Creation and the Sovereignty of God
Publication Year: 2012
Creation and the Sovereignty of God brings fresh insight to a defense of God. Traditional theistic belief declared a perfect being who creates and sustains everything and who exercises sovereignty over all. Lately, this idea has been contested, but Hugh J. McCann maintains that God creates the best possible universe and is completely free to do so; that God is responsible for human actions, yet humans also have free will; and ultimately, that divine command must be reconciled with natural law. With this distinctive approach to understanding God and the universe, McCann brings new perspective to the evidential argument from evil.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Table of Contents
Parts of this book draw on previously published work. Chapters 1 and 2 are partly based on Jonathan Kvanvig’s and my “Divine Conservation and the Persistence of the World,” in T. V. Morris, ed., Divine and Human Action (Ithaca: Cornell, 1988), and our “The Occasionalist Proselytizer,” Philosophical Perspectives 5 (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 1991). ...
This book is a study of the concept of God as creator and of problems that attend that concept. In part, it represents an application of insights I hope I have gleaned from my work in the theory of human action. More importantly, it is an exercise in what is often called perfect being theology. ...
1. The Case for a Creator
This book is about the concept of a creator as it has been usually construed in the Western theological tradition, broadly speaking. I wish to explore the idea that the world and all that pertains to it—indeed, anything that exists in any way—owes its being and sustenance to the act of an all-powerful being whose own existence requires no explanation, and whose nature is as perfect...
2. Creation and the Natural Order
If we think the existence of a creator is at all likely, it is worthwhile to try to understand as well as we can the nature of creation, and the relationship between God’s activity as creator and the doings of the things he creates. That can be a challenging task. The common view of creation is pretty ingenuous: we tend to think of God as a temporal being who...
If the argument of the last chapter is correct then the phenomena of the created world owe their entire existence to God as creator, and can therefore be expected to be guided in every detail by divine providence. Some would wish to claim that exercises of free agency on the part of rational creatures should be counted as exceptions to this rule...
4. Evil, Freedom, and Foreknowledge
The argument of the foregoing chapters is in line with what theists have traditionally claimed: that God is the creator of heaven and earth and all that they contain, and that whatever occurs in the universe does so under divine providence—that is, under God’s sovereign guidance and control. But believers usually assert more than this. ...
5. Free Will and Divine Sovereignty
A satisfactory resolution of the problems canvassed in the last chapter can be had in only one way: by according God an active role as creator in the production of human action. To revert to the Openness view would be to give away too much—to accede, in effect, to the anti-theist’s objection that belief in the God of tradition cannot be sustained in the face of the world’s sin and suffering. ...
Traditional belief has it that God’s providential care of the world is complete and meticulous: that each event in the history of creation is governed down to the finest detail by a completely loving and fully engaged Father, who wants only what is best for his creatures. If the previous chapter is correct, theists can uphold that belief and argue at the same time that rational creatures enjoy...
An important aspect of the previous chapter is its emphasis on the fact that sinfulness, in the sense that involves moral blameworthiness, is first and foremost a characteristic of acts of will. This is not to say that culpability can properly be said to pertain only to decision and volition. ...
8. Divine Freedom
There are at least two reasons for preferring a theology that seeks to maximize God’s freedom in his activity as creator. From the point of view of the present project, perhaps the most pressing is that if God is not free, then neither are we. It was claimed in chapter 5 that even though their actions fall under God’s sovereignty...
9. Creation and the Moral Order
The account of the creator we have been developing is one of a God whose activity in making the universe is completely free and spontaneous, constrained by nothing and distinguished by total mastery over all that he creates. If such an account is correct, we should also expect that God will turn out to be the source of morality...
10. Creation and the Conceptual Order
In chapters 8 and 9 we have seen two significant reasons for claiming that God is the creator not only of concrete entities and events that make up our world—things like trees, tornados, sunsets, and persons—but also of the natures of those things. First, such a claim is demanded if we are to hold that God truly creates the world, rather than simply manufacturing it from a plan...
11. Divine Will and Divine Simplicity
The primary purpose of this final chapter is to examine God’s relationship as creator to those universals that characterize his own nature. In part, the motivation for so doing is simply to complete the task, begun in chapter 10, of determining the extent to which God can legitimately be held to be the creator of the of the conceptual order...