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When we say of a human being that he is, for example, free to read or to refrain from reading the rest of this blog post, we are making a claim that entails that his history as a spatio-temporal individual could take one of at least two alternative courses. In particular, to say that God is free either to create or not create Socrates is to say, first, that God is not compelled either by His own nature or by anything external to Him either to create or not create Socrates, and second, that neither the notion of Socrates existing nor that of Socrates not existing entails any sort of contradiction or inherent impossibility. With it, I have completed the setup for my good tea with art, nature and friendship. A green tea would be a great match for the silver teapot, but during the fall season, a young, raw, wild puerh will bring more warmth. My main recollection of this workshop is spending half of it being sick in the womens restroom, which probably had less to do with the philosophers and more with me being 4 weeks pregnant. There is this crucial difference between my will and Gods, though: Whereas I, being changeable, might in the course of writing this post change my mind and will to do something else instead, God is immutable, and thus cannot change what He has willed from all eternity to create. In short, since by supposition He has willed to create this world, being immutable He cannot do otherwise; but since absolutely He could have willed to create another world or no world at all, He is nevertheless free. For example, it is not absolutely necessary that I write this blog post - I could have decided to do something else instead - but on the supposition that I am in fact writing it, it is necessary that I am. Similarly, it is not absolutely necessary that God wills to create just the world He has in fact created, but on the supposition that He has willed to create it, it is necessary that He does. His most recent book, The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil is probably the best book on the problem of evil now in print. His 1992 book The Thought of Thomas Aquinas is probably the best single volume in print for anyone looking for an overview of the whole range of Aquinass philosophical and theological thinking that is accessible but still sophisticated and informed by contemporary philosophy. For my money, the current (third) edition of his book An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion is the best introduction to the field on the market. Davies is one of the most important contemporary philosophers of religion writing from a Thomistic point of view, or any point of view for that matter. We might also emphasize a point that, while somewhat tangential to the aspect of divine freedom Bill Vallicella is concerned with, is still crucial to understanding that freedom and very much in the spirit of Davies approach. It seems to me that Davies point about negative theology here is correct as far as it goes, though incomplete. Davies response to this sort of objection in the Cambridge Companion article is to suggest that it rests on a misunderstanding of the claim that God is free, at least as that claim is understood by a thinker like Aquinas. Brian Davies article Simplicity (as in divine simplicity, the subject of an earlier post) appears in the new Cambridge Companion to Christian Philosophical Theology, edited by Charles Taliaferro and Chad Meister. For Davies, the claim that God creates freely ought instead to be understood as a statement of negative theology, a claim about what God is not rather than a claim about what He is. On classical theism, God is libertarianly free: although he exists in every metaphysically possible world, he does not create in every such world, and he creates different things in the different worlds in which he does create. Much of the gameplay in these worlds focuses around earning virtual money to buy virtual goods.