Moral Perfection

Laura Garcia

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596539
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Moral Perfection

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In the 1970s, Alvin Plantinga made use of the Anselmian concept of God to develop a modal version of Anselm's ontological argument for God's existence. His definition describes the God of perfect-being theology as one that exists necessarily and is essentially omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect, and this definition has become standard in discussions about the nature and existence of the God of western theism. Hence, these discussions operate with a relatively thin conception of God, since many of the key terms in the definition, including essential moral perfection, remain undefined. Philosophers find this attractive in some ways, since it permits (even invites) an a priori approach to explicating the divine perfections. One drawback for the minimalist approach, however, is that it can impede the effort to connect philosophical theology with religious faith. This article discusses three major ways of modelling divine moral perfection and considers some of the major objections to the claim that God is necessarily morally perfect.

Keywords: God; existence; Anselm; philosophical theology; divine perfection

Article.  10888 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Religious Studies

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