Modal basics -- Some solutions -- Theist solutions -- The ontology of possibility -- Modal truthmakers -- Modality and the divine nature -- Deity as essential -- Against deity theories -- The role of deity -- The biggest bang -- Divine concepts -- Concepts, syntax, and actualism -- Modality: basic notions -- The genesis of secular modality -- Modal reality -- Essences -- Non-secular modalities -- Theism and modal semantics -- Freedom, preference, and cost -- Explaining modal status -- Explaining (...) the necessary -- Against theistic platonism -- Worlds and the existence of God. (shrink)
Latin models of the Trinity begin from the existence of one God, and try to explain how one God can be three Persons. I offer an account of this based on an analogy with time-travel. A time-traveler returning to the same point in time repeatedly might have three successive events in his/her life occurring at that one location in public time. So too, God’s life might be such that three distinct parts of His life are always occurring at once, though (...) without any succession between them, and this might give God the triune structure Christian theology believes He has. (shrink)
Before Duns Scotus, most philosophers agreed that God is identical with His necessary intrinsic attributes--omnipotence, omniscience, etc. This Identity Thesis was a component of widely held doctrines of divine simplicity, which stated that God exemplifies no metaphysical distinctions, including that between subject and attribute. The Identity Thesis seems to render God an attribute, an abstract object. This paper shows that the Identity Thesis follows from a basic theistic belief and does not render God abstract. If also discusses how one might (...) move from the Identity Thesis to the full doctrine of divine simplicity and shows that the Identity Thesis generates a new ontological argument. (shrink)
I display the historical roots of perfect being theology in Greco-Roman philosophy, and the distinctive reasons for Christians to take up a version of this project. I also rebut a recent argument that perfect-being reasoning should lead one to atheism.
Augustine, Aquinas and many other medievals held the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS) -that God has no parts of any sort. Augustine took this to imply that for any non-relational attribute F, if God is F, God = Fness. This can seem to create three problems. I set them out. Having done so, I show that Augustine's DDS is set within a view of attributes now unfamiliar to us. When we bring this into the picture, it turns out that two (...) of the problems do not really arise and the third is not really problematic. I then suggest that my rescue of Augustine may rescue other prominent friends of DDS as well. (shrink)
The doctrine that God is omnipotent takes its rise from Scriptural texts which concern two linked topics. One is how much power God has to put behind actions: enough that nothing is too hard, enough to do whatever he pleases. The other is how much God can do: ‘all things’. The link is obvious: we measure strength by what tasks it is adequate to perform, and God is so strong he can do all things. The Christian philosophical theologian who seeks (...) to explicate omnipotence seeks a convincing account of the reality beneath the ‘phenomena’ of Scripture. This article looks briefly at some historic accounts of omnipotence. It emerges that the early history of the concept emphasized strength more than range of action, with range coming to prominence in Aquinas's day. Three recent attempts to define omnipotence are then considered. All are found wanting, but the author draws morals that help him hazard his own definition. (shrink)
Most analytic philosophers hold that if God exists, He exists with broad logical necessity. Richard Swinburne denies the distinction between narrow and broad logical necessity, and argues that if God exists, His existence is narrow-logically contingent. A defender of divine broad logical necessity could grant the latter claim. I argue, however, that not only is God's existence broad-logically necessary, but on a certain understanding of God's relation to modality, it comes out narrow-logically necessary. This piece argues against Swinburne's overall account (...) of modality and rebuts his argument for narrow-logical contingency. (shrink)
I explain the doctrine of divine simplicity, and reject what is now the standard way to explicate it in analytic philosophy. I show that divine simplicity imperils the claim that God is free, and argue against a popular proposal for dealing with the problem.
Western theism holds that God cannot do evil. Christians also hold that Christ is God the Son and that Christ was tempted to do evil. These claims appear to be jointly inconsistent. I argue that they are not.
This chapter presents and critically discusses the main historical variants of the “ontological argument,” a form of a priori argument for the existence of God pioneered by Anselm of Canterbury. I assess the contributions of Anselm, Descartes, Leibniz, and Gödel, and criticisms by Gaunilo, Kant, and Oppy among others.
