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Summary While differing accounts of the nature of human freedom have received considerable attention, many of the same debates apply to how to understand God's free will as well. Central in this respect are concerns regarding the relationship of God's choices to his moral character and other divine attributes. For example, how should we understand the relationship between God's purported essential goodness and his freedom? 
Key works The majority of philosophers of religion are incompatibilists, holding that free will is incompatible with determinism. But many of these same philosophers also endorse perfect being theology, which raises an apparent tension between God's essential moral goodness and his freedom. Some take this to be a major problem for such views; see Morriston 1985. Particular attention is often given to God's choice in creating, a discussion largely influence by Rowe 2002. For an overview of many of the relevant issues, as well as the relationship between divine freedom and human free will, see Timpe 2013, particularly the last chapter.
Introductions Flint 1983, Mawson 2005, Morriston 1985, Timpe 2012, O'connor 2005
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1 — 50 / 61
  1. added 2020-03-25
    Moral Responsibility in a Maximally Great Being.Stephen Kershnar - 2004 - Philo 7 (1):97-113.
    If God is essentially all-good, then he is not morally responsible. If God is maximally great, then he is essentially both omnipotent and omniscient and these latter properties ensure that he is essentially all-good. From essential all-goodness, it follows that he does not have the power to choose evil. This in turn results in his lacking the power to do evil and thus his not being responsible for avoiding it. This conclusion is not defeated by objections that differ based on (...)
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  2. added 2020-01-03
    God's Nature and Attributes.Ide Lévi & Alejandro Pérez - 2019 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 3 (2).
  3. added 2019-08-27
    Evil and Agent-Causal Theism.Richard Brian Davis - 2019 - In W. Paul Franks (ed.), Explaining Evil: Four Views. New York, NY, USA: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 11-28.
    In this chapter, I attempt to show that evil exists only if what I call Agent Causal Theism (ACT) is true. According to ACT, human beings are immaterial, conscious agents endued (by God) with a power of self-motion: the power to think, decide, and act for ends in light of reasons, but without being externally caused to do so (even by God himself). By contrast, I argue that there is no space for evil in the worldviews of naturalistic Darwinism or (...)
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  4. added 2019-08-09
    Creation and the Sovereignty of God.Hugh J. McCann - 2012 - Indiana University Press.
    Creation and the Sovereignty of God brings fresh insight to a defense of God.
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  5. added 2019-06-12
    Rowe, William L.: Can God Be Free? Oxford: Clarendon Press 2004. 173 S., ISBN 0-19-825045-2. [REVIEW]Jörg Disse - 2005 - Theologie Und Philosophie 80 (2):266-268.
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    Omnipotence and the Power to Choose: A Reply to Wielenberg.Wes Morriston - 2002 - Faith and Philosophy 19 (3):358-367.
  7. added 2019-05-31
    Tomás de Vío, Cayetano. Sobre la providencia y el hado.David Torrijos-Castrillejo - 2018 - Revista Española de Teología 78:459-500.
    Spanish translation of Cajetan’s commentary on quaestiones 22 and 116 of the first part of the 'Summa'. The translator precedes the text of Cajetan with a broad introduction in which he compares the views of the author with the interpretation of the same problems by Báñez in the context of the 'De Auxiliis' controversy. According to the translator, Báñez would have been more faithful to the thought of Saint Thomas than Cajetan. However, the core of the contribution of this great (...)
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  8. added 2019-02-10
    Best Feasible Worlds: Divine Freedom and Leibniz’s Lapse.Justin Mooney - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77 (3):219-229.
    William L. Rowe’s argument against divine freedom has drawn considerable attention from theist philosophers. One reply to Rowe’s argument that has emerged in the recent literature appeals to modified accounts of libertarian freedom which have the result that God may be free even if he necessarily actualizes the best possible world. Though in many ways attractive, this approach appears to lead to the damning consequence of modal collapse i.e., that the actual world is the only possible world. But appearances can (...)
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  9. added 2018-02-15
    La noción de providencia según San Justino.David Torrijos-Castrillejo - 2018 - In Juan Antonio Álvarez-Pedrosa, Mercedes López Salvá, Nuria Sánchez Madrid & Ignacio Sanz Extremeño (eds.), Los orígenes del cristianismo en la filosofía, la literatura y el arte II. Madrid: Dykinson. pp. 271-290.
