Saturday, December 29, 2012


A higher understanding of human freedom, however, is inseparable from a definition of human nature. To be free is to be able to flourish as the kind of being one is, and so to attain the ontological good toward which one's nature is oriented; freedom is the unhindered realization of a complex nature in its proper end (natural and supernatural), and this is consumate liberty and happiness. The will that chooses poorly, then - through ignorance, maleficence, or corrupt desire - has not thereby become freer, but has further enslaved itself to forces that prevent it from achieving its full expression.   And it is this richer understanding of human freedom that provides us some analogy to the freedom of God. For God is infinite actuality, the source and end of all being, the eternally good, for whom mere arbitrary "choice"-- as among possibilities that somehow exceed his "present" actuality-- would be a deficiency, a limitation placed upon his infinite power to be God. His freedom is the impossibility of any force, pathos, or potentiality interrupting the perfection of his nature or hindering him in the realization of his own illimitable goodness, in himself and in his creatures. To be "capable" of evil-- to be able to do evil or to be affected by an encounter with it-- would in fact be an incapacity in God; and to require evil to bring about his good ends would make him less than the God he is. The object of God's will is his own infinite goodness, and it is an object perfectly realized, and so he is free." (p.71-72, David Bently Hart "The Doors of the Sea")


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