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Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 9$
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Lara Buchak, Dean W. Zimmerman, and Philip Swenson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198845492

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198845492.001.0001

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Why Did The One Not Remain Within Itself?

Why Did The One Not Remain Within Itself?

(p.106) 7 Why Did The One Not Remain Within Itself?
Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 9

Mark Johnston

Oxford University Press

God’s creative act, if genuinely free, would ground the existence of creatures without necessitating them. Since God is perfectly responsive to reason, his freely creating requires that he have an adequate but non-coercive reason to create. A coercive reason for an act is one that outweighs the reasons for any alternative act, whereas an adequate reason is one that is not outweighed by the reasons in favor of any alternative act. How, in the absence of an offsetting reason not to create, is God’s adequate reason not also a coercive reason, i.e., one that would necessitate creation? Chapter 7 argues that God’s creating and God’s remaining within himself each have to be understood as determinate manners in which God may affirm his own unsurpassable goodness. Cantorian reflections are then deployed to explain how God’s extra, i.e., un-offset, reason to create does not give him more of a reason to create than to not create. Finally, God’s actual reason to create is identified.

Keywords:   grounding, creation, unsurpassable goodness, ameliorism, Platonic Thomism, Cantor, manifestationism, infinitarian paralysis

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