The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Richard La Croix's Deductive Argument From Evil

I was reading the deductive argument of evil from Richard La Croix and wanted to see what you all thought about it. Here it is

Deductive argument from Richard R. La Croix:

The first thing I see is that if God had justifiable reasons in creating a world that now contains evil then it’s not the case that He shouldn’t have created at all. If He has holy justifiable reasons then He is going to be motivated to create and does nothing wrong in creating. Moreover, to say it would have been better had God done things differently by not creating or creating things differently doesn’t take into account that the laws of physics are based on symmetries and those symmetries are based on mathematical necessity. To do things differently God would have had to make those mathematical truths false which He cannot do because they hold of necessity. Moreover, He is a God of truth and cannot go contrary to His own nature. Hence, there was no “prior” to creation as La Croix thinks. God is “prior” to creation only in the sense that 1 is “prior” to 2. The universe was brought into existence simultaneously with God’s creating. Our finite human minds have a hard time grasping such a thing but it’s not impossible for God. To read about symmetries in physics go here:

I don’t think La Croix’s statements form a deductive argument at all, at least not all of them.

This statement if deductive, and true if it is assumed that God existed before creation.

I also agree that this statement is deductive and true if it is assumed that God existed before creation.

However, there is a problem in the assumption that God existed BEFORE creation. For it is assumed that TIME existed before creation. But I don’t think there WAS a “before.” I think that the first act of God, the begetting of his Son, marked the beginning of time, and then He created the universe THROUGH the Son.

I do not believe in an infinite regression of time into the past. If there were such, then what was God doing during that infinite past period? NOTHING?

A sentence that begins with “perhaps” is not part of a deductive argument.

God created man in his own image, with the ability to choose. Knowing what a free-will agent will choose in advance is a contradiction in terms. For if there was such advance knowledge, then there would be no free-will agents. So no one knew in advance or could know in advance that there would be evil.

Awesome Paidion! :smiley:

I would agree with Richard La Croix in that God being the greatest, anything that is created would be less than God, unless He cloned Himself. But, who is to say what God created first, or how long He has been creating before He created the earth? I also agree with Paidion in saying that the future is unknowable, unless it be generally speaking. However, I disagree with La Croix’s argument that God should not have created knowing that there was a possibility for evil. Humans are creative beings as well. Are we to just sit around twiddling our thumbs and never create anything because someone may use it for evil purposes? Do we never have any children just because they may do something wrong? This doesn’t seem sensible.

I like some of your points LLC but don’t agree with all. I think God knows the future.

St. Michael, in saying that God knows the future, I assume that you are saying, as many believe,that God knows every detail of a person’s life and knows exactly what will happen because the future has already been played out; as if one is watching a rerun of a old movie you have seen before. How do we know this?

Here’s one scripture:

God is outside of our time and therefore knows everything “all at once”

Another possibility that I’ve heard - and don’t agree with btw - is that God knows everything, including the future, not because He is outside of time but because He decreed each and every movement of every atom, molecule, choice, the universe, from its beginning until its end. Every single thing.
And because He is omnipotent, He has the power to carry out that incomprehensibly detailed plan.

This still does not say that the future has already occurred and that every detail of it is known. Take for example an apple tree, if it’s seed is planted you know that when it germinates, you will get an apple tree. You will not get a grape, or an orange. However, during the course of it’s life, there are many things that may affect the tree and it’s fruit. I believe these things are unknown until they actually take place.

This is a rather common concept, but it doesn’t make sense to me. What does it mean to be “outside of time”? Time is not a substance that you can be outside of. As I see it, time is but a measurement of the temporal distance between events. If there were no events, there would be no time.

God begat his Son, and then through his Son, God created the Universe. Thus time began. So God is presently “within” time. If He were “outside” time, how would He know anything that happens “within” time? Would He see everything that ever happened or will happen simultaneously? Suppose for a moment that you were “outside” time. If you saw all past, present, and future events simultaneously, how would you know the sequence of events?


God is outside time but He’s also within time. It’s Both. Does that help?

No, Michael. It does not help.

You haven’t yet explained what it MEANS to be “outside of time.” And where do you get the idea that there IS an “outside of time”?

In every instance in which I read of such a concept, it was mere philosophizing with no support.

Are you aware of any Scripture that suggests the reality of existence “outside of time”?

The popular Reformed notion of the Infinately Eternal Trinity pre-existing in complete love, harmony and holiness from infinity past where each member of the Trinity was in perfect, holy communion with each other member of the Godhead, before creation ; — how would you respond to that?

I’ve never had a problem with this. Like the old Puritan said “Not only does the speck of dirt which flies off from the wagon wheel have a set place to land, but its orbit through the air is pre-ordained”(or somethin to that effect)
Personally, I’m a stereotypical guy. If you were given a few facts about me, you could guess the rest. I’m a product of my ‘tribe’, of my location, ect. Anyone could guess my occupation, religion, complextion. I’m a slave to who I am.

