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Summary Philosophers have spelled out the usual concept of God as a person who is bodiless, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, good and free. In this category there are texts that do not fit into the sibling categories.
Key works Swinburne 1993 is an influential and thorough investigation of the attributes of God.
Introductions Taliaferro 1997, Peterson 2009.
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  1. Wolfgang Achtner (2005). Infinity in Science and Religion. The Creative Role of Thinking About Infinity. Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 47 (4):392-411.
    This article discusses the history of the concepts of potential infinity and actual infinity in the context of Christian theology, mathematical thinking and metaphysical reasoning. It shows that the structure of Ancient Greek rationality could not go beyond the concept of potential infinity, which is highlighted in Aristotle's metaphysics. The limitations of the metaphysical mind of ancient Greece were overcome through Christian theology and its concept of the infinite God, as formulated in Gregory of Nyssa's theology. That is how the (...)
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  2. Robert Merrihew Adams (1996). Schleiermacher on Evil. Faith and Philosophy 13 (4):563-583.
    Schleiermacher’s theology of absolute dependence implies that absolutely everything, including evil, including even sin, is grounded in the divine causality. In addition to God’s general, creative causality, however, he thinks that Christian consciousness reveals a special, teleologically ordered divine causality which is at work in redemption but not in evil. He identifies good and evil, respectively, with what furthers and what obstructs the development of the religious consciousness in human beings. Mere pains and natural ills are not truly evil, in (...)
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  3. Peter Adamson (2003). Al-Kindi and the Mu‘Tazila: Divine Attributes, Creation and Freedom. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 13 (1):45-77.
    The paper discusses al-Kindi's response to doctrines held by contemporary theologians of the Mu‘tazilite school: divine attributes, creation, and freedom. In the first section it is argued that, despite his broadly negative theology, al-Kindi recognizes a special kind of “essential” positive attribute belonging to God. The second section argues that al-Kindi agreed with the Mu‘tazila in holding that something may not yet exist but still be an object of God's knowledge and power (as the Mu‘tazila put it, that “non-being” is (...)
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  4. Jacob Adler (1989). Divine Attributes in Spinoza. Philosophy and Theology 4 (1):33-52.
    Are the divine attributes intrinsic or relational properties of God? That is, can we ascribe the attributes to God, without relation to the things which God produces;or can we ascribe them to God only in relation to those things? In discussing the various aspects of this very old question, I argue that both views find strong support in the Ethics and other works. Spinoza’s “pantheism” removes the apparent contradiction between the two conceptions.
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  5. Stacey Ake (2009). Does God Exist or Does He Come to Be? Philosophy and Theology 21 (1/2):155-164.
    The following is an examination of two possible interpretations of the meaning of the “existence” of God. By using two different Danishterms—the word existence (Existents) and the concept “coming to be” (Tilværelse)—found in Kierkegaard’s writing, I hope to show that two very different theological outcomes arise depending upon which idea or term is used. Moreover, I posit which of these twooutcomes is closer in nature to the more famously used German term Dasein.
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  6. Ilyas Altuner (2012). The Relation of God and Being in Descartes. Igdir University Journal of Social Sciences (2): 33-51.
    Problem of the existence of God and His relation to the world and human being is seen as one of quite old and main problems of philosophy. Though the existence of God and His essence as a knowledge subject is related to a transcendent being over this universe, human being can find rules made by Him in physical world in which stands. The concept of God constitutes one of the most involved points of Descartes’ philosophy. In fact, for Descartes, who (...)
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  7. Guy Bennett-Hunter (2016). Paul Tillich and Divine Ineffability. In Mireille Hébert & Anne Marie Reijnen (eds.), Paul Tillich et Karl Barth: Antagonismes et accords théologiques. LIT Verlag 79–92.
    “Guy Bennett-Hunter dans «Tillich and Divine lneffabililty» affirme l‘étroite correlation entre l’affirmation tillichienne de l’ineffabilité divine et le rejet de l’ontothéologie. L’affirmation de leur incompatibilité lui semble une contribution majeure de Tillich à la pensée religieuse. Guy Bennett-Hunter part des déclarations bien connues où Tillich affirme que l’on ne saurait, à proprement parler, attribuer l’existence a Dieu puisque Dieu est «être même au-delà de l’essence et de l’existence». En d’autres termes, Dieu «mystére de l’être», «fondement et abîme de la raison», (...)
