AQA Philosophy AS: The Concept of God

The Philosophy section of the website is very much work in progress. Explanatory notes/summaries of the anthology texts will be added first and more critical analysis will be added at a later date.

The first section of the AQA Philosophy of Religion AS course deals with the concept of God. You will be expected to know about the arguments put forward in the following texts:

The divine attributes:


In Part 1, Q25, Article 3 of the Summa Theologica Aquinas addressed the question of whether God is omnipotent and what we actually mean by omnipotence anyway.

Aquinas concludes that God can do anything and everything that creatures within creation can do. Beyond this he can do whatever does not involve a contradiction in terms. However he cannot do that which does involve a contradiction in terms. This does not suggest that he lacks power, rather, he cannot do it because it is not a 'feasible thing'.

The core of Aquinas'  argument is encapsulated in the extract below.

'Therefore, everything that does not imply a contradiction in terms, is numbered amongst those possible things, in respect of which God is called omnipotent: whereas whatever implies contradiction does not come within the scope of divine omnipotence because it cannot have the aspect of possibility. Hence it is better to say that such things cannot be done, than that God cannot do them.'

Issues with claiming that God has these attributes:

George Mavrodes

Mavrodes accepts Aquinas' reasons for saying that even an omnipotent being can only do things which are not self-contradictory. He argued that for God to create a stone too big to lift would be self-contradictory and thus the fact that God cannot do this is no more damaging to his omnipotence than God's inability to draw a square circle.