This is argument is remarkably similar to that of
from his Theodicee
and many of his letters.
From this point onwards, to avoid having the prefix every
occurrence of the word "God" by "Christian", all mentioning
of the word "God" shall mean "Christian God"
Leibniz also addresses the questions of ymelup, including the
omni-benevolence of the Christian God and the problem of evil
which permeates all questions of the nature of God and reality.
According to the definition of God by Christianity:
God wished to create the best possible world, and did, in fact,
create the best possible world. The question of what is a perfect
world comes into play.
- The best world is the one which maximizes happiness (virtue) of rational
Leibniz was certainly not claiming that our happiness is the sole
aim of God, but rather that a world that is happy is better than one
that isn't happy. It is not just of humans, but of all sentient
beings. It is quite possible that the sentient beings on earth may
be a small percentage of all of those that have been created.
- The best world is one which maximizes the "quantity of essence."
A universe of stuff is better than one that is empty.
- The best world is one which yields the greatest variety of phenomena
governed by the simplest set of laws
Simplicity, being of the essence, the more varied the universe the
It is not so much that God has no choice, but rather that the universe
is perfect and that constrains God's actions. The beings
that God created are not perfect themselves. The perfect
universe is one of variety. For that variety, the three forms
of evil must exist.
However, these evils are reduced to a minimum, and serve the
higher purpose of the variety and perfection of the world.
We, as finite beings
, see only a small part of creation - that which
is nearest to ourselves. This part what influences us the most.
The universe has been created. As an omniscient being, God knows
the end of creation. Though we as individuals have a limited free
will, everything that we do is known beforehand, and works to the
ultimate perfection of the universe. Likewise, God must also have
all of His actions work for the perfection of the universe. Because
God is perfect, all knowing, and all powerful, there is only one
action that will lead to the ultimate perfection of the universe.
The question of smiting should be looked upon with what the
omni-benevolence would do. It is not humanity that God is necessarily
benevolent towards, but rather the universe as a whole. While
it is true that there can be infinite options with equal benevolence,
it is not necessarily the case that they all have the same
ultimate perfection. As finite beings, how are we capable of knowing
what the ultimate perfection of the universe is?