The Power of God

Sophia 49 (4):603-616 (2010)
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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



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Andrew Gleeson
Flinders University

Citations of this work

What is God's Power?Graham Renz - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (3):87-112.
In Defence of Anthropomorphic Theism.Peter Forrest - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (1):105 - 122.
God and Evil: A View from Swansea.Andrew Gleeson - 2012 - Philosophical Investigations 35 (3-4):331-349.

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References found in this work

.R. G. Swinburne - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
The existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Coherence of Theism (revised edition).Richard Swinburne - 1977 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 1979 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Providence and the Problem of Evil.Richard Swinburne - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

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