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Summary The tradition of Western philosophical theology has associated with God certain principal attributes including omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection. Each of these attributes raises a variety of problems which must be addressed if a philosophically robust version of theism is to be developed.
Key works Perhaps the most influential treatment of the divine attributes is to be found in Aquinas 1274. More recent systematic treatments of the divine attributes include Ross 1969, Mann 1975, Swinburne 1993, Kenny 1979, and Wierenga 1989.
Introductions Relevant selections from Aquinas, in a translation suitable for students, can be found in Davies & Leftow 2006. Morley 2002 provides an encyclopedia treatment of the divine attributes. A book-length introduction is provided by Morris 1991.
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Subcategories:History/traditions: Divine Attributes
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  1. Robert Merrihew Adams (1987). The Virtue of Faith and Other Essays in Philosophical Theology. Oxford University Press.
    Robert Merrihew Adams has been a leader in renewing philosophical respect for the idea that moral obligation may be founded on the commands of God. This collection of Adams' essays, two of which are previously unpublished, draws from his extensive writings on philosophical theology that discuss metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical issues surrounding the concept of God--whether God exists or not, what God is or would be like, and how we ought to relate ourselves to such a being. Adams studies the (...)
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  2. John Robert Baker (1972). Omniscience and Divine Synchronization. Process Studies 2 (3):201-208.
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  3. Boethius (2000). Omniscience and Human Freedom: A Classic Discussion. In Brian Davies (ed.), Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology. Oup Oxford.
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  4. Raymond D. Bradley (2015). Can God Condemn One to an Afterlife in Hell? In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield. 441-471.
    This paper argues that God is not logically able to condemn a person to Hell by considering what is entailed by accepting the best argument to the contrary, the so-called free will defense expounded by Christian apologists Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig. It argues that the free will defense is logically fallacious, involves a philosophical fiction, and is based on a fraudulent account of Scripture, concluding that the problem of postmortem evil puts would-be believers in a logical and moral (...)
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  5. David Burrell (1990). Divine Practical Knowing: How an Eternal God Acts in Time. In B. Hebblethwaite & E. Henderson (eds.), Divine Action. T Clark. 93--102.
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  6. Nico den Bok (1993). Human and Divine Freedom in Bernardus of Clairvaux. Bijdragen 54 (3):271-295.
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  7. Joseph Diekemper (2013). Eternity, Knowledge, and Freedom. Religious Studies 49 (1):45-64.
    This article addresses the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom by developing a modified version of Boethius' solution to the problem – one that is meant to cohere with a dynamic theory of time and a conception of God as temporal. I begin the article by discussing the traditional Boethian solution, and a defence of it due to Kretzmann and Stump. After canvassing a few of the objections to this view, I then go on to offer my own modified (...)
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  8. Daniel A. Dombrowski (2008). Objective Morality and Perfect Being Theology: Three Views. American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 29 (2):205 - 221.
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  9. George Englebretsen (1979). The Powers and Capacities of God. Sophia 18 (1):29-31.
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  10. William Hasker (2009). Does God Change? In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy of Religion: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.
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  11. Tomis Kapitan (1991). Agency and Omniscience. Religious Studies 27 (1):105-120.
    It is said that faith in a divine agent is partly an attitude of trust; believers typically find assurance in the conception of a divine being's will, and cherish confidence in its capacity to implement its intentions and plans. Yet, there would be little point in trusting in the will of any being without assuming its ability to both act and know, and perhaps it is only by assuming divine omniscience that one can retain the confidence in the efficacy and (...)
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  12. E. J. Khamara (1974). Eternity and Omniscience. Philosophical Quarterly 24 (96):204-219.
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  13. W. L. M. (1962). Divine Perfection. Review of Metaphysics 15 (4):680-680.
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  14. Murray MacBeath & Paul Helm (1989). Omniscience and Eternity. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 63:55 - 87.
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  15. Scott MacDonald (2001). The Divine Nature. In Eleonore Stump & Norman Kretzmann (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. Cambridge University Press. 71--90.
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  16. Wallace I. Matson (1968). An Introduction to Omniscience. Analysis 29 (1):8 - 12.
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  17. Timothy B. Noone (1994). William of Ockham and the Divine Freedom. Review of Metaphysics 48 (1):142-144.