    This article examines the notion of providence in the thought of St Justin martyr. First, it is shown the relevance of the question for St Justin, since it was an important topic in his time. Secondly, the comparison to the philosophical context provides a more complete view of St Justin’s position. Thirdly, the notion of providence is considered in the whole of St Justins’ thought. So, the author can conclude that Christian philosophy requires a particular providence which nevertheless allows human (...)
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  10. added 2018-02-15
    Alexander of Aphrodisias on Fate, Providence and Nature.David Torrijos-Castrillejo - 2017 - Forum. Supplement to Acta Philosophica 3:7-18.
    To study the influence of divinity on cosmos, Alexander uses the notions of ‘fate’ and ‘providence,’ which were common in the philosophy of his time. In this way, he provides an Aristotelian interpretation of the problems related to such concepts. In the context of this discussion, he offers a description of ‘nature’ different from the one that he usually regards as the standard Aristotelian notion of nature, i.e. the intrinsic principle of motion and rest. The new coined concept is a (...)
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  11. added 2018-01-25
    Why the Perfect Being Theologian Cannot Endorse the Principle of Alternative Possibilities.Samuel Director - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (4):113-131.
    I argue that perfect being theologians cannot endorse the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. On perfect being theology, God is essentially morally perfect, meaning that He always acts in a morally perfect manner. I argue that it is possible that God is faced with a situation in which there is only one morally perfect action, which He must do. If this is true, then God acts without alternative possibilities in this situation. Yet, unless one says that this choice is not free, (...)
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  12. added 2017-11-08
    Why Christians Should Not Be Kaneans About Freedom.Michael D. Bertrand & Jack Mulder - 2017 - Philosophia Christi 19 (2):315 - 329.
    Abstract: In this paper we argue that Robert Kane’s theory of free will cannot accommodate the possibility of a sinless individual who faces morally significant choices because a sinless agent cannot voluntarily accord value to an immoral desire, and we argue that Kane’s theory requires this. Since the Jesus of the historic Christian tradition is held to be sinless, we think Christians should reject Kane’s theory because it seems irreconcilable with historic Christian Christology. We consider two objections to our argument (...)
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  13. added 2017-11-07
    Hugh J. McCann, Creation and the Sovereignty of God. [REVIEW]Garrett Pendergraft - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 12.
  14. added 2017-10-17
    Hugh J. McCann (Ed.), Free Will and Classical Theism: The Significance of Freedom in Perfect Being Theology. [REVIEW]Garrett Pendergraft - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 16.
    This volume collects a set of papers that were presented at a conference on “Big Questions in Free Will,” held at the University of Saint Thomas in October of 2014. It is dedicated to its editor, who passed away shortly after completing the manuscript. I will briefly summarize each of the 11 chapters and then offer a few critical comments.
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  15. added 2017-09-25
    Eternal Immolation: Could a Trinitarian Coordinating-Concept for Theistic Metaphysics Solve the Problems of Theodicy?Damiano Migliorini - 2017 - International Journalof Philosophy and Theology 5 (1).
    The author contextualizes the Problem of Evil in Open Theism system, listing its main theses, primarily the logicof- love-defense (and free-will-defense) connected to Trinitarian speculation. After evaluating the discussion in Analytic Philosophy of Religion, the focus is on the personal mystery of evil, claiming that, because of mystery and vagueness, the Problem of Evil is undecidable. Recalling other schools of thought (Pareyson: ontology of freedom; Moltmann: Dialectical theology; Kenotic theology; Original Sin hermeneutics), the author tries to grasp their common insights. (...)
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  16. added 2017-07-20
    Teilhabe und Gottes Freiheit : Zum Freiheitsverständnis in Hans Urs von Balthasars Theodramatik.Jörg Disse - 2009 - In Edith Düsing, Werner Neuer & Hans-Dieter Klein (eds.), Geist und Heiliger Geist: Philosophische und theologische Modelle von Paulus und Johannes bis Barth und Balthasar. Königshausen & Neumann. pp. 351-370.
    Analyses Balthasar's idea of human freedom as a participation to Divine Freedom.
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  17. added 2017-06-05
    Divine Freedom and Contingency: An Intelligibility Problem for Theistic Compatibilists.Justin J. Daeley - 2015 - Religious Studies 51 (4):563-582.
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  18. added 2017-06-05
    Divine Nature and Divine Will.Hugh J. McCann - 2013 - Sophia 52 (1):77-94.
    This paper examines the relationship between God and those universals that characterize his nature. It is argued that God has sovereignty over his nature, even though he is not self-creating, and does not give rise to the universals that characterize his nature by any act of intellection. Rather, God is himself an act of rational willing in which all that is has its existence. Because the act that is God is one of free will, he has sovereignty over the features (...)
