Treasure Island

gershon hepner

(5 3 38 / leipzig)

what god cannot do


Though God's supposed to be omnipotent, it's clear that He cannot
make lions without making lots of lambs extremely worried.
Humans don't get worried when they put a lamb into pot,
because they have impressed themselves by favors that they've curried.

In the TLS o 5/25/12 Anthony Kenny, former Master of Balliol ("Why Lambs need to worry about lions") , reviews Brian Davies's book Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil. Considering the question asked from Epicurus to Hume, "Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent? is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? " Kenny mentions "the free will defence" argument of Alvin Platinga and Richard Swinburne to explain evil ("God created a world in which agents have the power of choice, which is a great good: it is the agents' misuse of that power which causes the evil") . He writes:

The problem of evil is a strange kind of problem. At a time when it was fashionable to make a sharp distinction between statements of fact and statements of value, it seemed anomalous to draw a conclusion of fact (there is no God) from an evaluative premises (there is a lot of evil about) . …Like most people, I soon ceased to believe in any sharp distinction between statements of fact and statements of value.

Kenny points out that according Davies, Aquinas is not a moral agent. "There are no moral demands on him and he is under no obligations to anyone or anything."

[F]or Aquinas, God loves viruses in just the same sense as he loves human beings, that is to say, that it is his will that confers on each their specific roles. But is God not responsible for the fact that the good of one is the evil of the other? Davies faces up to this question and his answer is clear. "Aquinas's view is that God cannot make lions and lambs without the lambs having something to worry about."

6/4/12 #10405

Submitted: Monday, June 04, 2012

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