Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Malebranche on Whether God Could Make Better

God could without doubt make a world more perfect than that we inhabit. He could, for example, make it so that the rain, which is for rendering the earth fertile, fell more regularly on the ploughed fields than in the sea, where it is not so necessary. But in order to make this world more perfect, he would have had to have changed the simplicity of His ways, and he would have had to multipled the laws of communication of motions, by which our world subsists; and so there would not longer be that proportion between God's action and His work, which is necessary in order to determine an infinitely wise being to act, or at least there would not have been the same proportion between God's action and that so-perfect world that there is between the laws of nature and the world that we inhabit. For our world, however imperfect one imagines it, is founded on laws of motions so simple and so natural, that it is perfectly worthy of the infinite wisdom of its Author.

(Malebranche, Treatise on Nature and Grace, Discourse I, article xiv. My rough translation.)

Again, this should be compared with Aquinas's and Leibniz's discussions of the same issue.

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