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September 23, Dr. West

Posted on: Nov 8, 2013

Dr. Jason West, Professor of Philosophy and President of Newman Theological College, will present on September 23, 16:00 in room HA 015.

“Without me you can do nothing: Jacques Maritain’s Resolution of the Problem of Evil”

The question of how a good God can create a world in which evil exists is a perennial philosophical and religious problem. In several works Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain (1889-1973) appropriated the thought of Augustine and Aquinas to present an innovative synthesis to address this problem.  Maritain aims to preserve the delicate balance between human freedom and the fundamental priority of God’s causal initiative in the line of good through grace.  However, he argues that in the line of evil, it is the free creature that has the entire initiative, arguing provocatively that evil entails that power of human freedom extends to the “nihilation” of the Divine action within the free agent.  To commit evil is to destroy God’s work that is already taking place within us. The paper intends to show the reasons that led Maritain to this view and the way in which his resolution preserves the balance between human freedom and God’s priority and transcendence better than the typical competing views.