Volume 90, Issue 4, Fall 2016
R. J. Matava
Francisco Suárez on the Ontological Status of Divine Action
Implications for the Freewill Debate
It has recently been argued that God’s causation of human free choices is best understood in light of Aquinas’s teaching on creation. Such a position is attractive because it provides a way of avoiding the compatibilism of classical interpretations of Aquinas. However, this position may be subject to other flaws. In fact, Francisco Suárez explicitly rejects the view that God’s creative causality can be understood either as the divine essence or as a predicamental relation of the created effect to God. The purpose of this essay is to investigate, first, whether Suárez’s view of efficient causality rules out conceptualizing God’s motion of the will in terms of creation, and second, whether it provides a more plausible alternative. I argue on both points that it does not, and that an error common to both Suárez and his sixteenth-century opponents is one reason to conceptualize divine motion as a kind of creation.