Created Corruptible, Raised Incorruptible

The Importance of Hylomorphic Creationism to the Free Will Defense

Authored by: Nathan A. Jacobs

The Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology

Print publication date:  February  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472410931
eBook ISBN: 9781315613673
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041320


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In a previous article, I argued that the Eastern Church fathers hold in common the view that all creatures, including “immaterial” spirits, are hylomorphic, or matter-form composites, and I went on to defend this position. 1 In this chapter, I expand this insight to address two rather thorny issues surrounding the problem of evil. The first issue centers on the most common staple of Christian replies to the problem, namely, the free will defense. According to this defense, because free choice entails moral self-determination, not even God can unilaterally determine a will that is free. 2 One significant challenge to the free will defense, however, is the commitment in historical Christian orthodoxy to the twin claims that God is free but God is also incorruptible (i.e., void of the very possibility of decay, both ontological and moral). This theological commitment seems to contradict the equally common commitment that free choice necessitates the possibility of evil. For, if God is free but morally determined, why is it not possible for creatures to be free but morally determined?

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