The participation theodicy holds, reasonably enough, that it would be good to create an ideal world. Since it would be good for God to do so, it would also be good for us to do so (as well as any other beings). The goodness would only be multiplied through our participation and contribution to the creation of an ideal world. The defender of the participation theodicy doesn’t deny that God could’ve created a much better world than ours — or even created us in heaven — and that this would be a good thing. Rather, they compare the goodness of creating a heavenly world ex nihilo to the goodness of creaturely participation in the creation of the same heavenly world. A unilateral divine act of ex nihilo creation would preclude the creative activities of other creatures. To quote my guest today, “The best sort of thing God could do would be to create the very best type of world for creatures to inhabit. But for creatures to be spontaneously generated in an ideal state of the world would be for them to miss out on helping God bring about that ideal world. So God, being generous, would have good reason to initially create creatures in a non-ideal state of the world, so that they could contribute towards bringing about its idealization, so that they too could do the very best type of thing that they could have done.”
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