Divine Attributes & Coherence of Theism

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info.gif Attributes of God: "Properties such as omnipotence (being all-powerful), omniscience (being all-knowing) and omnipresent (being present everywhere) that have traditionally been ascribed to God by theists. Since the twentieth century, some have questioned whether all of the attributes traditionally ascribed to God are coherent. Critical questions have been raised about Gods impassibility, simplicity and timelessness, and about the nature of Gods immutability."

Evans, C. (2002) Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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    Alter, Torin


    On Two Alleged Conflicts Between Divine Attributes

    "Some argue that God’s omnipotence and moral perfection prevent God from being afraid and having evil desires and thus from understanding such states—which contradicts God’s omniscience. But, I argue, God could acquire such understanding indirectly, either by (i) perceiving the mental states of imperfect creatures, (ii) imaginatively combining the components of mental states with which God could be acquainted, or (iii) having false memory traces of such states. (i)–(iii) are consistent with the principal divine attributes."
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    Craig, William L.


    The Coherence of Theism - Part 2

    In the 2nd part of his treatment of the coherence of theism, Craig discusses divine attributes such as omniscience, simplicity, immutability, omnipotence, and goodness.
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    Craig, William L.


    The Coherence of Theism - Part 1

    "One of the central concerns of contemporary Philosophy of Religion is the coherence of theism, or the analysis of the attributes of God. During the generation previous to our own the concept of God was often regarded as fertile ground for anti-theistic arguments. The difficulty with theism, it was said, was not merely that there are no good arguments for the existence of God, but, more fundamentally, that the notion of God is incoherent."
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    Funkhouser, Eric


    On Privileging God's Moral Goodness

    "Prima facie, there is an incompatibility between God's alleged omnipotence and impeccability. I argue that this incompat- ibility is more than prima facie. Attempts to avoid this appearance of incompatibility by allowing that there are commonplace states of affairs that an omnipotent being cannot bring about are unsuc- cessful. Instead, we should accept that God is not omnipotent. This is acceptable since it is a mistake to hold that omnipotence is a perfection. God's moral perfection should be privileged over God's potency properties|and the same is true of human beings as well."
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.


    Qualitative Omnipotence

    "In this essay, I offer a defense of omnipotence that is not concerned too much with a maximal quantity of actions possible for God but, rather, a maximal quality of actions that only an omnipotent being could enact. On such a view, it might not be relevant whether or not a being’s own ontology limits one from omnipotence if that ontology reduces the number of actions possible. Instead, what is required is that a being who is omnipotent ought to be performing a qualitatively maximum set of abilities which are weightier than performing a superior numerical amount yet containing a qualitatively moral deficiency."
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    Nagasawa, Yujin and Campbell Brown


    Anything You Can Do God Can Do Better

    "The Paradox of the Stone is a familiar argument that purports to show the incoherence of the notion of an omnipotent God. This paper argues that the paradox loses all force once one accepts two plausible principles regarding the nature of divine omnipotence. The solution to the paradox proposed here is importantly different from the traditional one proposed by such philosophers as Mavrodes, Mayo and Plantinga. The paper also considers, and rejects, a common strategy for bolstering the paradox, one that appeals to an apparent ability that is lacked by God yet possessed by ordinary folk. It is argued that the strategy rests on an equivocation."
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    Rich, Gregory P.


    Omnipotence and God's Existence

    "According to creeds and scriptures of many of the world's major religions, God is omnipotent. But what is it to be omnipotent? Does it mean God can do anything and everything, including the logically impossible? Or, are there limits to His power?1 In this paper, I will defend a view of omnipotence according to which there are limits to God's power, I will use this idea of omnipotence to critique two arguments against God's existence. According to the first argument, there can't be an omnipotent God; and according to the second, if there is an omnipotent God, He can't be all-good. Each of these arguments arises from a question about omnipotence. The first argument arises from 'Can God create an immovable object?', and the second one from 'Can God sin?' Both arguments are attempts to undermine belief in the traditional God of theism; both arguments aim to show that there is no being who is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. But, as I shall argue, both arguments fail if omnipotence is properly understood."
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    Senor, Thomas D.


    Omnipotence: A Primer

    "Theists maintain that God is not only the creator of the universe and all it contains, but that He is also omnipotent. This short essay will explore the attribute of omnipotence by attempting to clarify it adn draw out the consequences of some attempts at clarification."
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    Senor, Thomas D.


    God’s Goodness Needs No Privilege: A Reply to Funkhouser

    "In his paper 'On Privileging God’s Moral Goodness,' Eric Funkhouser argues that the properties of omnipotence and necessary goodness are incompatible. Funkhouser argues further that attempts to solve this problem have sometimes led theists to mis-define ‘omnipotence’ and to corrupt 'a perfectly good word.' Interestingly, Funkhouser does not take the upshot of his argument to be that there is something conceptually amiss with the concept of God, but only with its explication by philosophers of religion. Funkhouser has no particular beef with the view that God is necessarily good and has whatever power is consistent with that, provided that such power is seen to fall short of omnipotence. I am not persuaded by Funkhouser’s argument. I see no philosophical, semantic, or even lexical difficulties in assigning to God the properties of necessary goodness and omnipotence. This paper is an attempt to explain why."
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    Sudduth, Michael C.


    Is It Coherent to suppose that there Exists an Omniscient Timeless Being?

    "In the present paper I want to consider the plausibility of an argument against the doctrine of divine timelessness...After considering two forms of this argument, I will argue that if either of the forms of argument is sound, then parallel arguments can be constructed to show that if God is a temporal being, he cannot be omniscient, for there will always be things even a temporal God cannot know...After this I shall subject the doctrine of divine omniscience to closer scrutiny in the light of Anselmian perfect being theology. I will conclude that it is coherent to suppose that there exists a maximally perfect, timelessly omniscient being."
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    Wierenga, Edward



    "Theists typically hold that God is almighty or all powerful, that, in some sense, he is able do anything. But theists are usually quick to add that there are many things God cannot do...The diversity of inabilities allegedly compatible with being omnipotent may seem to make the giving of a clear account of omnipotence a hopeless task...I think it is possible to give a coherent account of omnipotence without landing in hopeless confusions. My strategy is to begin by categorizing some of the limitations on ability that are compatible with being omnipotent. I then introduce two technical concepts, and in terms of them I formulate a definition of omnipotence. Finally, I show that this definition accords with my initial list of conditions on omnipotence and that it can be defended against objections."
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    Wierenga, Edward



    "Omnipresence is the property of being present everywhere. According to western theism, God is present everywhere. Divine omnipresence is thus one of the divine attributes, although it has attracted less philosophical attention than such attributes as as omnipotence, omniscience, or being eternal. There is, however, an interesting philosophical question involving omnipresence: How can a being who is supposed to be immaterial be present at or located in space? Philosophers have attempted to answer that question by proposing an account of omnipresence in terms that could apply to an immaterial being. This essay will examine some of the details of that approach."
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    Zagzebski, Linda



    "My thesis is that omniscience entails a property I call omnisubjectivity. I will explain this property in more detail as the paper progresses, but briefly, it is the property of consciously grasping with perfect accuracy and completeness the first-person perspective of every conscious being. I will use the model of human empathy to argue that omnisubjectivity does not require identity with every conscious being. This property explains how an omniscient being is able to distinguish between first person and third person knowledge of the same fact, and it explains how an omniscient being is able to know what it is like for conscious creatures to have their distinctive sensations and emotions, moods, and attitudes. I will then argue that omnisubjectivity has interesting theological, moral, and metaphysical implications."