Molinism promises the strongest account of God's providence consistent with our freedom. But is it a coherent view, and does it provide a satisfying account of divine providence? The essays in this volume examine the status, defensibility, and application of this recently revived doctrine, and anticipate the future direction of the debate.
Molinism is named after Luis de Molina (1535–1600). Molina and his fellow Jesuits became entangled in a fierce debate over issues involving the doctrine of divine providence, which is a picture of how God runs the world. Molinism reemerged in the 1970s after Alvin Plantinga unwittingly assumed it in his Free Will Defense against the ‘Logical’ Argument from Evil. Molinism has been the subject of vigorous debate in analytic philosophy of religion ever since. The main aim of this essay is (...) to survey the main contours of this debate. We will visit some ‘old’ battlefields and current hot spots in the ongoing Molinism Wars. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that the ‘Logical’ Argument from Evil (LAFE) is bankrupt. We aim to rehabilitate the LAFE, in the form of what we call the Normatively Relativised Logical Argument from Evil (NRLAFE). There are many different versions of a NRLAFE. We aim to show that one version, what we call the ‘right relationship’ NRLAFE, poses a significant threat to personal-omniGod-theism—understood as requiring the belief that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good person who has created our world—because it (...) appeals to value commitments theists themselves are likely to endorse. The ultimate success of this NRLAFE will rest on developing a theological ethics of right relationship that rejects as morally flawed the exercise of omnipotence first to sustain horrors and then to redeem them. Yet a vindicated NRLAFE of this sort need not require atheism, but only rejection of the standard conception of God as a personal omniGod. (shrink)
Analytical philosophers of religion widely assume that God is a person, albeit immaterial and of unique status, and the divine attributes are thus understood as attributes of this supreme personal being. Our main aim is to consider how traditional divine attributes may be understood on a non-personal conception of God. We propose that foundational theist claims make an all-of-Reality reference, yet retain God’s status as transcendent Creator. We flesh out this proposal by outlining a specific non-personal, monist and ‘naturalist’ conception (...) of God, which we call the ‘euteleological’ conception of God, and then considering euteleological interpretations of omnipotence, omniscience and divine goodness. (shrink)
Analytic philosophers of religion typically take God to be ‘the personal omniGod’ – a person who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent, and who creates and sustains all else that exists. Analytic philosophers also tend to assume that the personal omniGod is the God of ‘classical’ theism. Arguably, this is a mistake. To be consistent, a classical theist or her supporter must deny that God is literally a person. They need not, however, deny the aptness of using personal language, or of (...) thinking of God as a person or personal at the level of religious psychology. (shrink)
This paper 1) argues that libertarians are virtually as badly off as compatibilists in the face of the objection to the Free Will Defence that omnipotent God could have ensured that all free beings always but freely did right, and 2) explores the prospects for an "upgraded" Free Will Defense which takes freedom merely as a necessary condition for a further higher good which logically could not be achieved if God employed any of the available strategies--under both compatibilist and libertarian (...) assumptions--for creating morally free beings without the risk of moral evil. (shrink)
Humans have long been fascinated by the idea of visiting the past and of seeing what the future will bring. Time travel has been one of the most popular themes of science fiction. Most people have seen the TV series ‘Dr Who’ or ‘Quantum Leap’ or ‘Star Trek’. You’ve probably seen one of the ‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Terminator’ movies, or ‘Twelve Monkeys’. Time travel narratives provide fascinating plots, which exercise our imaginations in ever so many ways. But is (...) the idea of travelling forward and backward in time pure fantasy—or can it be done? To be sure, not all time travel scenarios are coherent. But we hope to persuade you that the most common objections to the very idea of time travel have no real force. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the navya-Nyaya school of indian philosophy determines the truth or falsity of a sentence which contains an empty term, And to point out some similarities and differences between its method of analysis and truth-Value determinations of such sentences and that of bertrand russell.
Euteleology is a metaphysics according to which reality is inherently purposive and the contingent Universe exists ultimately because reality’s overall telos, the supreme good, is realized within it. This book provides an exposition of euteleology and a defence of its coherence. The main aim is to establish that euteleological metaphysics provides a religiously adequate alternative to the ‘personal-omniGod’ understanding of theism prevalent amongst analytic philosophers. The quest for an alternative to understanding the God of the Abrahamic traditions as an omnipotent, (...) omniscient, morally perfect personal being is motivated by criticizing the religious adequacy of this conception of God. This criticism deploys a ‘normatively relativized’ version of the ‘logical’ Argument from Evil: it is argued that an omnipotent personal agent would unavoidably be responsible for a morally flawed relationship with human beings caught up in horrendous evils. Reasons are given for preferring a ‘non-personalist’ account of theism, and the religious adequacy of a euteleological theism is then defended against two main objections—first, that it faces a problem of evil that threatens its coherence, and, second, that it cannot make good sense of the practices of prayer and worship that are essential to theist religion. An important theme is that, though God is not a personal being, nor any kind of ‘being amongst beings’ in basic euteleological ontology, God-talk may be understood as resting on a radical analogy that is apt for enabling right human responses to ultimate divine reality. (shrink)