Leibniz's Lapse: Contrary to Leibniz, there are possible worlds that God cannot actualize.
Here's an informal proof.TWD ("transworld depravity")
Imagine a situation S in which Curley is free to take, or to refuse, a bribe. Suppose God wants Curley freely to refrain from taking the bribe in S. The most he could do to bring this about would be to make Curley free in S. Can God get what he wants? That depends on which of the following propositions is true. (Note that one of them must be true, and the other false,)(t) If Curley were free in S, then Curley would take the bribe.If (t) is true and God makes Curley free in S, then Curley will take the bribe and God won't get what he wants. Only if (r) is true will Curley do what God wants him to do.
(r) If Curley were free in S, then Curley would not take the bribe.
(Terminological note: (t) and (r) are among Curley's "counterfactuals of freedom.")
Now let Wt be a possible world in which God makes Curley free in S and Curley freely takes the bribe. And let Wr be a world in which in which God makes Curley free in S and Curley freely refuses the bribe. If (t) is true, then God cannot actualize Wr. If, on the other hand, (r) is true, then God cannot actualize Wt. Since either (t) or (r) must be true, it follows that God can't actualize one or the other of these worlds--there is at least one possible world which he cannot actualize.
For each possible person, and for each situation in which that person might exist and be free, there is a complete set of true conditional propositions (like (t) and (r)) about what that person would do if she were free in that situation. We will call these a person's "counterfactuals of freedom."How the FWD solves the logical problem of evil
Now the sad truth about Curley may be this: His counterfactuals of freedom are such that in no matter what situation God places him, if God gives him morally significant freedom in that situation, he would freely do at least one wrong action. He doesn't have to. Curley is free, after all. But God knows that he would. Curley suffers from TWD.
Of course, there are possible worlds in which Curley is significantly free and never goes wrong. But God can't actualize those worlds without Curley's help, and Curley's counterfactuals of freedom are such that God knows that such help is not going to be forthcoming. Paradoxically, it might be that only Curley can do what's required to actualize one of those worlds.
Remember? The problem was to show that the following propositions are logically consistent.So why doesn't God just make different counterfactuals of freedom true?
(1) God exists--and is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good.
(2) There is evil in the world.
Plantinga supposes we can do this by finding a proposition implicit in the free will defense that is consistent with (1), and together with (1) entails (2). Now we can see what that proposition is. Here it is:(3) God actualized a world in which there are free creatures who produce some moral goodness; AND all possible persons suffer from TWD, so that God could not have actualized a world in which there were free creatures who produced moral goodness and no moral evil.It's possible that both (1) and (3) are true. Together they entail (2). it follows that (2) is consistent with (1). QED.
Because then they wouldn't be counterfactuals of freedom. For God to fix your counteractuals of freedom for you would be tantamount to making do what he prefers.Does that mean that God isn't omnipotent?
God is stuck with the counterfactuals of freedom that happen (as a matter of contingent fact) to be true.
Not at all. If the counterfactuals of freedom have a truth value at all, then for each possible person some complete set of counterfactuals must be true. Whichever set that is, no one, no matter how powerful, can make a completely different set of counterfacutals of freedom true.What about the amount of moral evil in the world?
For all we know, the counterfactuals of freedom could be such that the actual world contains a better overall balance of moral good and evil than that of any of the other worlds that God could have actualized. It's at least logically possible that this is the case.What about natural evil?
Of course, there are much better possible worlds--ones with free creatures who never go wrong. But it's at least logically possible that the counterfactuals of freedom are such that God couldn't actualize any of those.
There might be non-human free spirits ("Satan and his cohorts") who are responsible for all natural evil, in which case all evil would fall under the category of "broadly moral evil."Three more questions
Alternatively, the counterfactuals of freedom might be such that any diminution in the amount of natural evil would result in a compensating increase in the amount of moral evil.
1. Are we limited by our own counterfactuals of freedom? (Could an argument be deployed for saying that their existence entails that everything we do is inevitable?)
2. Do all the counterfactuals of freedom have a truth value?
3. Could the free will defense survive if they didn't?