Can God Be Free?

Paperback | August 17, 2006

byWilliam L. RoweAs told byWilliam L. Rowe

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In the three major religions of the West, God is understood to be a being whose goodness, knowledge, and power are such that it is impossible for any being, including God himself, to have a greater degree of goodness, knowledge, and power. This book focuses on God's freedom andpraiseworthiness in relation to his perfect goodness. Given his necessary perfections, if there is a best world for God to create he would have no choice other than to create it. For, as Leibniz tells us, 'to do less good than one could is to be lacking in wisdom or in goodness'. But if God couldnot do otherwise than create the best world, he created the world of necessity, not freely. And, if that is so, it may be argued that we have no reason to be thankful to God for creating us, since, as parts of the best possible world, God was simply unable to do anything other than create us---hecreated us of necessity, not freely. Moreover, we are confronted with the difficulty of having to believe that this world, with its Holocaust, and innumerable other evils, is the best that an infinitely powerful, infinitely good being could do in creating a world. Neither of these conclusions, takenby itself, seems at all plausible. Yet each conclusion appears to follow from the conception of God now dominant in the great religions of the West. William Rowe presents a detailed study of this important problem, both historically in the writings of Gottfried Leibniz, Samuel Clarke, Thomas Aquinas, and Jonathan Edwards, and in the contemporary philosophical literature devoted to the issue. Rowe argues that this problem is more serious than iscommonly thought and may require some significant revision in contemporary thinking about the nature of God.

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In the three major religions of the West, God is understood to be a being whose goodness, knowledge, and power are such that it is impossible for any being, including God himself, to have a greater degree of goodness, knowledge, and power. This book focuses on God's freedom andpraiseworthiness in relation to his perfect goodness. Given...

William L. Rowe is at Purdue University, Indiana.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.46 inPublished:August 17, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199204128

ISBN - 13:9780199204120

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Table of Contents

1. Leibniz on Divine Perfection and Freedom2. Clarke on Divine Perfection and Freedom3. Aquinas on the Infinity of Worlds4. Jonathan Edwards on Divine and Human Freedom5. Must God create the best world?6. Divine Perfection and Freedom: The Contemporary Debate7. Can God be the cause of his own nature?

Editorial Reviews

"Can God be Free?--like Rowe's work in general--is clearly written and full of engaging arguments. Regardless of whether they agree with his conclusions, readers interested in philosophical theology in general, and the divine nature in particular, will find much of interest in this book."--Shannon Murphy and Kevin Timpe, Philosophia Christi