A Thomistic account of divine providence and human freedom
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This thesis presents a Thomistic account of divine providence and human freedom. I defend and develop the traditional view by adopting some contemporary interpretations of it. I argue that the Thomist solution provides an idea that divine providence is compatible with libertarian freedom. In the first chapter I provide the definition of divine providence, which is GodÃ¢ÂÂs continuing action in preserving his creation. In another word, not only does God create the universe and conserve it in existence at every moment, but he also guides it according to his purpose. In the second chapter, I critically examine three solutions to the problem of providence and human freedom. They are compatibilism, open theism, and Molinism. I argue that the solutions are unsatisfactory in that they too easily give up some of the important doctrines concerning God and humans. In Chapter III, I develop a Thomistic account of divine providence and human freedom. The Thomistic theory, I argue, well preserves traditional doctrines concerning both God and humans without damaging either providence or libertarian freedom for humans. In particular, I briefly examine some characteristics of God, which are timelessness and his activity as the First Cause. Based on these features of GodÃ¢ÂÂs nature, I show how human beings enjoy entire freedom in the libertarian sense although God has complete sovereignty over human free choices in the world. If the present view is correct, what makes it less attractive is that the theory seems to make God the author of sin. So I finally deal with the problem of moral responsibility and the problem of evil and sin, showing that humans, not God, are the author of sin. I contend that God wills that humans sin but he has a certain purpose for doing so within his providence. But that never destroys human freedom, so humans are responsible for their decisions and actions. Within the Thomistic explanation we can have a logically coherent view of compatibility of divine providence with libertarian freedom of humans. In the last chapter, I summarize my argument and deal with some implications of it.
Lim, Joung Bin (2005). A Thomistic account of divine providence and human freedom. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from