God and Good Revisited: A Case for Contingency

Philosophia Christi 16 (2):319-338 (2014)
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Abstract

Treatments of God's goodness almost always appeal to the traditional Christian doctrine that God is necessarily good, but this introduces the question whether God's goodness properly can be understood as necessary. After considering an ontological conception of God's goodness, I propose that God's goodness is better understood as satisfying six criteria involving moral virtue, intellectual virtue, right actions, right motives, freedom of choice, and freedom of choice with respect to the rightness of the action. I defend the result -- that God's goodness must be understood contingently, not necessarily -- against recent critics of this view.

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Bruce Reichenbach
Augsburg College

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