Philosophical Studies

, Volume 147, Issue 3, pp 355–368 | Cite as

Theism, possible worlds, and the multiverse



God is traditionally taken to be a perfect being, and the creator and sustainer of all that is. So, if theism is true, what sort of world should we expect? To answer this question, we need an account of the array of possible worlds from which God is said to choose. It seems that either there is (a) exactly one best possible world; or (b) more than one unsurpassable world; or (c) an infinite hierarchy of increasingly better worlds. Influential arguments for atheism have been advanced on each hierarchy, and these jointly comprise a daunting trilemma for theism. In this paper, I argue that if theism is true, we should expect the actual world to be a multiverse comprised of all and only those universes which are worthy of creation and sustenance. I further argue that this multiverse is the unique best of all possible worlds. Finally, I explain how his unconventional view bears on the trilemma for theism.



I thank Paul Bali, N. Ballantyne, Jim Dianda, Peter Forrest, Luke Gelinas, David Hunter, Ed Luk, Jonathan Strand, Tom Talbott, and an anonymous Philosophical Studies referee for helpful comments on earlier drafts. Thanks also to Michael Almeida, Paul Draper, Hud Hudson, and Timothy O’Connor for sharing their prepublication work on this topic with me. I am grateful for the generous research support I received from Ryerson University, and from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, in Fall 2006.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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