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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2021

Laura Frances CallahanOrcid-ID
Pages 26-44

Could God Love Cruelty?
A Partial Defense of Unrestricted Theological Voluntarism

One of the foremost objections to theological voluntarism is the contingency objection. If God’s will fixes moral facts, then what if God willed that agents engage in cruelty? I argue that even unrestricted theological voluntarists should accept some logical constraints on possible moral systems—hence, some limits on ways that God could have willed morality to be—and these logical constraints are sufficient to blunt the force of the contingency objec­tion. One constraint I defend is a very weak accessibility requirement, related to (but less problematic than) existence internalism in metaethics. The theo­logical voluntarist can maintain: Godcouldn’t have loved cruelty, and even though he could have willed behaviors we find abhorrent, he could only have done so in a world of deeply alien moral agents. We cannot confidently declare such a world unacceptable.

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