  18. Marek Pepliński (2012). Od redakcji. O wiedzy Boga, Jego wszechmocy i ludzkiej wolności. Filo-Sofija 12 (19).
    Marek Pepliński Editorial. On God’s Knowledge, Omnipotence, and Human FreedomAncient and mediaeval encounters between religious monotheistic faith and philosophical reason brings philosophers and theologians to task how to add up facts perceived from philosophical, natural and religious perspectives. There are several important points in which reason and faith seems to be in disagreement. One of them is the group of problems connected to the topics of coherence of divine attributes, particularly omniscience, foreknowledge and omnipotence, on the one hand, and the (...)
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  19. Paolo Ponzio (2008). Divine Will and Human Freedom. Tomism and Molinism in the Theology of Tommaso Campanella. Rinascimento 48:481-491.
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  20. Wayne Proudfoot (1993). Inquiry and the Language of the Divine. American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 14 (3):247 - 255.
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  21. A. R. (1962). Divine Perfection. Review of Metaphysics 16 (2):399-399.
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  22. Nicholas Rescher (2009). Seizing Power From the Divine. The Philosophers' Magazine 44 (44):74-75.
    To Kant’s mind, all of the tasks that Western philosophical thought has traditionally assigned to the deity as institutor of a rational world-order do indeed need to be accomplished, but humanity – we mere mortals – are up to the task. What we have here is a philosophy not so much of enlightenment as of enormous hubris.
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  23. Katherin A. Rogers (1996). Omniscience, Eternity, and Freedom. International Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):399-412.
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  24. Michael Rota (2012). Freedom and the Necessity of the Present. Faith and Philosophy 29 (4):451-465.
    In a recent paper, William Hasker has responded to a paper of mine criticizing his argument for theological incompatibilism. In his response, Hasker makes a small but important amendment to his account of freedom. Here I argue that Hasker’s amended account of freedom is false, that there is a plausible alternative account of freedom, and that the plausibility of this alternative account shows that Hasker’s argument for theological incompatibilism relies on a dubious premise.
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  25. D. S. (1956). The Quest of the Divine. Review of Metaphysics 10 (2):369-370.
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  26. Keith Simmons (1993). On an Argument Against Omniscience. Noûs 27 (1):22-33.
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  27. Chris Tweedt (2013). Splitting the Horns of Euthyphro's Modal Relative. Faith and Philosophy 30 (2):205-212.
    There is a modal relative of Euthyphro’s dilemma that goes like this: are necessary truths true because God affirms them, or does God affirm them because they’re true? If you accept the first horn, necessary truths are as contingent as God’s free will. If you accept the second, God is less ultimate than the modal ontology that establishes certain truths as necessary. If you try to split the horns by affirming that necessary truths are somehow grounded in God’s nature, Brian (...)
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  28. Donald Wayne Viney (2001). Is the Divine Shorn of Its Heart? Responding to Simoni-Wastila. American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 22 (2):155 - 172.
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  29. Paul Weingartner (2008). Omniscience: From a Logical Point of View. Ontos.
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Divine Eternity
  1. Andrei Buckareff, The Ontology of Action and Divine Agency (Do Not Cite Without Permission).
    The concept of divine agency is central to the narrative traditions inherited by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The scriptures of the Abrahamic religions include repeated references to the intentional actions and intentional outcomes of the actions of God. For instance, in the “Song of Moses” (Exodus 15:1-18), Moses celebrates the freedom of the Hebrews from bondage, declaring that Yahweh is “awesome in splendor, doing wonders” (5:11 NRSV). Alongside the picture of God as an agent who performs actions is a conception (...)
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  2. James M. Byrne (2009). Theological Methodology, Classical Theism, and "Lived Time" in Antje Jackelén's Time and Eternity. Zygon 44 (4):951-964.
    Antje Jackelén's Time and Eternity successfully employs the method of correlation and a close study of the question of time to enter the dialogue between science and theology. Hermeneutical attention to language is a central element of this dialogue, but we must be aware that much science is untranslatable into ordinary language; it is when we get to the bigger metaphysical assumptions of science that true dialogue begins to happen. Thus, although the method of correlation is a useful way to (...)
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  3. William L. Craig (1996). Timelessness and Creation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):646 – 656.
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  4. William Lane Craig (2000). Omniscience, Tensed Facts and Divine Eternity. Faith and Philosophy 17 (2):227--228.