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  8. Guy Bennett‐Hunter (2015). Divine Ineffability. Philosophy Compass 10 (7):489-500.
    Though largely neglected by philosophers, the concept of ineffability is integral to the Christian mystical tradition, and has been part of almost every philosophical discussion of religious experience since the early twentieth century. After a brief introduction, this article surveys the most important discussions of divine ineffability, observing that the literature presents two mutually reinforcing obstacles to a coherent account of the concept, creating the impression that philosophical reflection on the subject had reached an impasse. The article goes on to (...)
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  9. Michael Bergmann & Jeffrey E. Brower (eds.) (2016). Reason and Faith: Themes From Swinburne. Oxford University Press Uk.
    The past fifty years have been an enormously fruitful period in the field of philosophy of religion, and few have done more to advance its development during this time than Richard Swinburne. His pioneering work has systematically developed a comprehensive set of positions within this field, and made major contributions to fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. This volume presents a collection of ten new essays in philosophy of religion that develop and critically engage themes from Swinburne's (...)
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  10. John Bishop (2009). Towards a Religiously Adequate Alternative to Omnigod Theism. Sophia 48 (4):419-433.
    Theistic religious believers should be concerned that the God they worship is not an idol. Conceptions of God thus need to be judged according to criteria of religious adequacy that are implicit in the ‘God-role’—that is, the way the concept of God properly functions in the conceptual economy and form of life of theistic believers. I argue that the conception of God as ‘omniGod’—an immaterial personal creator with the omni-properties—may reasonably be judged inadequate, at any rate from the perspective of (...)
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  11. David Blumenfeld (1978). On the Compossibility of the Divine Attributes. Philosophical Studies 34 (1):91 - 103.
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  12. Einar Duenger Bohn (2012). Anselmian Theism and Indefinitely Extensible Perfection. Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):671-683.
    The Anselmian Thesis is the thesis that God is that than which nothing greater can be thought. In this paper, I argue that such a notion of God is incoherent due to greatness being indefinitely extensible: roughly, for any great being that can be, there is another one that is greater, so there cannot be a being than which nothing greater can be. Someone will say that it is impossible to produce the best, because there is no perfect creature, and (...)
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  13. Bertrand Rippington Brasnett (1933). The Infinity of God. New York [Etc.]Longmans, Green and Co..
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  14. Paul Brazier (2008). Participating in God: Creation and Trinity. By Samuel M. Powellwhat God Knows: Time and the Question of Divine Knowledge. By Harry Lee Poe and J. Stanley Mattson (Editors)Paradox in Christian Theology. By James Anderson. [REVIEW] Heythrop Journal 49 (2):352–354.
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  15. A. Broadie (1999). Aquinas's Philosophical Theology. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 7 (2):353 – 358.
    Knowledge and Faith in Thomas Aquinas. John I. Jenkins. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997. pp. 267. 35.00 hb. ISBN 0-521-58126-5. The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas. Norman Kretzmann and Eleonore Stump. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993. pp. 302. 12.95 pb. ISBN 0-521-43769-5. The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas's Natural Theology in the Summa Contra Gentiles I. Norman Kretzmann. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997. pp. 302. 35.00 hb. ISBN 0-19-823660-3. Thomas Aquinas: God and Explanations. C. F. J. Martin. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1997. (...)
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  16. Elizabeth Burns (2015). Classical and Revisionary Theism on the Divine as Personal: A Rapprochement? International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (2):151-165.
    To claim that the divine is a person or personal is, according to Swinburne, ‘the most elementary claim of theism’. I argue that, whether the classical theist’s concept of the divine as a person or personal is construed as an analogy or a metaphor, or a combination of the two, analysis necessitates qualification of that concept such that any differences between the classical theist’s concept of the divine as a person or personal and revisionary interpretations of that concept are merely (...)
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  17. Elizabeth Burns (2009). Must Theists Believe in a Personal God? Think 8 (23):77-86.
    The claim that God is a person or personal is, perhaps, one of the most fundamental claims which religious believers make about God. In Hinduism, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are represented in person-like form. In the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament God walks in the Garden of Eden , experiences emotions , and converses with human beings . In the New Testament, God communicates with his people, usually by means of angels or visions , and retains the ability to speak audibly, as (...)
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  18. Steven M. Cahn & David Shatz (eds.) (1973). Questions About God: Today's Philosophers Ponder the Divine. Oxford University Press.