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  19. added 2017-06-05
    Divine and Human Action: Essays in the Metaphysics of Theism.Thomas V. Morris (ed.) - 1988 - Cornell University Press.
  20. added 2017-02-12
    (Re‐)Forming Freedom: Reflections “After Veritatis Splendor” on Freedom's Fate in Modernity and Protestantism's Antinomian Captivity.Reinhard Hütter - 2001 - Modern Theology 17 (2):117-161.
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  21. added 2017-02-02
    Freedom, Receptivity, and God.James L. Marsh - 1975 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (4):219 - 233.
    The practical question about God's relation to human freedom isthe issue between Nietzsche and Sartre, on the one hand, and Marcel,on the other. God is compatible with human freedom, for Marcel,because He is conceived as an absolute “Thou,” not an objectivecause, and because human freedom is essentially disposability, openand receptive to the other. God is relevant to human freedom becauseHe is more intimate to me than I am to myself, because He can re-veal to me possibilities about myself and the (...)
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  22. added 2017-01-25
    Possibilites for Divine Freedom.Simon Kittle - 2016 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 64 (4):93-123.
    I examine three accounts of divine freedom. I argue that two recent accounts which attempt to explain God’s freedom without appealing to alternative possibilities fail. I then show how a view of divine freedom based on Robert Adams’s idea that God’s grace means he has no obligation to create the best world is able to explain how God can be free while also being perfectly good and perfectly rational.
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  23. added 2016-12-08
    Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency.Timothy O'Connor - 2008 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    An expansive, yet succinct, analysis of the Philosophy of Religion – from metaphysics through theology. Organized into two sections, the text first examines truths concerning what is possible and what is necessary. These chapters lay the foundation for the book’s second part – the search for a metaphysical framework that permits the possibility of an ultimate explanation that is correct and complete. A cutting-edge scholarly work which engages with the traditional metaphysician’s quest for a true ultimate explanation of the most (...)
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  24. added 2016-11-04
    Aquinas and the Problem of No Best World.B. Kyle Keltz - 2017 - New Blackfriars 98 (1075):503-519.
    Thomas Aquinas is often mentioned in the debate regarding best possible worlds. Some philosophers believe Aquinas’ writings entail that God must create a best possible world while most think he rejects the notion. Additionally, it is thought that Aquinas’ position falls prey to the problem of no best world. However, a closer examination of Aquinas’ metaphysical views shows that he has been misunderstood in the current debate. In this essay, I first examine some contemporary views regarding Aquinas’ thought on best (...)
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  25. added 2016-06-10
    Prostota (Boga - Simplicity of God).Marek Pepliński - 2016 - In Janusz Salamon (ed.), Przewodnik po filozofii religii. Nurt analityczny, Kraków 2016. Wydawnictwo WAM. pp. 87-107.
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  26. added 2016-05-16
    Counterfactuals of Divine Freedom.Yishai Cohen - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (3):185-205.
    Contrary to the commonly held position of Luis de Molina, Thomas Flint and others, I argue that counterfactuals of divine freedom are pre-volitional for God within the Molinist framework. That is, CDFs are not true even partly in virtue of some act of God’s will. As a result, I argue that the Molinist God fails to satisfy an epistemic openness requirement for rational deliberation, and thus she cannot rationally deliberate about which world to actualize.
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  27. added 2016-03-20
    The All-Powerful, Perfectly Good, and Free God.T. Ryan Byerly - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 8:16-46.
  28. added 2015-04-20
    Omniscience, Eternity, and Freedom.Katherin A. Rogers - 1996 - International Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):399-412.
  29. added 2015-04-20
    William of Ockham and the Divine Freedom.Timothy B. Noone - 1994 - Review of Metaphysics 48 (1):142-144.
    In this slim volume, Klocker intends to offer a different and more sympathetic reading of Ockham's philosophical and theological ideas than that afforded by what Klocker terms the "traditional view." According to the latter view, chiefly found in the writings of Etienne Gilson and Anton Pegis, Ockham's thought is fundamentally skeptical, a medieval precursor of the philosophical skepticism of Hume in the eighteenth century. Klocker proposes instead to present Ockham's thought as inspired by the condemnations of 1270 and 1277 and (...)
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  30. added 2015-04-20
    Human and Divine Freedom in Bernardus of Clairvaux.Nico den Bok - 1993 - Bijdragen 54 (3):271-295.