    A difficulty for a view of divine eternity as timelessness is that if time is tensed, then God, in virtue of His omniscience, must know tensed facts. But tensed facts, such as It is now t, can only be known by a temporally located being.Defenders of divine atemporality may attempt to escape the force of this argument by contending either that a timeless being can know tensed facts or else that ignorance of tensed facts is compatible with divine omniscience. Kvanvig, (...)
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  5. William Lane Craig (2000). Timelessness and Omnitemporality. Philosophia Christi 2:33.
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  6. William Lane Craig (1998). Divine Timelessness and Personhood. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 43 (2):109-124.
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  7. William Lane Craig (1998). On the Alleged Metaphysical Superiority of Timelessness. Sophia 37 (1):1-9.
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  8. William Lane Craig (1997). Divine Timelessness and Necessary Existence. International Philosophical Quarterly 37:217-224.
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  9. William Lane Craig (1997). On the Argument for Divine Timelessness From the Incompleteness of Temporal Life. Heythrop Journal 38 (2):165–171.
    A promising argument for divine timelessness is that temporal life is possessed only moment by moment, which is incompatible with the existence of a perfect being.Since the argument is based on the experience of time’s passage, it cannot be circumvented by appeal to a tenseless theory of time.Neither can the argument be subverted by appeals to a temporal deity’s possession of a specious present of infinite duration.Nonetheless, because the argument concerns one’s experience of time’s passage rather than the objective reality (...)
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  10. William Lane Craig (1997). Talbot School of Theology Divine Timelessness and Necessary Existence. International Philosophical Quarterly 37 (2):217-224.
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  11. Garrett J. DeWeese (2007). God and the Nature of Time. Philosophical Explorations 7:1566-5399.
    The past six decades have seen rising interest in the philosophy of time, driven in large measure by the metaphysical implications of the physical theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. Philosophical theology has only recently begun serious interaction with contemporary metaphysics of time. In particular, the issue of God's temporal mode of being has come under investigation In Part 1, I begin with the metaphysics of time, explicating and defending a causal account of dynamic time. I then consider objections that (...)
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  12. Douglas K. Erlandson (1978). Timelessness, Immutability, and Eschatology. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (3):129 - 145.
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  13. Thomas P. Flint (1990). Hasker's God, Time, and Knowledge. Philosophical Studies 60 (1-2):103 - 115.
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  14. Gregory Ganssle (1993). Atemporality and the Mode of Divine Knowledge. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 34 (3):171 - 180.
    In this project, I explore and defend William Alston's claim that God does not have beliefs. Rather, He knows what He knows by direct intuition of facts. This direct intuition is absolute immediate awareness. It is immediate in that God knows what He knows without the mediation of other objects of knowledge. It is absolute in that His knowledge is not mediated by any other factors such as causal links between the object of knowledge and God's consciousness of it. ;My (...)
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  15. Gregory E. Ganssle, God and Time. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
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  16. Benedikt Paul Göcke (2012). Panentheism and Classical Theism. Sophia - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysical Theology and Ethics 52 (1):61-75.
    Panentheism seems to be an attractive alternative to classical theism. It is not clear, though, what exactly panentheism asserts and how it relates to classical theism. By way of clarifying the thesis of panentheism, I argue that panentheism and classical theism differ only as regards the modal status of the world. According to panentheism, the world is an intrinsic property of God – necessarily there is a world – and according to classical theism the world is an extrinsic property of (...)
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  17. Benedikt Paul Göcke, Matthias Hoesch & Peter Rohs (2008). How to Heckle Swinburne on God and Time. In Nicola Mößner, Sebastian Schmoranzer & Christian Weidemann (eds.), Richard Swinburne. Christian Philosophy in a Modern World. ontos.
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  18. William Hasker (1989). God, Time and Knowledge. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
    ... or engenders a tradition of philosophical reflection, questions will arise about the relation between divine knowledge and power and human freedom. ...
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  19. Paul Helm (2010). Eternal God: A Study of God Without Time. Oup Oxford.
    Paul Helm presents a new, expanded edition of his much praised 1988 book Eternal God , which defends the view that God exists in timeless eternity. Helm argues that divine timelessness is grounded in the idea of God as creator, and that this alone makes possible a proper account of divine omniscience.
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  20. Paul Helm (1975). Timelessness and Foreknowledge. Mind 84 (336):516-527.
  21. John Hick (1971). God and Timelessness. Philosophical Books 12 (1):19-21.
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