chance at all of being saved, i.e., if God predicts prior to creating that Smith would be saved in some possible world, then creating a possible world in which Smith is actually damned is “unfeasible” for God (for fear of “lawsuits”). God’s options as regards which world to create shrink to those worlds in which Smith is saved.

But this means that one is either necessarily (over all possible worlds) damned or necessarily (over all feasible worlds) saved. But then the situation is as if each person’s soul was essentially evil or essentially good from the day this person is born or conceived.

Why does this sound offensive? Because humanity then, according to Craig, is a species in regard to body only. With regard to the soul, it is actually a genus not a species at all which contains two subspecies: the subhumans who no matter what are damned and the supermen who no matter what are saved. The sheep are forever sheep, and goats have always been and cannot fail to be goats. This is “once a crook, always a crook” extended to infinity.

So, “my mama didn’t love me” or “I had bad luck in life” are not valid excuses for getting out of the hellish sentence, because in being condemned actually, one is revealed to be totally depraved and hell-bound in all sets of circumstances, as a matter of fact.

Humanity then is bifurcated in this manner into subhumans whom God hates with a purple passion and supermen whom God coddles by carefully surrounding them with a favorable possible world. A superman, too, can be broken and damned under various circumstances, but God ensures that he actually survives. Again, God is entirely powerless to save the subhumans whom he casually predestines for both sin and hell.

How about the argument that at best, if we could foreknow who was a subhuman, then we would be justified in wanting to abort them in the womb or kill them as children, so that they would not get an opportunity to make their ultimate evil choice as adults?

And at worst, killing them would at least cut the crap, drop the charade that there is any hope for them? What are these essentially evil goats doing in the world sullying it up in the first place, polluting it with their presence? “You are and have always been meant to go to hell, so just go there and leave the decent folks alone!”

If may be asked why a good God would create such monsters in the first place. Well, the saints need evil in order to fight it and in the process build their souls. Perhaps, the evil subhumans exist in this way solely for the sake of the supermen. Once their usefulness has been exhausted, they will be thrown out into the divine gas oven called hell. Their souls are sacrificed for the greater good. It’s harsh but inevitable and is justified as a necessary feature of the best possible world. If God had not created the subhumans, then much good would also have been forfeited. It’s the price of success.


Dmitry Chernikov · December 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm

To be sure, the argument that “sinners are needed as tools for the sake of the saints” is crude. If Smith is a saint, then only physical evil in the world and perhaps Smith’s own moral evil are necessary for Smith’s soulmaking. Jones’ moral evil may create certain useful to God and Smith physical evils, but I see no obvious reason to hold that Jones’ own moral evil in itself is necessary for Smith’s moral progress.

Dmitry Chernikov · December 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

In addition, intending the subhumans to serve as mere tools for the salvation of the elect violates the principle of double effect. If the principle is sound and binding on man, then a fortiori, on God also.

Dmitry Chernikov · January 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm

It’s funny how this brings up an image of God as a crazy priest with a knife in the hand who holds your head up by the hair while you are tied up, preparing to cut your throat, and wails: “I’m sacrificing you to an even bigger God who limits my power to save everyone and whom I must appease so that my project of creation does not lose funding. Oh glorious super-God, accept this insignificant offering from your humble servant!”

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