Here’s a reason to think not.
Premise 1: A perfectly good God wouldn’t create someone who has a 99.999999999999999% chance of suffering forever. (I’m assuming here that the “suffering” is to an extent that makes one’s life not worth living.)
Suppose you have a dream in which an “angel” tells you that 99.999999999999999% of the people in Gabon, Africa will end up suffering in hell forever given their background culture and innate personalities. Do you believe it? Probably not, and not merely because you don’t believe God exists. You’d probably think this: “A good God wouldn’t permit there to be a person whose chance of escaping infinite suffering is so terribly slim.” That’s the intuition behind Premise 1.
Premise 2: If a perfectly good God wouldn’t create someone who has a 99.999999999999999% chance of suffering forever, then a perfectly good God wouldn’t create someone who has ANY chance of suffering forever.
Think about it this way. The difference between 99.999999999999999% and any other percent is FINITE, whereas the consequence is always INFINITE. How could there be a percentage that permits risking infinite suffering but a finitely different percentage that doesn’t? Or think about it this way. For every percentage p, either p is worth the risk of infinite suffering, or it is not the case that p is worth the risk. None of these terms are vague, so if Premise 2 is false, then there’s a p, such that a perfectly good God wouldn’t create someone who has p chance of suffering forever but would create someone who has a slightly smaller chance of suffering forever. Why should a slight difference in chance warrant an INFINITE difference in the conseqence that may be risked? It seems it shouldn’t.
Therefore: a perfectly good God wouldn’t create someone who has ANY chance of suffering forever.
Objection: what about the value of free will?
Of course, someone can object that certain important elements of free will would be taken away if no one had a chance of suffering forever–which is the natural and required consequence of ultimately rejecting the Good.
Notice that this objection doesn’t actually diagnose a problem with the premises of my argument. It seems to simply be an argument against the conclusion of the argument. Or, if this objection targets Premise 2, it doesn’t diagnose what’s wrong with the reasoning I gave in supoprt of Premise 2.
I reply with a series of questions:
1. Why couldn’t the required consequence of rejecting the Good be a finite stage of suffering followed by Annhilation?
2. Why couldn’t the required consequence of rejecting the Good be a finite stage of suffering followed by another chance?
3. Why couldn’t God consult counterfactual knowledge to create only those who would freely refrain from rejecting the Good?
5. What makes the freedom to be forever separate from God so valuable that it’s worth the risk of suffering forever?
These are just questions. Really, what I’d like to know is what’s wrong with my argument?