The Power of God

Sophia 49 (4):603-616 (2010)
Much contemporary analytic philosophy understands the power of God as belonging to the same logical space as the power of human beings: a power of efficient causation taken to the maximum limit. This anthropomorphic picture is often explicated in terms of God’s capacity to bring about any logically possible state of affairs, so-called omnipotence. D.Z. Phillips criticized this position in his last book, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God. I defend Phillips’s argument against recent criticism by William Hasker, contending that the omnipotence thesis is either false or trivial. I trace the superficial plausibility of the thesis to a Cartesian understanding of personal agency, in the light of which God’s power over the whole material world is an inflated version of our more modest power over our own bodies: it is the power of immaterial souls to control material phenomena. This comparison is expressed to perfection in the work of Richard Swinburne, my main target. I argue that by making God a force among other possible forces, in-principle able to be resisted, however feebly, by contrary forces, this picture reduces the Creator to a creature
Keywords Omnipotence  Anthropomorphism  Logical possibility  Phillips  Swinburne  Hasker
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    References found in this work BETA
    William Hasker (2007). D. Z. Phillips' Problems with Evil and with God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (3):151 - 160.
    Joshua Hoffman & Gary Rosenkrantz, Omnipotence. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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    Citations of this work BETA
    Andrew Gleeson (2012). God and Evil: A View From Swansea. Philosophical Investigations 35 (3-4):331-349.
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