    From young children, with their guileless, searching questions, to the recently bereaved, trying to make sense of tragic loss, humans wrestle with our relationship to God--and with God's essence, motivations, and power--throughout our lives: Why does God permit catastrophe and senseless tragedy, again and again? Is God's power limited in any way? Can He change the past? Does He know the future? Why does God require prayer? Why does He not provide stronger evidence of His presence? Whom does God consign (...)
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  19. Hugh Chandler, Personal God or Something Greater.
    Alvin Plantinga says that according to classical Muslim, Jewish, and Christian belief, God is a person. (He spells out some of the characteristics of people as such.) In this rather messy little note I try to show that some of the best, most influential, Christian theologians, prior to the Reformation, did not think that God is literally a person (in Plantinga’s sense). In particular I focus on Anselm.
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  20. Hugh Chandler, Personal God or Something Greater.
    Alvin Plantinga says that according to classical Muslim, Jewish, and Christian belief, God is a person. (He spells out some of the characteristics of people as such.) In this rather messy little note I try to show that some of the best, most influential, Christian theologians, prior to the Reformation, did not think that God is literally a person (in Plantinga’s sense). In particular I focus on Anselm. -/- .
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  21. Hugh Chandler, Personal God or Something Greater.
    Alvin Plantinga says that according to classical Muslim, Jewish, and Christian belief, God is a person. (He spells out some of the characteristics of people as such.) In this rather messy little note I try to show that some of the best, most influential, Christian theologians, prior to the Reformation, did not think that God is literally a person (in Plantinga’s sense). In particular I focus on Anselm. -/- .
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  22. Andrew Chignell & Dean Zimmerman (2012). Review: Saving God From Saving God. [REVIEW] Books and Culture 15 (3).
    Mark Johnston’s book, Saving God (Princeton University Press, 2010) has two main goals, one negative and the other positive: (1) to eliminate the gods of the major Western monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as candidates for the role of “the Highest One”; (2) to introduce the real Highest One, a panentheistic deity worthy of devotion and capable of extending to us the grace needed to transform us from inwardly-turned sinners to practitioners of agape. In this review, we argue that Johnston’s (...)
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  23. Carol P. Christ (2003). She Who Changes: Re-Imagining the Divine in the World. Palgrave Macmillan.
    It was only recently that people began to refer to God, occasionally, as “she.” Is it now possible to re-imagine divine power as a female force deeply related to the changing world? If so, then we can understand the deeper meaning of female images of divine power including depictions such as “The Goddess.” Carol Christ offers a new look at these female images of God in She Who Changes . She shows how many traditional ideas about divine power reject the (...)
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  24. John J. Conley (1994). The Silence of Descartes. Philosophy and Theology 8 (3):199-212.
    Certain passages in the Meditations indicate a silence of Descartes before the mystery of God. These passages underscore the inadequacy of reason to penetrate God’s attributes. Descartes underlines the incomprehensibility of God’s infinity and God’s purposes. He evokes an intuitive knowledge of God which transcends the conceptual. Relevant passages in the correspondence of Descartes indicate Descartes’s repeated concern with the limits of philosophical theology and support a deconstruction of the Medítations which privileges its recurrent theologia negativa. Such an interpretation of (...)
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  25. Patrick J. Connolly (2015). Space Before God? A Problem in Newton's Metaphysics. Philosophy 90 (1):83-106.
    My goal in this paper is to elucidate a problematic feature of Newton's metaphysics of absolute space. Specifically, I argue that Newton's theory has the untenable consequence that God depends on space for His existence and is therefore not an independent entity. I argue for this conclusion in stages. First, I show that Newton believed that space was an entity and that God and space were ontologically distinct entities. Part of this involves arguing that Newton denies that space is a (...)
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  26. William Lane Craig, Pantheists in Spite of Themselves? God, Infinity, and Three Contemporary Theologians.
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  27. Mary-Ann Crumplin (2008). Descartes: God as the Idea of Infinity. International Journal of Systematic Theology 10 (1):3-20.
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  28. Joseph W. Dauben (1977). Georg Cantor and Pope Leo XIII: Mathematics, Theology, and the Infinite. Journal of the History of Ideas 38 (1):85-108.
