The Evil God Challenge
The Evil God (EG) Challengers admit typically that EG is unreasonable, but they conclude, that any argument you propose for God (G) can also be given for EG. I may not have understood this, so let me know if my rebuttal works?
Their argument goes something like this:(1)
EG is highly unreasonable.
G is like EG.
So, G must be highly unreasonable too.
Therefore, G doesn’t exist.
The challenge therefore, needs to explain why G is more plausible than EG.
According to the EG challengers:
They claim, the symmetry thesis states; Every argument and everything you can say for G can work for EG.
It is claimed by the proponents of the EG that it is symmetrical with G. This is true of Omniscience, Omnipotence, Perfection (not lacking anything) and Omnipresence, as it is plausibly the case that a EG would have such qualities. However, EG will not be Omnibenevolent, as EG will hate himself and everyone else, as EG is maximally Evil.
Response to the challenge.
The claim here, is that any individual argument I can make for G e.g. The Kalam Cosmological Argument can equally be used for EG. This is true in part, for example, the contingency argument only proves the universe needs a necessary cause, the Kalam cosmological argument only shows a timeless, spaceless, immensely powerful, personal cause. These could parody equally well for an EG.
However, I would push back with the moral argument and possibly the Ontological Argument, as I would conclude a Maximally Great Being (MGB) cannot be evil by definition, as it wouldn’t be worthy of worship or praise. Evil by definition is immoral and immorality isn’t a great making property, so cannot be moral.
Additionally, it seems difficult to pin down what a Maximally Evil Being (MEB) would be like! It would seem to me that a MEB might make our planet in bad location (see the Teleological Argument), just close enough to the sun, so that it can sustain life, but so hot, as to be unbearably hot all the time, this MEB might put us in or near the galactic centre so we are shrouded in thick gases, so we couldn’t see easily see or discern other galaxies or stars. Maybe, the MEB wouldn’t allow a Jupiter-like neighbour to exist, so we would get pounded by asteroids more often, to add to our misery and pain. This MEB might make all life badly, to further increase our pain e.g., more harmful mutations. It might be the case, that this MEB makes life ubiquitous throughout the universe, so that, in every solar system has at least 1 planet that has life like humans to torture in similar ways! Some getting blasted by gamma radiation, others getting destroyed by asteroids! So that the misery is maximal in a universal way, making it torturous for all life continuously. This MEB might make it so we live long ages to increase the amount of suffering and even if we ever tried to kill ourselves, the MEB brings us back to life with more pain and misery until we reached our 200 years or something.
Moreover, I see no reason why a MEB wouldn’t suddenly change physics or the fundamental constants and quantities randomly so things wouldn’t be the same! E.g. gravity suddenly becomes weaker or stronger, enough not to kill life, but make it harder! Or instead of things falling down as they normally do; things periodically shoot up into the air! So when you throw the ball up in the air, and as you look up in amazement, as just as the ball starts to fall down, it suddenly shoots back up into the air! then just as suddenly, the ball comes back down and always hits you in the head! Regardless of how it was thrown or at what angle! Just to further add to the misery. However, given an MGB, it seems reasonable that a MGB would want to make the universe understandable, discoverable and fit for life like us.
Furthermore, even if the EG challenger is able to show each individual argument can be symmetrical with the G, it fails to be symmetrical with the Judeo-Christian God. Let me explain, G of the Judeo-Christian religion, is a morally perfect, Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, being , which created the universe ordered so that it could be understood and that, we as humans could discover the universe and life’s order and fine-tuning. Furthermore, G, choose an individual (Abraham) in the past to be G's chosen people (Gen 12:2.3), G sustained Abraham and promised on oath to make him a great nation (Gen 15), additionally promising on oath, Isaac will be the offspring that the promise will be fulfilled (Gen17:1-22). Isaac (Gen26:2-5) and Jacob (Gen 25:23, Gen27:28-29, Gen 28:10-15, Gen 31:3, Gen 35:9-13, Gen 46:3-4) received additional oaths that they will be a great nation, through Joseph, G as prophesied in (Gen 15:13-16) foretold of their bondage to Egypt, preserved His people in Egypt and as promised they were delivered out of hands of Egypt much later, through Moses and Aaron (Ex 3:10 & Dt 34:1-4). Through Joshua, The Judges, Samuel, The Kings and the rest of the Prophets’ we see the providence of God to the Israeli people, culminating to the person of Jesus. (Mt 1:1-17 & Lk 3:23-38)(2)(3)(4)(Acts 3:13-26) for Peter says “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (Acts 3:24-26) So, it seems to me, (foregoing the evidence to prove the validity of the case for Jesus being the Christ.) we have a narrative that has no comparable symmetry with a EG! For what EG would do this? It is completely alien to any actions an EG would do.
If we were to have a symmetrical EG with the Judeo-Christian religion, first, Abraham and the patriarchs would be chosen for extra evil treatment, the 10 commandments would be opposite, any objective moral values and duties would be opposite, Jesus wouldn’t have died for our sins and would likely be the guy that did extra evil, making people’s lives worse. Given these opposite moral values, such actions as rape and murder would be actually good as they would be decreed by God, which would further add to the suffering of the lives, thus the chosen people who will be saved, are those chosen for true suffering with God on a new even worse earth and those going to hell are continually outside God’s evil.
I think we have an asymmetry and thus the Good God is more plausible in this regard.
Lastly, I would also recommend Apologetics Squared's video on the EG, I think it is better than my attempt to disprove this EG challenge.(5)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EIJbltpE7aCllBuZYxf2bBkQfT_502Ck/view by Professor Carlo Alvaro – discussion with Capturing Christianity https://youtu.be/a0TTCLr8uaw
What is God
What is Evil God
Perfect o Complete o Nothing can improve Him/doesn’t need anything
o Omnipotent o Can do anything (that is logically possible)
o Omnibenevolent o Cannot hate himself or others o Other-regarding = gives but does not need to receive
Not the Same Omni-malevolent o Cannot love himself or others Self-regarding = gives only if gain something in return
o Omniscient o Infinitely wise/knows future events
o Omnipotent o Can do anything (that is logically possible)