But I’m also a slave to Christ. And folks can still stereotype me and guess my reaction and actions. If folks think I’m a robot, fine. I don’t have a problem with that. What’s wrong with being Christ’s robot? Fine position to be in. Slave to Christ.

Edit: Kinda forgot where I was for a bit. This topic usually comes up with Arminians. Isn’t it a necessity for Universalists to ditch free will?


God transcends limitations that we experience with time. The Bible teaches that everything had a beginning:

And that God precedes the beginning. The NEB correctly brings this out in John 1:1:

This includes time for Genesis 1:1 uses the merism “Heavens and Earth” which has the definition of totality of everything in Hebrew. Time, days/night, seasons and years come later in the account. Time is marked by change and motion. Without these things being there there would be no time. Sans creation there are no bodies in motion. Time as we know it began at creation. Moreover, God is unchangeable in some respects:

Just as the laws of logic are necessary and unchanging. Everything within time changes. Since the laws of logic don’t change and are metaphysically necessary then they are transcendent and timeless. They are a causal and are an extension of the mind of God making this part of God timeless and unchanging as well. God’s consciousness is without beginning and end and unchanging. He has perfect knowledge at all times. God looks down on time from His lofty height and is not limited in His knowledge, wisdom, and choices in the same way we are. He is Lord of time. For He is Lord in time as well as Lord above time. He is not merely temporal but is “in” time as He also transcends time in such a way to have existence “outside” of time (transcendent)


Here’s a picture. Check out the man in the corner with his head transcending the universe and therefore time and space:

God can experience a “day” in timelessness while many years pass in His experience of time. To say it another way God can experience many years in time while only experiencing a “day” in timelessness. As the Bible puts it - A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day. Of course “day” and a “thousand years” aren’t literal here.

I can’t make sense of this “outside of time” notion. I believe the notion to be unintelligible. I cannot even call it a “concept” because one cannot conceive of, or provide any meaning to “being outside of time.”

I hold to the simplistic view that “time” is the temporal “distance” between two events. The first of God’s acts was the begetting of His Son, and the second was the act of creating something through His Son. Thus time began.


God is the beginning and the end. He therefore experiences all events at once.

To the OP:

If God is the greatest possible good then if God had not created there would be nothing but the greatest possible good.

God being the greatest possible good is a figment of the imagination. God is Holy. Holiness when applied to God refers not only to moral purity but to everything that separates Him from His creation and His creatures. So, His goodness is holy, His love is Holy, His justice is Holy, His wisdom is Holy. This is no mere human goodness. According to Rudolf Otto in the idea of the Holy: An Inquiry Into the Non-Rational Factor in The Idea of the Divine and it’s Relation to the Rational, chapter 2, pp. 5 and 6. Here Otto speaks of the Supra Rational:

Holiness - the holy - is a category of interpretation and valuation peculiar to the sphere of religion. It is, indeed, applied by transference to another sphere - that of ethics - but it is not itself derived from this. While it is complex, it contains quite a different element or ‘moment’, which sets it apart from ‘the Rational’ in the meaning we gave to that word above, and which remains inexpressible - an ineffable - in the sense that it completely eludes apprehension in terms of concepts.

The fact is we have come to use the words holy, sacred in an entirely derivative sense, quite different from that which they ordinarily bore. We generally take ‘holy’ as meaning ‘completely good’; it is the absolute moral attribute, denoting the consummation of moral goodness. But this common usage of the term is inaccurate. It is true that all this moral significance is contained in the word ‘holy’ but it includes in addition - as even we cannot but feel - a clear overplus of meaning, and later or acquired meaning; rather ‘holy’, or at least the equivalent words in Latin and Greek, in Semitic and other ancient languages, denoted first and foremost only this overplus: If the ethical element was present at all, at any rate it was not original and never constituted the whole meaning of the word.

But this ‘holy’ then represents the gradual shaping and filling in with ethical meaning, or what we shall call the ‘schematization’, of what was a unique original feeling response, which can be in itself ethically neutral and claims consideration in its own right. And when this moment or element first emerges and begins its long development, all those long expressions mean beyond all question something quite other than ‘the good’. This is universally agreed upon by contemporary criticism…Accordingly, it is worth while, as we have said, to find a word to stand for this element in isolation, this ‘extra’ in the meaning of ‘holy’ above and beyond the meaning of goodness.

So, the first premise disproves a god but not the Holy God of scripture.

Isn’t this a description of God being outside of time since time only began because of God initiating the creation process. In a sense “time” is part of created things , it is a measuring device used within creation therefore God is indeed outside of creation and outside of time.


Glory is the revealed beauty of holiness. This is what the world is full of - Holiness not the greatest conceivable good. Glory is when God goes public with Holiness.