  29. Brian Davies & Brian Leftow (eds.) (2006). Aquinas: Summa Theologiae, Questions on God. Cambridge University Press.
    Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest of the medieval philosophers. His Summa Theologiae is his most important contribution to Christian theology, and one of the main sources for his philosophy. This volume offers most of the Summa's first 26 questions, including all of those on the existence and nature of God. Based on the 1960 Blackfriars translation, this version has been extensively revised by Brian Davies and also includes an introduction by Brian Leftow which places the questions in their (...)
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  30. Su Dechao (2012). Is God an Aspect? Frontiers of Philosophy in China 7 (2):284-303.
    Neither logical deduction nor empirical induction is capable of mediating the dispute between religious disciples and non-disciples. The case is particularly acute when it comes to the divine Reality (God). Within Wittgenstein’s theoretical framework, some scholars start from the perspective of language games, contending that this dispute is meaningless and should be abandoned, while others are not satisfied with such a settlement and extend Wittgenstein’s aspect theory to religious issues, arguing that God is an aspect. The extension includes analogous and (...)
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  31. William Dembski, Transcendence (Entry for New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics).
    The word transcendence comes from the Latin and means literally to climb across or go beyond. To transcend is thus to surpass or excel or move beyond the reach or grasp of something. Sometimes the term is used epistemologically, as when something is beyond the reach of human knowledge. But in reference to the Christian doctrine of God, divine transcendence is used ontologically, and refers to God being beyond anything that is other than God. In Christian theology what’s other than (...)
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  32. Daniel A. Dombrowski (2007). Oppy, Infinity, and the Neoclassical Concept of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (1):25 - 37.
    In this article I concentrate on three issues. First, Graham Oppy’s treatment of the relationship between the concept of infinity and Zeno’s paradoxes lay bare several porblems that must be dealt with if the concept of infinity is to do any intellectual work in philosophy of religion. Here I will expand on some insightful remarks by Oppy in an effort ot adequately respond to these problems. Second, I will do the same regarding Oppy’s treatment of Kant’s first antinomy in the (...)
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  33. Andreas Dorschel (1986). Religion als 'Teilsystem'? Zu Niklas Luhmanns 'Die Unterscheidung Gottes'. Österreichische Zeitschrift Für Soziologie 11 (3):12-18.
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  34. Theodore M. Drange (2005). Is “God Exists” Cognitive? Philo 8 (2):137-150.
    The title question is approached by distinguishing two senses of “God” and two senses of “cognitive” (or “cognitively meaningful”), producing four separate questions. Each is given an affirmative or negative answer, which is defended against possible objections. At the end, the debate between atheism and theological non-cognitivism is addressed, with the atheist side argued to have the preferable outlook.
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  35. H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr (2006). Critical Reflections on Theology's Handmaid. Philosophy and Theology 18 (1):53-75.
    Orthodox Christian theology gives philosophy the same role it played in the Church of the first half-millennium. This article distinguishes among nine senses of philosophy and four senses of theology in order to highlight the characteristic features of Orthodox Christian theology’s use of philosophy and philosophical reasoning. It shows why, given the metaphysics and epistemology of Orthodox Christian theology (e.g., God is recognized as fully transcendent, such thatthere is no analogia entis between created and Uncreated Being, with the result that (...)
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  36. Nicholas Everitt (2010). The Divine Attributes. Philosophy Compass 5 (1):78-90.
    Focusing on God's essential attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, being eternal and omnipresent, being a creator and sustainer, and being a person, I examine how far recent discussion has been able to provide for each of these divine attributes a consistent interpretation. I also consider briefly whether the attributes are compatible with each other.
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  37. Nicholas Everitt (1997). Quasi-Berkeleyan Idealism as Perspicuous Theism. Faith and Philosophy 14 (3):353-377.
    In this paper, I argue that the kind of idealism defended by Berkeley is a natural and almost unavoidable expression of his theism. Two main arguments are deployed, both starting from a theistic premise and having an idealist conclusion. The first likens the dependence of the physical world on the will of God to the dependence of mental states on a mind. The second likens divine omniscience to the kind of knowledge which it has often been supposed we have of (...)
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  38. Alfred Freddoso (1988). Medieval Aristotelianism and the Case Against Secondary Causation in Nature. In Thomas V. Morris (ed.), Divine and Human Action: Essays in the Metaphysics of Theism. Cornell Up 74-118.
    Central to the western theistic understanding of divine providence is the conviction that God is the sovereign Lord of nature. He created the physical universe and continually conserves it in existence. What's more, He is always and everywhere active in it by His power. The operations of nature, be they minute or catastrophic, commonplace or unprecedented, are the work of His hands, and without His constant causal influence none of them would or could occur.
