Divine simplicity as actus purus
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This thesis presents a case for the traditional doctrine of divine simplicity by construing it along the lines that God exists as actus purus. My formulation of divine simplicity draws upon the medieval insight that God is what He is in virtue of what He does in one, eternal act of will with which He is identical. In chapter I, I survey the contemporary literature on divine simplicity. In chapter II, I critique Alvin Plantinga??s Platonic theory of the divine attributes as formulated in Does God Have a Nature? I contend it brings with it the cost of abandoning the doctrine of God??s aseity, as well as a problematic understanding of the very notion of what it means to claim that God has a particular property. In chapter III, I provide rejoinders to all of Plantinga??s defeaters against divine simplicity. I argue that by understanding the origin of God??s attributes to be the result of what He does, Plantinga??s two major criticisms against divine simplicity fail. In chapter IV, I develop a viable theory of divine simplicity, given an actus purus conception of God, and I formulate a number of arguments supporting it. By drawing upon the resources of action theory, I clarify, in detail, what exactly it means to claim that God is identical with His act of will. And I demonstrate the fruitfulness of an actus purus construal of divine simplicity by showing how it solves a large number of problems that theists face.In the last chapter, I note some of the difficulties with my position due to its commitment to an eternal God, and I suggest some of the ways that these problems can be overcome. However, in addition to showing the difficulties that face my position, I also demonstrate the rich number of implications that follow from it. As such, I seek to demonstrate that the traditional understanding of the divine essence is something that is worthy for theists to embrace and to explore, because it is full of truth and wisdom that deserves to be preserved for later generations to celebrate and enjoy.
Gehring, Allen Stanley, Jr. (2005). Divine simplicity as actus purus. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from