“I inquire still further, did the Almighty know, before he made man that he would become a sinner? Did he know that he would deserve an endless punishment? If the answer be in the negative, it supposes God to be wanting in knowledge, and that he created beings at an infinite risk, as he did not know what would be the consequences. If the question be answered in the positive, it proves that an infinite cruelty existed in God; for unless that was the case he would never have created beings who he knew would be infinitely the losers by their existence.
“Those who believe in the system which I am examining believe in the existence of the devil, whose existence I have refuted in this work. I am willing, however, for the sake of the argument, to admit the existence of their God and devil likewise. But I wish to inquire, which of them is, in reality, the worst being. God, when he created mankind, perfectly knew that some of them would suffer endless torment for their sins; he must, therefore, have intended them for that purpose. For, it is inconsistent to suppose that the Almighty would create without a purpose; and his purpose could not be contrary to his knowledge. The matter then stands thus, God created millions of beings for endless misery, which they could not escape; the devil is desirous of having them miserable, and does all in his power to effect it. Now, reader, judge between these two beings. Had this devil been consulted by the Almighty when he laid the plan of man’s final destiny, I cannot conceive him capable of inventing one more eligible to his infernal disposition than this which I am now disputing.”
–Hosea Ballou, Treatise on Atonement, 1805