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  31. added 2014-07-16
    On the Value of Freedom To Do Evil.Joshua Rasmussen - 2013 - Faith and Philosophy 30 (4):418-428.
    Theists typically think the freedom to choose between right and wrong is a great good . Yet, they also typically think that the very best being—God—and inhabitants of the very best place—heaven—lack this kind of freedom. The question arises: if freedom to choose evil is so good, then why is it absent from the best being and the best place? I discuss articulations of this question in the literature and point out drawbacks of answers that have been proposed. I then (...)
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  32. added 2014-03-30
    The Puzzle of Prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2008 - In Yujin Nagasawa & Erik J. Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    in eds. Yujin Nagasawa and Erik Wielenberg, New Waves in Philosophy of Religion (Palgrave MacMillan 2008).
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  33. added 2014-03-26
    Divine Freedom and the Problem of Evil.Theodore Guleserian - 2000 - Faith and Philosophy 17 (3):348-366.
    The traditional theistic philosopher is committed to hold that God has a perfect will essentially, and that this is better than having a free will. It will be argued that God, being omnipotent, would have the power to create creatures who also have a perfect will essentially. This creates a problem for the traditional theist in solving the problem of moral evil. The problem of actual moral evil will not then be solvable by reference to the value of our moral (...)
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  34. added 2014-03-18
    Divine Responsibility Without Divine Freedom.Michael Bergmann & J. A. Cover - 2006 - Faith and Philosophy 23 (4):381-408.
    Adherents of traditional western Theism have espoused CONJUNCTION: God is essentially perfectly good and God is thankworthy for the good acts he performs . But suppose that (i) God’s essential perfect goodness prevents his good acts from being free, and that (ii) God is not thankworthy for an act that wasn’t freely performed.
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  35. added 2014-03-18
    Determined but Free.Coleen P. Zoller - 2004 - Philosophy and Theology 16 (1):25-44.
    This paper shows that Thomas Aquinas has a compatibilist position on the freedom of the will, where compatibilism is understood as the doctrine that determinism does not preclude freedom. Thomas’s position concerning free will is compatibilist regarding both the divine and human wills. Thomas pioneers the idea that human freedom is an image of divine freedom. It is on account of the notion that god is the exemplar toward which human beings proceed that it is much easier to understand why, (...)
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  36. added 2014-03-16
    Aquinas, Divine Simplicity and Divine Freedom.Brian Leftow - 2009 - In Kevin Timpe & Eleonore Stump (eds.), Metaphysics and God: Essays in Honor of Eleonore Stump. Routledge.
  37. added 2014-03-15
    Perfect Goodness and Divine Freedom.Edward Wierenga - 2007 - Philosophical Books 48 (3):207-216.
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  38. added 2014-03-14
    Infimus Gradus Libertatis? Descartes on Indifference and Divine Freedom.Dan Kaufman - 2003 - Religious Studies 39 (4):391-406.
    Descartes held the doctrine that the eternal truths are freely created by God. He seems to have thought that a proper understanding of God's freedom entails such a doctrine concerning the eternal truths. In this paper, I examine Descartes' account of divine freedom. I argue that Descartes' statements about indifference, namely that indifference is the lowest grade of freedom and that indifference is the essence of God's freedom are not incompatible. I also show how Descartes arrived at his doctrine of (...)
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  39. added 2014-03-12
    A Morally Unsurpassable God Must Create the Best.Erik J. Wielenberg - 2004 - Religious Studies 40 (1):43-62.
    I present a novel argument for the position that a morally unsurpassable God must create the best world that He has the power to create. I show that grace-based considerations of the sort proposed by Robert Adams neither refute my argument nor establish that a morally unsurpassable God need not create the best. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of my argument for the ‘no-best-world’ response to the problem of evil. (Published Online February 17 2004).
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  40. added 2014-03-11
    Divine Freedom and Free Will Defenses.W. Paul Franks - 2015 - Heythrop Journal 56 (1):108-119.
    This paper considers a problem that arises for free will defenses when considering the nature of God's own will. If God is perfectly good and performs praiseworthy actions, but is unable to do evil, then why must humans have the ability to do evil in order to perform such actions? This problem has been addressed by Theodore Guleserian, but at the expense of denying God's essential goodness. I examine and critique his argument and provide a solution to the initial problem (...)
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  41. added 2014-03-09
    Freedom, Human and Divine.Tim Mawson - 2005 - Religious Studies 41 (1):55-69.
