The Power of God

Andrew Gleeson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Much contemporary analytic philosophy understands the power of God as belonging to the same logical space as the power of human beings: a power of efficient causation taken to the maximum limit. This anthropomorphic picture is often explicated in terms of God's capacity to bring about any logically possible state of affairs, so-called omnipotence. D.Z. Phillips criticized this position in his last book, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God. I defend Phillips's argument against recent criticism by William Hasker, contending that the omnipotence thesis is either false or trivial. I trace the superficial plausibility of the thesis to a Cartesian understanding of personal agency, in the light of which God's power over the whole material world is an inflated version of our more modest power over our own bodies: it is the power of immaterial souls to control material phenomena. This comparison is expressed to perfection in the work of Richard Swinburne, my main target. I argue that by making God a force among other possible forces, in-principle able to be resisted, however feebly, by contrary forces, this picture reduces the Creator to a creature.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)603-616
    Number of pages14
    JournalSophia: International Journal For Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysical Theology and Ethics
    Volume49
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

    Keywords

    • Anthropomorphism
    • Hasker
    • Logical possibility
    • Omnipotence
    • Phillips
    • Swinburne

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