Matthew Shea
University of Scranton
A serious challenge to religious believers in the Abrahamic traditions is that the God of the Old Testament seems to command immoral actions. Thomas Aquinas addresses this objection using the biblical story of God ordering the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians, which threatens to create an inconsistency among four of Aquinas’s views: God did indeed command this action; God is perfectly good and cannot command any evil actions; the objective moral goodness or badness of actions is not based on arbitrary divine commands; and the prohibition of theft is an immutable principle of the natural moral law. I examine Aquinas’s views on metaethics, stealing, justice, property, and collective responsibility to show that there is not a genuine inconsistency in his position, and that his strategy provides a helpful model for responding to the objection from divinely-sanctioned evil.
Keywords Philosophy and Religion  History of Philosophy  Catholic Tradition
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2018
ISBN(s) 1051-3558
DOI 10.5840/acpq201831146
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 61,064
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Five Problems for the Moral Consensus About Sins.Mike Ashfield - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-33.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aquinas on Crime.Charles P. Nemeth - 2008 - St. Augustine's Press.
Natural Law in Aquinas and Suarez.Sean Coyle - 2017 - Jurisprudence 8 (2):319-341.
Aquinas on Self-Knowledge and the Individuation of Thought.Carl N. Still - 2014 - International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3):253-264.
Aquinas and Atheism.Brian Davies - 2013 - In Stephen Bullivant & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Oxford University Press. pp. 119.
The Power of God: By Thomas Aquinas.Saint Thomas (Aquinas) (ed.) - 2012 - Oxford University Press USA.
3 Aquinas and Islamic and Jewish Thinkers.I. Aquinas S. Attitudes Toward Avicenna - 1993 - In Norman Kretzmann & Eleonore Stump (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas. Cambridge University Press.
A Look at Inner Sense in Aquinas: A Long-Neglected Faculty Psychology.Anthony J. Lisska - 2006 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:1-19.


Added to PP index

Total views
38 ( #277,476 of 2,439,610 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #209,095 of 2,439,610 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes