Does God Intend Death?

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Christopher Tollefsen


In this paper, I argue that God never intends a human being’s death. The core argument is essentially Thomistic. God wills only the good; and human life is always a good, and its privation always an evil. Thus, St. Thomas holds that “God does not will death as per se intended,” and he gives an account of the act of divine punishment that conforms to this claim. However, some further claims of St. Thomas are in tension with this position – particularly his claims as regards the permissibility of intentional killing by agents of the state. I argue that alternative conclusions on these matters are in fact more harmonious with St. Thomas’s claims about God and God’s willing than are his own.
Author Biography

Christopher Tollefsen, University of South Carolina

Christopher Tollefsen
Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208

Christopher Tollefsen is Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. He is the author, with Robert P. George, of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life. His book Lying and Christian Ethics is forthcoming in March 2014 with Cambridge University Press.


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How to Cite
TOLLEFSEN, C. Does God Intend Death?. Diametros, n. 38, p. 193-202, 1 dez. 2013.