Could God Do Something Evil? A Molinist Solution to the Problem of Divine Freedom

Faith and Philosophy 28 (2):209-223 (2011)
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Abstract

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 Possibilities. The solution is that the divine essence includes the property of transworld goodness: i.e., for any possible morally significant choice that God could have faced, if God had actually faced it, God would have chosen to will the good. This view makes coherent the otherwise paradoxical theological intuition that it is within God’s power to do something evil, but He would not ever do such a thing

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Author's Profile

R. Zachary Manis
The Stony Brook School

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