Dependence, Transcendence, and Creaturely Freedom: On the Incompatibility of Three Theistic Doctrines

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Abstract

In this paper I argue for the incompatibility of three claims, each of them quite attractive to a theist. First, the doctrine of deep dependence: the universe depends for its existence, in a non-causal way, on God. Second, the doctrine of true transcendence: the universe is wholly distinct from God; God is separate and apart from the universe in respect of mereology, modes, and mentality. Third, the doctrine of robust creaturely freedom: some creature performs some act such that he could have done other than he in fact did. After laying out the claims, I show that their conjunction has its adherents - most clearly, the medieval Jewish philosopher, Maimonides. I then argue in detail that the claims are in fact incompatible. I conclude with a discussion of which of the claims is best jettisoned, drawing in part on the work of the Absolute Idealist, Mary Calkins.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1099-1127
Number of pages29
JournalMind
Volume130
Issue number520
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Segal 2020.

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