Can God forgive our trespasses?

Abstract
Believers regularly refer to God as “forgiving and merciful” when praying for divine forgiveness. If one is committed to divine immutability and impassability, as Maimonides is, one must deny that God is capable, in principle, of acting in a forgiving manner. If one rejects divine impassability, maintaining that God has a psychology, as Muffs does, one must reckon with biblical depictions of divine vengeance and rage. Such depictions suggest that while being capable, in principle, of acting in a forgiving way, God has a difficulty to manage God’s anger and do so in practice. Employing a Wittgensteinian perspective, I argue that utterances, e.g., “God merciful and gracious, slow to anger. . . forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin”, need not be understood as involving mistaken or confused descriptions of God’s nature and manner of acting. Rather, they can be understood as speech-acts of various types and functions: mystical, theurgic and others, that purport to bring about or transform various states of affairs in this world and/or beyond it. As such, they can function as non-semantic instruments that purport to elevate the believer to the “upper worlds”, or as anger-management devices that purport to help God implement His second order desire to act in a forgiving manner, despite His difficulty to do so
Keywords Forgiveness  Resentment  Prayer  Maimonides  Muffs  Wittgenstein
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11153-012-9370-5
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,165
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
In Defence of Unconditional Forgiveness.Eve Garrard & David McNaughton - 2002 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):39–60.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Duty to Forgive Repentant Wrongdoers.Espen Gamlund - 2010 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (5):651-671.
Planned Forgiveness.James Montmarquet - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3):285 - 296.
The Standing to Forgive.Glen Pettigrove - 2009 - The Monist 92 (4):583-603.
The Dilemma of Divine Forgiveness.Glen Pettigrove - 2008 - Religious Studies 44 (4):457-464.
Unapologetic Forgiveness.Glen Pettigrove - 2004 - American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (3):187 - 204.
Forgiveness Without Apology.Karen D. Hoffman - 2008 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 82:135-151.
Forgiveness and Moral Solidarity.Alice MacLachlan - 2008 - In Stephen Bloch-Shulman & David White (eds.), Forgiveness: Probing the Boundaries. Inter-Disciplinary Press.
Forgiveness Without Blame.Espen Gamlund - 2011 - In Christel Fricke (ed.), The Ethics of Forgiveness. Routledge.
Forgiveness and the Holocaust.Eve Garrard - 2002 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (2):147-165.
The Forgiveness We Speak: The Illocutionary Force of Forgiving.Glen Pettigrove - 2004 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):371-392.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-09-14

Total downloads

22 ( #228,502 of 2,171,986 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #326,556 of 2,171,986 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums