It cannot be fitting to blame God

Heythrop Journal 64 (4):517-531 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper argues that it cannot be fitting to blame God. I show that divine immutability, even on a weak conception, implies that God's ethical character cannot change. I then argue that blame aims at a change in the ethical character of the one blamed. This claim is directly intuitive, explains a wide set of intuitions about when blame is unfitting, and is implied by most of the theories blame offered in the philosophical literature. Since blame targeted at God aims to change God's ethical character, an impossibility, such blame is not fitting. I then draw on this conclusion to sketch a new theodicy. I argue that a necessary condition on being blameworthy is that one can be blamed under some possible condition. So, God cannot be blameworthy. Further, I argue that if someone cannot be blameworthy, then they cannot do wrong. Wrong actions tend to make us blameworthy, but since God cannot be blameworthy nothing can tend to make him blameworthy – God cannot do wrong.

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Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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