Abstract

Abstract:

Anselm's somewhat rare discussions of divine omnipotence pose an apparent dilemma. On one hand he sometimes seems to suggest that God is limited: there are many things God cannot do such as lie, make the true be false, or do other than the best. On the other hand, where he explicitly analyzes divine omnipotence per se, he could look to be saying that God is too unlimited, for he makes the provocative claim that what is possible and what is necessary is dependent on God's will. Does God, then, transcend the laws of logic? One might fear that Anselm's analysis leads to the conclusion that logic is arbitrary, God can produce the round square, and thus words and concepts cannot apply to God meaningfully. The apparent paradox can be addressed by remembering that Anselm is working within the Neoplatonic tradition. God "must" will the best, because He is the absolute Good. But He wills what He wills with perfect independence and hence with perfect freedom, so He is not limited. Further, He is identical to his willing the best, immutably, eternally and inevitably, including the possible and the necessary. So logic is safe.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1545-3367
Print ISSN
2689-6230
Pages
pp. 69-80
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-27
Open Access
No
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