God’s moral goodness and supererogation

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (2):83-95 (2013)
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What do we understand by God’s goodness? William Alston claims that by answering this question convincingly, divine command theory can be strengthened against some major objections. He rejects the idea that God’s goodness lies in the area of moral obligations. Instead, he proposes that God’s goodness is best described by the phenomenon of supererogation. Joseph Lombardi, in response, agrees with Alston that God does not have moral obligations but says that having rejected moral obligation as the content of divine goodness, Alston cannot help himself to supererogation as a solution to the content of God’s moral goodness. If God has no moral obligations and does not perform supererogatory acts, Lombardi suggests that God’s goodness may be explicated through concentrating on God’s benevolence, but he does not develop this theme. I propose that Alston’s idea of divine supererogation without obligation is sustainable, but that a reshaping of the concept of supererogation is required; one in which love, rather than benevolence, plays an important part. If the love associated with supererogation is characterised in a certain way, I suggest this adds a new angle to the understanding of divine goodness



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Elizabeth Drummond Young
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

Divine moral goodness, supererogation and The Euthyphro Dilemma.Alfred Archer - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (2):147-160.

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