Anselmian theism holds that there necessarily exists a being, God, who is essentially unsurpassable in power, knowledge, goodness, and wisdom. This being is also understood to be the creator and sustainer of all that is. In contemporary analytic philosophy of religion, this role is generally understood as follows: God surveys the array of possible worlds, and in his wisdom selects exactly one for actualization, based on its axiological properties. In this paper, I discuss an under-appreciated challenge for this account of the Anselmian God’s selection of a world. In particular, I urge that there are failures of comparability between various possible worlds, and I argue that, given certain assumptions, these failures threaten the rationality of God’s choice of a world. To the extent that rationality is deemed necessary for unsurpassability, this result also challenges the core Anselmian notion that God is an unsurpassable being.
Originally published as:
Kraay, K. J. (2011). Incommensurability, incomparability, and God’s choice of a world. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 69(2), 91-102.