So I was reading the Objections and Replies to Descartes’s Meditations for class tomorrow and I think I have stumbled upon one of the most damning arguments against any sort of omnipotent, omniscient creator-god, specifically the Abrahamic one.
So, if you’re not familiar with the Meditations, in the First Objection Caterus engages Descartes on a dialogue about cause and effect, which essentially concludes with the assertion that God is the efficient cause of everything (i.e., he is the ultimate cause of all that was, is, and ever will be). This seems like something that most theists could get behind. However, if this is true, and if God is both omnipotent and omniscient, wouldn’t this make free will impossible? It seems so, since if God is the efficient cause of everything, he is responsible for all of our actions.
If God is omnipotent, he could have created the universe in any way that he wanted. If he was also omniscient, he would have also been able to fully understand every single consequence of his actions. Therefore, when he created the universe, he consciously and knowingly set in motion everything that ever will happen, and all of time is set in its tracks, completely predetermined without any chance of deviation aside from direct intervention from God. Therefore, if God exists, and is both omnipotent and omniscient, free will is impossible. This may not be a problem if you’re like most superstitious Americans and believe in the paranormal phenomenon known as fate, but what are the repercussions of a lack of free will? The most startling one is that it puts the blame for all evil in the world squarely on the shoulders of God.
If all of time is predetermined by God, then every action any individual makes is directly caused by God. This means that if I choose to murder someone, it is not my choice, but God’s. Therefore, I am not to blame for my actions; it was really God who murdered my victim. Therefore, God cannot be all-good as the Jews and Christians (and Descartes) believe he is.
Anyway, to me this last bit seems to pretty much put the nail in God’s coffin. If God is the cause of all evil, why the hell should I worship him?