“Since the world isn’t perfect, why would we need a perfect being to explain the world or any feature of it?” This question was asked of premier Christian philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, in the New York Times Opinionator. I interacted with Plantinga’s most recent work on science and faith in a post called, “How Christian’s Can Affirm Evolution.”
Here is Plantinga’s response to the original question, “If the world isn’t perfect, then why do we need a perfect creator?”:
I suppose your thinking is that it is suffering and sin that make this world less than perfect. But then your question makes sense only if the best possible worlds contain no sin or suffering. And is that true? Maybe the best worlds contain free creatures some of whom sometimes do what is wrong. Indeed, maybe the best worlds contain a scenario very like the Christian story.
Think about it: The first being of the universe, perfect in goodness, power and knowledge, creates free creatures. These free creatures turn their backs on him, rebel against him and get involved in sin and evil. Rather than treat them as some ancient potentate might – e.g., having them boiled in oil – God responds by sending his son into the world to suffer and die so that human beings might once more be in a right relationship to God. God himself undergoes the enormous suffering involved in seeing his son mocked, ridiculed, beaten and crucified. And all this for the sake of these sinful creatures. I’d say a world in which this story is true would be a truly magnificent possible world. It would be so good that no world could be appreciably better.