God's Perfect Will: Remarks on Johnston and O'Connor

Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 10:248-254 (2022)
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Why would God create a world at all? Further, why would God create a world like this one? The Neoplatonic framework of classical philosophical theology answers that God’s willing is an affirmation of God’s own goodness, and God creates to show forth God’s glory. Mark Johnston has recently argued that, in addition to explaining why God would create at all, this framework gives extremely wide scope to divine freedom. Timothy O’Connor objects that divine freedom, on this view, cannot be so wide as Johnston supposes: the creation of a fundamentally unjust world, for instance, could not be a way of affirming the divine goodness. I argue that O’Connor does not go far enough. While the Neoplatonic framework helps to explain why God would create at all, it does nothing to secure God’s freedom to create less than the best.



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Kenneth L. Pearce
James Madison University

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References found in this work

Summa Theologiae (1265-1273).Thomas Aquinas - 1911 - Edited by John Mortensen & Enrique Alarcón.
Summa Contra Gentiles.Thomas Aquinas - 1975 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Philosophical theology.James F. Ross - 1969 - Indianapolis,: Bobbs-Merrill.
Why Did the One Not Remain within Itself?Mark Johnston - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 9:106-164.

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