Brian Davies and Denys Turner on God and Evil

The question of God and evil is more complex than I ever knew. Be sure to listen to Turner’s response to Davies.

The book being discussed is Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil.

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3 Responses to Brian Davies and Denys Turner on God and Evil

  1. Matthew Livermore says:

    Reblogged this on Philosophy of Religion and TOK.


  2. Karen says:

    Very enlightening discussion and, for sure, . . . Aquinas’ apophaticism about God resonates as Orthodox, whereas the view of “God” presented in the thought of the contrasting contemporary “philosophical theists” does not. I’m not at all sure how God’s creation including genuine creaturely freedom, hence the logical possibility of evil, makes Him the ultimate “cause” in Aquinas of evil in its perpetration or actualization by free creatures. I speculate perhaps my difficulty with Aquinas here is that the meaning of “logical cause” cannot be construed in any way analogous to ontological cause, particularly as an Orthodox view does not understand evil as having an ontological existence of its own, but as David Bentley Hart says, is an “ontological wasting disease,” a sort of “parasite,” on the good God has created, which is also to say it is a contingency with no existence of its own apart from the existence of Creation itself, and in Aquinas’ language, a privation of the good). Aquinas’ language of making God the ultimate “cause” of evil because He created a world in which it is possible, while He could have created one in which it was not (and has, i.e., heaven), anyway, is a problem for me. Somewhere in there, it seems to me, must be a theological (and logical?) error of assumption, but I’m not capable of identifying and articulating what it is. I did also appreciate the questions and observations the third speaker (whose name I didn’t catch) raised. Thanks for posting this.


    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Karen, with reference to God’s responsibility for evil done, Davies explains that such evil “is nothing but a failure to choose what is good. But a failure such as this cannot be thought of as created by God. It is, so we might say, brought about by God insofar as he brings about a world in which freely choosing individuals freely choose badly” (Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil, p. 117).


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