Worship and the Problem of Divine Achievement

Faith and Philosophy 38 (1):65-90 (2021)
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Abstract

Gwen Bradford has plausibly argued that one attains achievement only if one does something one finds difficult. It is also plausible that one must attain achievement to be worthy of “agential” praise, praise that is appropriately directed to someone on the basis of things that redound to their credit. These claims pose a challenge to classical theists who direct agential praise to God, since classical theism arguably entails that none of God’s actions are difficult for God. I consider responses to this challenge and commend a view accord- ing to which God’s loving character is not necessitated by God’s nature but is a contingent and difficult achievement. I argue that this view can still satisfy the explanatory ambitions of natural theology.

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John Pittard
Yale University

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