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IAITH AND IHILOSOIHY

VoI. 30 No. 2 AriI 2013 188


AII righls reserved
HIAVINLY IRIIDOM: A RIILY TO COWAN
Timolhy IavI and Kevin Time
In a recenl issue of !"#$% "'( )%#*+,+-%., Sleven Covan caIIs inlo queslion
our success in resonding lo vhal ve caIIed lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Iree-
dom in our earIier IncomalibiIism, Sin, and Iree WiII in Heaven. In lhis
reIy, ve defend our viev againsl Covan's crilicisms.
/'$0+(12$#+'
We vouId Iike lo lhank Sleven Covan for his resonse lo our earIier
aer, IncomalibiIism, Sin, and Iree WiII in Heaven.
1
Our rimary
goaI in lhal aer vas lo rovide a salisfaclory resonse lo lhe IrobIem
of HeavenIy Ireedom. As ve dehne il lhere, lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy
Ireedom is lhe resuIl of a lension in lhe lradilionaI viev of heaven, vhich
incIudes lhe foIIoving lvo lheses:
(i) lhe redeemed in heaven have free viII
and
(ii) lhe redeemed in heaven are no Ionger caabIe of sinning.
Aher Iaying oul lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom, ve discussed and
crilicized four exlanl auemls lo resond lo il. We lhen oered our ovn
resonse lo lhis robIem vhich, ve argued, is beuer lhan lhe olher vievs.
To summarize very briey, ve argued for a version of Iiberlarianism ac-
cording lo vhich an agenl's moraI characler uls conslrainls on lhe aclions
lhal she is caabIe of freeIy choosing lo erform. The redeemed in heaven
are such lhal lheir moraI characler rohibils lhem from choosing any sinfuI
aclion insofar as lhey see no good reason for doing so. Yel since lhis is an
inlernaI (and freeIy formed) conslrainl, ralher lhan an exlernaI one, il does
nol counl againsl lheir being free.
In a recenl issue of !"#$% "'( )%#*+,+-%., Sleven Covan raises a lvo-foId
ob|eclion lo our viev.
2
WhiIe he granls (i) and (ii) of lhe lradilionaI viev,
he caIIs inlo queslion bolh our lrealmenl of comalibiIism as a resonse
1
Timolhy IavI and Kevin Time, IncomalibiIism, Sin, and Iree WiII in Heaven, !"#$%
"'( )%#*+,+-%. 26:4 (Oclober 2009), 398419.
2
Sleven Covan, ComalibiIism and lhe SinIessness of lhe Redeemed in Heaven, !"#$%
"'( )%#*+,+-%. 28:4 (Oclober 2011), 416431. IarenlhelicaI references in lhe lexl refer lo
Covan's arlicIe.
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190 !"#$% "'( )%#*+,+-%.
Given lhal lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom evaorales on lhe com-
alibiIisl viev, vhy did ve see hl lo sel il aside in our revious aer`
riey, ve argued Iike lhis: lhose vho emIoy comalibiIism as a soIulion
lo lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom cannol use lhe Iree WiII Defense
(IWD). This inabiIily lo use lhe IWD makes lhe robIem of eviI more
acule, by vhich ve mean lhal il is harder lo rovide a salisfaclory re-
sonse lo lhe robIem of eviI if comalibiIism is lrue. A resonse lo one
lheoIogicaI robIem lhal makes anolher harder lo soIve is a disadvanlage.
So, comalibiIism has a disadvanlage as a resonse lo lhe IrobIem of
HeavenIy Ireedom. Covan disagrees vilh us on al Ieasl lvo oinls. Iirsl,
he cIaims lhal lhe comalibiIisl, qua comalibiIisl, can use lhe Iree WiII
Defense. Second, he cIaims lhal lhe robIem of eviI is no more acule for
lhe comalibiIisl lhan for lhe incomalibiIisl.
