Victor Cosculluela seeks to “bolster” Drange’s argument discussed in the previous post. Let
S = the situation of all, or almost all, humans since the time of Jesus of Nazareth coming to believe [in God and Christ] by the time of their physical death.
Drange assumes that God
(2) wants situation S, i.e., has it among his desires;
(3) does not want anything that conflicts with his desire for situation S as strongly as it. (363)
Drange gives Biblical evidence for these, which he says is strong for (2) and weak for (3). Cosculluela attempts to shore up the more vulnerable (3) by an “a priori” argument.
The idea is that if God wants X, then goods Y, Z, … set aside or sacrificed by God for the sake of X are not wanted at all, presumably since wanting the impossible is a defect. Now this is at the very least imprecise. Let’s say that A is a physical good ↔ A is loved and ought to be. X then would be such a good, but Y and Z would not: for though they, too, are loved, yet it’s not the case that they ought to be, since God rejected them. Cosculluela’s argument may be a point about divine psychology: God does not bother with mulling over forgone opportunities or pleasures inferior to the one chosen.
But then God has no conflicting desires. If He wants (2), then (3) is now very well justified.
I’ll make two objections to this argument.
First, (2) may be false despite its apparent reasonableness. For even if God might want it, perhaps it’s only as a means to an end. The ultimate end itself might be, say, for the greatest good for the greatest number (GG) to obtain. Perhaps instead of (2), God wants (2′) us to obey the natural law and respond to His grace. Or perhaps God wants (2”) for all men to heal their nature, who then, by cooperating with each other according to justice and economic laws, will build a glorious civilization, on earth as it is in heaven.
Second, and more important, assuming that (2) is true, and God’s end is fixed, nothing by that fact is determined with regard to means to this end. Perhaps the means that yields GG is for God to make a minimal investment (such as in Jesus’ apostles) and let human beings preach the Gospel themselves. As I suggest in the previous post, such an MO might maximize human merit and glory, and serve God’s ultimate purpose best.
We can see that Cosculluela’s argument is irrelevant.