Can God be Both Perfect and Free?1: DAVID R. MASON

Religious Studies 18 (2):191-200 (1982)

The difficulty of ascribing metaphysical predicates such as absoluteness, necessity and perfection to God while simultaneously ascribing personal predicates such as compassion, freedom and agency has often been noted. Most efforts to resolve this dilemma have tended to fall into one of three categories: a merely verbal solution such as that God is ‘compassionate in terms of our experience but…not so in terms of [God's] own’; the univocal and unqualified ascription of the metaphysical predicates to God coupled with equivocation with respect to the personal predicates which results in the final elimination of the latter; the fideistic denial that intelligible language is applicable to God. Unfortunately, none of these is satisfactory. The first solution is seen to be but a version of the second, and it is arguable that the second is, as Feuerbach contends, tantamount to a ‘subtle, disguised atheism’, since ‘to deny all the qualities of a being is equivalent to denying the being himself’ or, alternatively, ‘an existence in general, an existence without qualities, is an insipidity, an absurdity’. The third ‘solution’ is no better and is hardly more than an evasive tactic
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412500013780
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