Just this past week the Vatican published a document expressing hope for the salvation of unbaptized infants. (Read about it here). Now, I don’t have a dog in this race, but as a curious onlooker, I wonder whether this portends a shift in the catholic understanding of original sin, baptism and grace.
Book IV of the Consolation begins the discussion of God’s providence and the problem of evil. Boethius has asked why, if God is sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent and good, do evils happen to the virtuous and the vicious escape unpunished (313-315)? Philosophy’s counterargument will attempt to show that this is not actually the case, but rather the virtuous are always rewarded and the vicious always punished, even within this life—there is no discussion of final judgment, heaven or hell in the first two chapters.
[The following was my response to an exam at my graduate program. The idea of this exam is that it is unprepared and ex tempore. One has 4 hours to write a response to one of three very broad question on the nature of philosophy. The title of this post indicates the question that I chose to answer and the body of the post indicates my response to it. I post it on the off chance that somebody is morbidly curious as to my own philosophical opinions.]
Here’s an interesting little gem from that tenacious teutonic rabblerouser I came across in an article on the history of the doctrine of transubstantiation. I post it for your edification, amusement and amazement.
There is now an electronic edition of the works of Grossteste available online.
Having proven that all things seek the good and that God is the good, the conversation turns in book III, prose XII to the theme of God’s governance over the world, preparing us for the discussion of providence and the existence of evil in later books.
Philosophy argues for three attributes of God’s governance. First, God’s governance is good, insofar as God has been shown to be the good himself. Second, God’s governance is voluntary. According to Philosophy, all things “are ruled voluntarily” by God’s governance insofar as they seek their own good, which is ultimately God himself (301). Therefore, nothing “while remaining true to its own nature would try to go against God” (303). Third, God’s governance is irresistible.
This is slightly off topic, but might be of interest to some of you. My friend David posted a sentence from Barth’s Romans commentary which, by the title of the post, David felt undermined the claims of the intelligent design movement. There have been several comments on the post exploring the themes of natural theology, the role of the Christian philosopher and the provability of the existence of God, including one by yours truly.
If you would like to contribute some thoughts, please leave them at David’s blog.