The Best of All Possible Worlds

The philosopher Gottfried Leibniz describes many things about God that I find very correct and intriguing. If you were to think over his arguments in his “Discourse on Metaphysics” you would end up with the conclusion that God has created the best of all possible worlds, because of Leibniz’s view of perfection.

Leibniz says that God possesses infinite wisdom, therefore when God does something He always does it in the wisest, most perfect, and most desirable way possible. Therefore, when God created the world that we see before us today, we can know that this world exists as the best of all possible worlds, because it was made in the wisest way possible. If we were to say that God did not create the world in the wisest way possible, we would be saying that God could have created the world in a wiser or better way. To say that is to find fault with God, and this clearly cannot happen according to Leibniz; and I agree wholeheartedly.

Leibniz is on to something here that many in our modern day do not embrace; God’s love for His own glory over all other things. Leibniz says God “does nothing for which He does not merit being glorified.” This means that God’s greatest desire is to be glorified, and because of this, everything He does serves the end of His own being made much of. Therefore if God were to create a world in which He was not fully glorified or treasured, that world would be lacking in the most vital way possible. Therefore the logical conclusion of this thought is that God is fully glorified in this world, because this world exists, knowing that this world would not exist unless it was the best possible of all worlds, because God does all things in the most perfect and desirable manner possible.

But this brings up the question of evil doesn’t it? Yes. If God created this world as the best of all possible worlds, and everything serves the purpose of glorifying Himself, than what do we make of the evil in our world? Does that evil serve God’s glory? If God made the world in the wisest way possible was the evil we see everyday part of His “wisest way possible” plan? Leibniz says rightly that God must be glorified more because of evil in the world, “than if none of the evil had (ever) happened.” Again the logical conclusion is this: we know God acts for His own glory in the most perfect and desirable manner possible. Therefore everything that was made was made in the most “wise way possible”. Therefore if evil (or anything!) exists we know that God had a wise purpose and design in allowing it to exist.

Therefore, I agree with Leibniz, that we do live in the best of all possible worlds. Everything that exists serves the purpose of God’s glory. If anything didn’t serve the end of God’s glory, God wouldn’t have allowed it to exist.

One thought on “The Best of All Possible Worlds

  1. In reference to Leibniz’s “best of all possible worlds theory” some would ask, “Was the world made primarily for God’s benefit or for man’s?” If it were for God’s benefit only, then there would be no evil in it, just like heaven. But if the equation leans more toward man then we would have to introduce a “crucible factor”, meaning, evil and all negative consequences which mankind deals with, are designed in some way for our benefit and not God’s. The best of all possible worlds is then, relatively speaking, for our benefit. But how then could evil be for our benefit? Isn’t that the great “stumbling stone” that impedes people’s faith n trust in God? (If GOD is good how can evil exist?) Holistically, its not for His benefit but for ours, that things are the way they are, hence, the crucible factor: evil and all imperfections have redemptive qualities. Evil highlights our utter need for God and our innate indigence in saving ourselves. This, in the end, brings Him glory.

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