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  39. Robert S. Gall (2007). An Environment Friendly God: Response to Nancy Hudson's “Divine Immanence”. [REVIEW] Philosophia 35 (3-4):357-360.
    This paper is a response to Professor Nancy Hudson’s paper “Divine Immanence: Nicholas of Cusa’s Understanding of Theophany and the Retrieval of a ‘New’ Model of God,” (Nancy Hudson, “Divine Immanence: Nicholas of Cusa’s Understanding of Theophany and the Retrieval of a ‘New’ Model of God,” Journal of Theological Studies 56.2 (October 2005): 450–470). Hudson claims that an ecologically promising vision of nature and an environmentally friendly God lies undiscovered withing the mystical theology of Nicholas of Cusa. However, this paper (...)
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  40. Stephen Jay Gould, Nonmoral Nature.
    hen the Right Honorable and Reverend Francis Henry, earl of Bridgewater, died in February, 1829, he left £8,000 to support a series of books "on the power, wisdom and goodness of God, as manifested in the creation." William Buckland, England's first official academic geologist and later dean of Westminster, was invited to compose one of the nine Bridgewater Treatises. In it he discussed the most pressing problem of natural theology: if God is benevolent and the creation displays his "power, wisdom (...)
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  41. Ghislain Guigon (2009). Bringing About and Conjunction: A Reply to Bigelow on Omnificence. Analysis 69 (3):452-458.
    Church and Fitch have argued that from the verificationationist thesis “for every proposition, if this proposition is true, then it is possible to know it” we can derive that for every truth there is someone who knows that truth. Moreover, Humberstone has shown that from the latter proposition we can derive that someone knows every truth, hence that there is an omniscient being. In his article “Omnificence”, John Bigelow adapted these arguments in order to argue that from the assumption "every (...)
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  42. Gary Gutting (1980). Is Ross's God the God of Religion? Journal of Philosophy 77 (10):630.
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  43. Paul Helm (1990). The Nature of God: An Inquiry Into Divine Attributes. Philosophical Books 31 (2):125-127.
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  44. Daniel J. Hill (2005). Divinity and Maximal Greatness. Psychology Press.
    This book in the analytic philosophy of religion examines divine nature in terms of maximal greatness.
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  45. Joshua Hoffman & Gary Rosenkrantz (2002). The Divine Attributes. Blackwell.
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  46. Christoph Jäger (ed.) (1998). Analytische Religionsphilosophie. UTB.
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  47. Greg Janzen (2013). Consciousness and the Nonexistence of God. Journal of Philosophical Research 38:1-25.
    According to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic theological tradition, or "classical theism," disembodiment (or non-physicality) and psychologicality are two of God’s necessary or essential attributes. This paper mounts a case for the thesis that these attributes are incompatible. More exactly, it provides compelling evidentiary support for the claim that, given the basic structure of consciousness, it is impossible for a psychological being to be disembodied (and vice versa). But if it is impossible for a psychological being to be disembodied (and vice versa), then, (...)
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  48. Rodger F. Jones, The Physical Dimension of God's Voice.
    There is evidence to suggest that God occasionally communicates directly with humanity and that His voice is “heard”. (1 Samuel Chapter 3) This paper addresses the nature of this communication and whether this act by God is scientifically discernable and mechanistic. In communicating with human beings how does God transcend the Divine/human boundary?
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  49. Anthony Kenny (1979). The God of the Philosophers. Oxford University Press.
    Based on the Wilde Lectures in Natural Religion given by Anthony Kenny at Oxford from 1970 to 1972, here revised in light of recent discussion and reflection, this provocative book examines some of the principal attributes traditionally ascribed to God in western theism, particularly omniscience and omnipotence. From his discussion of a number of related topics, including a comprehensive treatment of the problem of the relations between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, Kenny concludes that there can be no such being (...)
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  50. Klaas J. Kraay (2007). Divine Unsurpassability. Philosophia 35 (3-4):293-300.
    One historically significant model of God holds that God is a perfect being. Analytic philosophers of religion have typically understood this to mean that God is essentially unsurpassable in power, knowledge, goodness, and wisdom. Recently, however, several philosophers have argued that this is inconsistent with another common theistic position: the view that for any world that God can create, there is a better world that God could have created instead. The argument runs (roughly) as follows: if, no matter which world (...)
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