The Evil God Argument Doesn’t Work

One lame argument against Christianity which I have seen in online forums goes as follows:

  1. If God exists, there is an equal probability that he might be good or bad
  2. If he is good, we should believe in him
  3. If he is bad, we should not believe in him
  4. From 1, 2, and 3, there is no advantage in believing in God compared to disbelieving in God

Secularists might present result 4 to claim justification for atheism or agnosticism. Others take a harder stance and introduce Occam’s Razor, along with result 4, as evidence for the superiority of secularism over religion.

The problem with this argument is that every supposition is incorrect. That’s right. All three of them.

  1. If God exists, there is an equal probability that he might be good or bad
    1. Here, we must keep in mind that we are defending the God of the Bible. There is no probability that God so conceived could be morally evil. God, as the source of objective morality, constitutes goodness by definition.
      1. Here’s an article on Divine Command Theory and here’s my recognition that it solves Euthyphro’s Dilemma.
      2. In case you think the Bible says God is evil because it says he creates evil in the KJV translation of Isaiah 45:7, review this article for a comprehensive correction.
    2. Empirical evidence is consistent with the God of the Bible, but it is not consistent with polytheistic religions including Greek, Roman, and Egyptian polytheism. It is the latter sort of religions which claim some sort of evil god exists.
      1. Even there we see that Hades, for example, is the God of the Underworld, but is that the same thing as saying he is morally evil? Per Grant and Hazel (2002), “Despite modern connotations of death as evil, Hades was actually more altruistically inclined in mythology. Hades was often portrayed as passive rather than evil; his role was often maintaining relative balance. However he was depicted as cold, stern, and gave all his subjects equal treatment in regards to his laws.”
    3. The Christian may grant the existence of extremely powerful and evil supernatural agents, such as Satan, but such entities are not God even if some individuals (eg satanists) refer to them in such a way. See the Appeal to a Greater God below.
  2. If he is good, we should believe in him
    1. We should believe in him either way
  3. If he is bad, we should not believe in him
    1. He isn’t bad. So we should believe in him and change our view about what is and isn’t bad.

There are lots of entities which are claimed to be god by one religion or another and yet the may accurately be described as evil. The following argument shows why such entities are not consistent with the Christian concept of God. It is called the Appeal to a Greater God:

  1. Some evil entity exists
  2. Because an evil entity exists, objective moral truths must exist
  3. Objective moral truths must have an objective source
  4. The source of objective moral truths is the Christian God
  5. Therefore, the entity identified in 1 is not the Christian God. Referring to the entity in 1 as God is simply an incorrect reference.

To sum up:

  1. There is empirical evidence in favor of a good Christian God
  2. It appears logically necessary that the Christian God is good
  3. References to ‘evil gods’ either refer to invalid concepts of god or constitute a misuse of language

It’s also interesting to note that the existence of evil is a proof of the existence of God. If evil exists then objective good exists, it must have a source, that’s the Christian God.

I’d add one point to Heschmeyer’s article, just linked, which is that I think the argument can be made that if objective moral values are hard wired by genetics into humans, it continues to follow that objective moral values do exist and their ultimate source is God. However, it would also seem strange that humans have moral disagreements in that case, so in the real world I think those moral tendencies which are explained by genetics are incomplete. I do think some exist, though, and this is consistent with the Bible:

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them


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