In Simon Cushing (ed.), Heaven and philosophy. pp. 231-254 (2017)

Michaël Bauwens
University of Antwerp
Since heaven is the most perfect state or position possible – namely of loving God perfectly – and sinning is failing to love God, it will not be possible to sin in heaven. However, if freedom is a mark of perfection, and loving God is only possible when one freely loves God, will we be loving God at all if we are not free not to love him? Three cumulative arguments for an affirmative answer are developed. The first is to distinguish the ability to love or sin from the opportunity to do so. In heaven we are loving God in an infinite variety of ways, so we are freely exercising our ability to love, even when God has taken away any opportunities for sinning. However, one might reply that our freedom will only be the freedom to love God in various ways, not the freedom to love God or not. Hence the second argument is that in heaven are only people who have freely chosen to love God while on earth, where there was a real opportunity not to love God. Since the free choice to love God was made before entering heaven, loving God in heaven remains a free choice. Moreover, since in heaven God takes away the opportunity to sin, and stopping to love God would be a sin, you will remain steadfast in that free choice. However, one might reply that also having the opportunity to sin would add an extra possibility for willing something, so one would be 'more free' in heaven, and heaven would be more perfect, if one would also have the opportunity to sin. Hence the third argument is that freedom is a perfection shared by both God and humans, and the freedom of God is in an important respect a freedom to create. Hence, our human freedom is also greater if our creative power is greater. We have no creative power but by participating in God’s creative power, which is necessarily directed towards the good. So by willing what is good we extend and perfect creation and thereby extend and perfect our possibilities for willing, hence we become more free. On the contrary, by sinning we destroy creation and possibilities for willing and we become less free, so an opportunity to sin is not a possibility that increases our freedom.
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Louis XIV and the Metaphysics of a Juridical Christology.Michaël Bauwens - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (3):289-305.
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