William Rowe and others argue that if ours is a possible world than which there is a better, it follows that God does not exist. If this is correct, then if there is no best possible world, it is not so much as possible that God exist. I reject the key premise of Rowe's argument. The key to seeing that it is false, I suggest, is seeing that God is subject to something fairly called moral luck. In this first part (...) of the article, I set up Rowe's argument, indicate my strategy, introduce the notion of moral luck and show how it bears on Rowe's claims. (shrink)
William Rowe and others argue that if this is a possible world than which there is a better, it follows that God does not exist. I now reject the key premise of Rowe's argument. I do so first within a Molinist framework. I then show that this framework is dispensable: really all one needs to block the better-world argument is the assumption that creatures have libertarian free will. I also foreclose what might seem a promising way around the 'moral-luck' counter (...) I develop, and contend that it is in a way impossible to get around. (shrink)
William Hasker replies to my arguments against social Trinitarianism, offers some criticism of my own view, and begins a sketch of another account of the Trinity. I reply with some defence of my own theory and some questions about his.
I give an account of the nature of absolute or metaphysical necessity. Absolute-necessarily P, I suggest, just if it is always the case that P and there never is or was a power with a chance to bring it about, bring about a power to bring it about, etc., that not P. I display both advantages and a cost of this sort of definition.
I explicate and defend leibniz's argument from "eternal truths" to the existence of god. I argue that necessary beings can be caused to exist, Showing how one can apply a counterfactual analysis to such causation, Then argue that if such beings can be caused to exist, They are.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), Benedictine monk and the second Norman archbishop of Canterbury, is regarded as one of the most important philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages. The essays in this volume explore all of his major ideas both philosophical and theological, including his teachings on faith and reason, God's existence and nature, logic, freedom, truth, ethics, and key Christian doctrines. There is also discussion of his life, the sources of his thought, and his influence on other thinkers. New (...) readers will find this the most convenient, accessible guide to Anselm currently available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Anselm. (shrink)
I offer part of an account of divine moral perfection. I defend the claim that moral perfection is possible, then argue that God has obligations, so that one part of his moral perfection must be perfection in meeting these. I take up objections to divine obligations, then finally offer a definition of divine deontic perfection.
One central claim of orthodox Christianity is that in Jesus of Nazareth, God became man. On Chalcedonian orthodoxy, this involves one person, God the Son, having two natures, divine and human. If He does, one person has two properties, deity and humanity. But the Incarnation also involves concrete objects, God the Son (GS), Jesus’s human body (B) and—I will assume—Jesus’s human soul (S). If God becomes human, GS, B and S somehow become one thing. It would be good to have (...) a metaphysical account of their oneness. I have suggested one. Thomas Senor has criticized my suggestion. I now reply to his case. (shrink)
William Hasker replies to my arguments against Social Trinitarianism, offers some criticism of my own view, and begins a sketch of another account of the Trinity. I reply with some defence of my own theory and some questions about his.
Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest of the medieval philosophers. His Summa Theologiae is his most important contribution to Christian theology, and one of the main sources for his philosophy. This volume offers most of the Summa's first 26 questions, including all of those on the existence and nature of God. Based on the 1960 Blackfriars translation, this version has been extensively revised by Brian Davies and also includes an introduction by Brian Leftow which places the questions in their (...) philosophical and historical context. The result is an accessible and up-to-date edition of Aquinas' thoughts on the nature and existence of God, both of which have continuing relevance for the philosophy of religion and Christian theology. (shrink)
The claim that God is eternal is a standard feature of late–classical and mediaeval philosophical theology. It is prominent in discussions of the relation of God's foreknowledge to human freedom, and its consequences pervade traditional accounts of other kinds of divine knowledge, of God's will, and of God's relation to the world. So an examination of the concept of eternity promises to repay our efforts with a better understanding of the history of philosophical theology and with insight into the concept (...) of God. Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann's ‘Eternity’ is a forceful, sophisticated presentation and defence of the notion of eternity. Our treatment of eternity will focus on two of Stump and Kretzmann's claims. First, Stump and Kretzmann contend that eternity isa kind of ‘atemporal duration’. We will see that while this is true, it is only part of the story. Second, Stump and Kretzmann claim to provide a viable account of how the existence of an eternal being can be simultaneous with some temporal event. We will see that and why they have not done so. (shrink)