The problem of evil -- Aquinas, philosophy, and theology -- What there is -- Goodness and badness -- God the creator -- God's perfection and goodness -- The creator and evil -- Providence and grace -- The trinity and Christ -- Aquinas on god and evil.
What does belief in God amount to? Can we reasonably believe in God's existence without argument or evidence? Can God's existence be proved? Can we believe in miracles? Is there life after death? In this book, Brian Davies provides a critical examination of some fundamental questions posed by religious belief. Completely rewritten in order to cover the latest developments in the field, the new edition of this highly successful textbook will once again prove the ideal introduction for all students of (...) the philosophy of religion. The book is highly accessible and covers all the key elements of a course in the philosophy of religion. It is designed to complement Brian Davies' Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology, although the book can also be used as a stand-alone introduction. (shrink)
This paper notes and discusses some key arguments in Part One of The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God by D. Z. Phillips. With an eye on some texts of Thomas Aquinas, I reject Phillips's view that belief in divine omnipotence leads to absurd claims concerning God, but I defend his rejection of anthropomorphism when it comes to talk of God, and, with qualifications, I defend and elaborate on his suggestion that God is not a moral agent. I (...) also commend his critique of certain well-known theodicies (e.g. that provided by Richard Swinburne), although I challenge his appeal to what he calls “the grammar of God.”. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest Western philosphers and one of the greatest theologians of the Christian church. In this book we at last have a modern, comprehensive presentation of the total thought of Aquinas. Books on Aquinas invariably deal with either his philosophy or his theology. But Aquinas himself made no arbitrary division between his philosophical and his theological thought, and this book allows readers to see him as a whole. It introduces the full range of Aquinas' thinking; (...) and it relates his thinking to writers both earlier and later than Aquinas himself. (shrink)
The question of why there is anything at all is perhaps the deepest and most profound of all philosophical mysteries. Here, Brian Davies investigates whether it is reasonable to suppose the universe was created by God.
It is often said that if God exists, he is strongly comparable to what is not divine. In particular, it has been claimed that for God to exist is for a person to exist. In what follows I show how, esteemed theologian though he is commonly taken to be, Thomas Aquinas adopts a strongly different line of thinking according to which we seriously do not know what God is. In doing so, I draw attention to his use of nominal definitions (...) in his arguments for. I also highlight his teachings that God is simple and that words used to talk about God in subject-predicate sentences always. (shrink)
Herbert McCabe, OP , was a significant theological figure in England in the last century. A scholar of Aquinas, he was also influenced by Wittgenstein and Marx, his reading of whom helped him articulate a distinctive Thomistic account of human embodiment that serves as a critique of other dominant approaches in ethics. This article shows McCabe's contribution to moral theology by placing his work in conversation with other important approaches, namely, situation ethics, proportionalism, and the New Natural Law Theory.
Is it possible to be both a philosopher and a religious believer? Is philosophy a friend or foe to religious belief? Does talk of God make sense? Does God exist? What is God? Ideal for anyone pondering these and similar questions, Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology provides a comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible overview of the subject. Carefully edited by Brian Davies, it contains a wide-ranging selection of 65 of the best classical and contemporary writings on the philosophy of (...) religion, together with substantial commentary, introductory material, discussion questions, and detailed guides to further reading. The editorial material sets the selections in context and guides students through the readings. Part I of the book examines the relation between philosophy and religion; Parts II-IV consider the existence and nature of God; Part V addresses the "problem of evil" that has puzzled thinkers for centuries; and Parts VI and VII are devoted to the relationship between morality and religion and to the question of life after death. An extensive treatment of the major issues that Western philosophers have faced in thinking about religion, Philosophy of Religion is an exceptional text. No other book on the market offers this combination of an introductory guide along with such a substantial anthology of readings. (shrink)
Classical thinkers such as St Anselm of Canterbury and St Thomas Aquinas insist that God is beyond reason because he is incomprehensible. More recent authors, including Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Barth and Colin Gunton have argued that God is beyond reason since natural theology is an inherently suspect notion. In this article, I first note ways in which all the authors just mentioned may be thought of as agreeing with each other. I then proceed to argue against the critique of natural (...) theology coming from Kierkegaard, Barth and Gunton. My conclusion is that, in one sense, it may be premature to conclude that God is beyond reason. (shrink)
The author recounts his own journey from inductive arguments for God’s existence and the Free Will Defense, to the Thomistic claim that we do not know God’s essence (which implies, among other things, that God cannot be classified among things in the world). Propositions can be truly affirmed of God, if we distinguish knowing that a proposition is true and understanding what makes the proposition true. We can say “God exists” without knowing what God is. If God is the Unknown (...) that makes all other things to be, are all our choices positively caused, not just permitted, by God? Since God is not an agent among other agents in the world, he does not coerce us from outside. We are free not in spite of God, but rather because of Him. This does not mean that all our actions are pre-determined; it means, rather, that God creatively makes people who act as they do, to be. The reasons for supposing that we do not know what God is, are the same as the reasons for thinking that He (as the creative source of everything) is more present to us than any creature is. (shrink)
This essay aims to explain what Aquinas does and does not mean when using the word ‘God’. It also tries to explain why Aquinas thinks it reasonable to conclude that God exists and how Aquinas can be compared and contrasted with certain thinkers both agreeing and disagreeing with this conclusion. The essay places emphasis on Aquinas’s notion of esse and on the fact that he consistently asserts that we do not know what God is.