    In this paper I seek to show how God's freedom is not reduced or His power diminished by His inability to be less than perfectly good even though ours would be. That ours would be explains why it might prima facie appear to us that there is a ‘conceptual tension’ between some of the claims of traditional theism and reveals some interesting (well, to me anyway) differences between human freedom and divine freedom.
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  42. added 2014-03-07
    Response To: Divine Responsibility Without Divine Freedom. [REVIEW]William L. Rowe - 2010 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 67 (1):37 - 48.
    Michael Bergmann and Jan Cover summarize the essence of their paper as follows: "We argue that divine responsibility is sufficient for divine thankworthiness and consistent with the absence of divine freedom. We do this while insisting on the view that both freedom and responsibility are incompatible with causal determinism." In this response I argue that while it makes sense for believers to be thankful that God exists, it makes no sense for them to thank him for doing the best act (...)
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  43. added 2014-03-04
    Could God Do Something Evil? A Molinist Solution to the Problem of Divine Freedom.R. Zachary Manis - 2011 - Faith and Philosophy 28 (2):209-223.
    One important version of the problem of divine freedom is that, if God is essentially good, and if freedom logically requires being able to do otherwise, then God is not free with respect to willing the good, and thus He is not morally praiseworthy for His goodness. I develop and defend a broadly Molinist solution to this problem, which, I argue, provides the best way out of the difficulty for orthodox theists who are unwilling to relinquish the Principle of Alternate (...)
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  44. added 2014-03-03
    Free Will in Philosophical Theology.Kevin Timpe - 2013 - London: Bloomsbury Academic.
    Natural theology's name can be misleading, for it sounds like what is being done is a kind of theology, not philosophy. But natural theology is better understood to be primarily philosophical rather than theological for it is, most generally, the ...
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  45. added 2013-03-11
    The Problem of Divine Freedom.Thomas P. Flint - 1983 - American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (3):255 - 264.
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  46. added 2013-03-07
    Is God “Significantly Free?”.Wesley Morriston - 1985 - Faith and Philosophy 2 (3):257-264.
    In an impressive series of books and articles, Alvin Plantinga has developed challenging new versions of two much discussed pieces of philosophical theology: the free will defense and the ontological argument.' His treatment of both subjects has provoked a tremendous amount of critical comment. What has not been generally noticed', however, is that when taken together, Plantinga's views on these two subjects lead to a very serious problem in philosophical theology. The premises of his version of the ontological argument, when (...)
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  47. added 2012-08-10
    An Analogical Approach to Divine Freedom.Kevin Timpe - 2012 - Proceedings of the Irish Philosophical Society:88-99.
    Assuming an analogical account of religious predication, this paper utilizes recent work in the metaphysics of free will to build towards an account of divine freedom. I argue that what actions an agent is capable of freely performing depends on his or her moral character.
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  48. added 2012-05-14
    Can God Be Free?William L. Rowe - 2002 - Faith and Philosophy 19 (4):405-424.
    Can God Be Free? is a penetrating study of a central problem in philosophy of religion: can it be right to regard God as free, and as praiseworthy for being perfectly good? Allowing that he has perfect knowledge and perfect goodness, if there is a best world for God to create he would have no choice other than to create it. But if God could not do otherwise than create the best world, he created the world of necessity, not freely, (...)
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  49. added 2012-04-16
    Review of William Rowe, Can God Be Free?[REVIEW]Timothy O'Connor - 2005 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (4).
    Consider the idea of God in classical philosophical theology. God is a personal being perfect in every way: absolutely independent of everything, such that nothing exists apart from God's willing it to be so; unlimited in power and knowledge; perfectly blissful, lacking in nothing needed or desired; morally perfect. If such a being were to create, on what basis would He choose? Let us assume (as perfect being theologians generally do) that there is an objective, degreed property of intrinsic goodness, (...)
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  50. added 2012-03-19
    God, Freedom, and Creation in Cross-Cultural Perspective.Keith E. Yandell - 1999 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1999:147-168.
    Crossculturally, monotheistic traditions view God as occupying the apex of power, knowledge and goodness, and as enjoying independent existence. This conceptual context provides room for maneuvering concerning God’s nature (e.g., does God have logically necessary existence?) and God’s creatures (e.g., do created persons have libertarian freedom?). Logical consistency is always a constraint on such maneuvering. With that constraint in mind, our purpose here is to consider different conceptual maneuvers concerning God, created persons, and freedom (both human and divine) within Christian (...)
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