J.L. Schellenberg is a professor of philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University. Below is his “divine hiddennes and inculpable ignorance” argument. The hiddenness of God is certainly an interesting issue. I do believe God is quite hidden and he enjoys and has intended for himself to be at an epistemic distance from us but I don’t think this argument succeeds in being an argument against the existence of God.
Man is alienated from himself, from other persons, and from God, and as a result man has been burdened with absurdity. Absurdity ought to be understood in a dichotomous manner. Absurdity is experienced subjectively, such that the individual experiences it in an autonomous manner. The objective absurdity is the metanarratives of life. This would include a lack of ultimate meaning, incentive, value, and purpose.
Overcoming this alienation and the notion of absurdity, primarily objective absurdity, can only be done so by a divine telos. It does seem that man lives his life as if he does have an ultimate meaning, incentive, value, and purpose. However, if God does not exist, then the absurdity is not only subjective but itreally is objectively absurd. The existence of a divine telos enables man to live a consistent life of meaning, incentive, value, and purpose. There is a reconciliation of man to himself, others, and God by overcoming this absurdity.
If everything God does is GOOD, and if God controls EVERYTHING, then it would be BAD had one less child been murdered in Newtown, CT.
This is the argument we find particularly among open theists but I would consider it an important existential question. It primarily focuses on the problem of evil and the hiddenness of God. Here’s the argument in a formal depiction:
- If everything God does is Good [and]
- If God controls everything [by weak and strong actualization]
- Then, it would be bad had one less child been murdered in Newtown.
- It would have been good had one less child been murdered in Newtown.
- Therefore, either not everything God does is good or God does not control everything.
- God is good and everything he does is good.
- Therefore, God does not control everything.
It seems like we are posed with interesting dilemma (at least for the Christian who affirms that God’s means of providence is not exclusively causal, but that he controls all things).
The question then is, must teleology ontologically depend on God? If objective teleology can obtain in a possible world in which God does not exist it would have to be true that a sense of meaning, value, and purpose, according to Nielsen, is a necessary truth (it is necessary that teleology is intuitively sensed). These two necessary truths (God exists and teleology obtains) can obtain independent of each other in as long as they are both necessary. The same would be true if God were contingent since teleology is still necessary, thus relinquishing a foundation for teleology because of its independent necessary existence.
For the proposition, “If God does not exist, then teleology obtains” (~Eg ⊃ Ot) the consequent is necessarily true, by supposition, which, according to the standard semantic of counterfactuals, has the same effect as a necessarily false antecedent, namely, that the conditional is trivially true. However, consider the proposition “If an Anselmian God does not exist, then teleological facts obtain” (~Ea ⊃ Ot).