Divine authority and the virtue of religion: a Thomistic response to Murphy

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 86 (3):213-226 (2019)
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Abstract

In his book, An Essay on Divine Authority, Mark Murphy argues that God does not have practical authority over created, rational agents. Although Murphy mentions the possibility of an argument for divine authority from justice, he does not consider any. In this paper, I develop such an argument from Aquinas’s treatment of the virtue of religion and other parts of justice. The divine excellence is due honor, and, as Aquinas argues, honoring a ruler requires service and obedience. Thus, a classical conception of God coupled with some of Aquinas’s theses concerning justice show that God has practical authority over all created, rational agents.

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Brandon Dahm
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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