***H: I don't buy into this notion only because in my view the universe conforms to God's will. Anything that doesn't conform is merely an anomaly that will eventually be corrected. P: Those seem to be contradictory positions. If the universe conformed to God's will, then there would be nothing which didn't, thus no anomolies. The fact that non-conformance exists at all, whether or not it is eventually "corrected", implies that God's will must not be perfect or all-powerful.***
Well, by anomaly I mean something that doesn't completely fit the pattern but because the boundary conditions are generous enough, the anomaly exists. For example, the creation of virtual W bosons responsible for the weak decay of the neutron is an anomaly of the laws of conservation. The W boson doesn't quite fit the picture of conservation, but it does when seen in the bigger picture (i.e., it is a virtual boson and total conservation is preserved once the virtual boson pops out of existence). The condition of conservation is happens to be generous enough to allow for massive particles to violate the conservation law long enough to carry out there effect, but not long enough to cause the conditions of the conservation law to be violated in principle. Similarly, 'evil' when seen in the overall effect exists long enough to carry out a certain role in creation, but it doesn't exist long enough to violate God's omnibenevolence, omnipotence, etc.
***That says that God's will does not extend down to the level of detail inside that boundary. It's like he doesn't care what happens inside the boundary as long as things work out in the bigger picture. It would seem to me that such indifference would represent either malevolence or something less than omniscience. Either of these, I would think, would severely tarnish his reputation for perfection.***
It would be malevolent or nonchalant if God's interaction of the world were like a human. But, as I was relaying to Alexander last week, this I don't feel is the case.
When I say a transformation exists which has an origination point to some destination point, this means that this is the first act of creation of God. All other events in the world can ultimately be reduced to this simple Transformation (I'll capitalize it for emphasis). That is, because this Transformation exists, other things must exist, and so on. Eventually some things exist not because they are necessitated, they exist because some things that are necessitated allow for things that are contingent. This contingency provides the world a means to stray from 'good' (i.e., where everything has a purpose at accomplishing the Transformation) to a point to where not every action is 'good' (it simply exists as a result of 'good' things). Overall the boundary conditions keep the world from letting contingent events from interfering with the Transformation. Once certain events occur during the Transformation process, the contingent events are no longer needed and they necessitated away (or annihilated if we use the analogy of virtual particle pairs).
So, in this view, at no time is God being malevolent. Rather, what is, is. The Transformation exists, necessitated events exist because of the Transformation, and contingent events exist because of the necessitated events. The boundary conditions allow anomalous behavior (or evil behavior) to exist a short time before the boundary conditions disallow it any further. Survival of the fittest (etc) serves a purpose for only so long, and then it's astalavista.
Warm regards, Harv