Here is something I was thinking about on the bus ride home the other night (i.e., I haven’t fully worked it out yet). It seems possible to have a view about act evaluation that is both significantly consequentialist and committed to the claim that rightness/wrongness is a function of God’s commands. This could happen if you think that consequentialism is a view about what makes actions good or bad, better or worse–but that, strictly speaking, consequentialism has nothing to say about rightness/wrongness.
Plantinga’s felix culpa theodicy turns on the following assumption–what he calls the “weak value assumption”–about the value of worlds:
WVA: Among the worlds of great value, some include incarnation and atonement.
Moreover, what explains the “great value” of the worlds mentioned in WVA is (in large part) that they contain the “towering” goods of incarnation and atonement. Plantinga says he’s inclined to accept a stronger assumption, viz., that any world that includes incarnation and atonement is better than any world that doesn’t; he thinks, however, that his argument can get by with WVA. The basic thought seems to be that, for any world that contains incarnation and atonement, God would be justified to create that world (it is, after all, by virtue of containing incarnation and atonement, a greatly valuable world). But of course, necessarily, a world contains incarnation and atonement only if it contains sin. So if God is justified to create a really valuable world that contains incarnation and atonement, God is justified to create a world that contains sin.
I’m not sure Plantinga can get by with WVA. Since WVA is consistent with there being worlds of great value that don’t contain incarnation and atonement, it seems to me that we would need to hear more about what other worlds of great value there are before we can conclude that God would be justified to create a world that contains atonement. If some other world of great value contains neither incarnation and atonement nor sin, God might act better by actualizing that world. Moreover, I think even Judeo-Christian theists should be suspicious. Here is a distinctively Christian way to push the objection.