Concerning his hrsl oinl, Covan makes a dislinclion belveen vhal
he caIIs lhe Slrong Version of lhe Iree WiII Defense (IWD
S
) and lhe Weak
Version of lhe Iree WiII Defense (IWD
W
). The Slrong Version cIaims lhal
free viII, in and of ilseIf, is such a greal good lhal il, aII by ilseIf, oul-
veighs aII lhe acluaIIy occurring moraI eviI il makes ossibIe. The Weak
Version, by conlrasl, cIaims onIy lhal free viII is a necessary condilion
for some olher goods lhal, erhas logelher vilh free viII, are such greal
goods lhal lhey oulveigh aII lhe acluaIIy occurring moraI eviI.
Covan argues lhal, vhichever version of lhe Iree WiII Defense is lrue,
lhe erson vho soIves lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom by means of
comalibiIism can arm lhe IWD as a defense. He furlher argues lhal
ve arm lhe Slrong Version, bul lhe Slrong Version is faIse. And he aIso
argues lhal lhe Weak Version is a secihc lye of a generaI Grealer Good
Defense (GGD), and, since lhe GGD is adequale as a defense againsl lhe
IogicaI robIem of eviI, lhere is no good reason lo favor lhe more secihc
IWD
W
. We disagree vilh aII bul lhe cIaim lhal lhe Slrong Viev is faIse.
Consider lhe hrsl cIaim, lhal lhe erson vho soIves lhe IrobIem of Heav-
enIy Ireedom by means of comalibiIism can arm lhe IWD defense. We
lhink lhis is faIse. The individuaI vho soIves lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy
Ireedom by means of comalibiIism asserls lhe lrulh of comalibiIism.
In generaI, if one soIves a robIem by means of roviding a soIulion, lhen
one has lo osil lhe lrulh of lhe soIulion. Iven if lhe soIulion is mereIy a
cIaim of eislemic ossibiIily, one has lo asserl lhal eislemic ossibiIily.
Nov lhe comalibiIisl soIulion rovides comalibiIism, and nol mereIy
il is eislemicaIIy ossibIe lhal comalibiIism is lrue, as lhe soIulion.
And so lhe comalibiIisl soIulion requires lhe osiling of comalibiIism.
Il is because of lhis osiling of lhe lrulh of comalibiIism lhal ve consider
lhe feasibiIily of emIoying lhe IWD given lhe assumlion of lhe lrulh
of comalibiIism.
5
One mighl ask here: does Covan lhink lhal lhe IWD
vorks on lhe assumlion of comalibiIism`
5
Ibid., 401.
!"#$"%&' )*""+,-. # *"/&' 0, 1,2#% 191
The ansver is lhal he lhinks lhe IWD does 345 vork on lhe assum-
lion of comalibiIism. Ior Covan agrees vilh us lhal lhe IWD vorks
onIy if crealures have lhe Iiberlarian freedom lhal makes il ossibIe for
lhem lo sin (418). ul lhen, given lhal a erson vho soIves lhe IrobIem
of HeavenIy Ireedom by osiling comalibiIism assumes lhe lrulh of
comalibiIism, on his viev lhe comalibiIisl faiIs a necessary condilion
for uuing lhe IWD lo vork. Thus, ve deny lhal lhe erson vho soIves
lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom by osiling comalibiIism can emIoy
lhe IWD.
One lhing lo emhasize here is lhal lhere may be dierenl ansvers lo
lhe foIIoving lvo queslions: (i) can a comalibiIisl emIoy lhe IWD and
(ii) can someone vho soIves lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom by means
of osiling lhe lrulh of comalibiIism emIoy lhe IWD. Covan sels oul
lo defend lhe comalibiIisl soIulion, and nol mereIy comalibiIism (417).
ul ve cIaim lhal so Iong as one is osiling comalibiIism as a soIulion,
one is suosing ils lrulh. And so Iong as one suoses ils lrulh, one faiIs
a necessary condilion Covan rovides for emIoying lhe IWD. So ve
concIude lhal, as Iong as one soIves lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom by
means of osiling lhe lrulh of comalibiIism, one faiIs a necessary condi-
lion for emIoying lhe IWD. And so, conlrary lo lhe cIaims of Covan, a
roonenl of lhe comalibiIisl soIulion cannol emIoy lhe IWD.
Consider lhe second cIaim, lhal ve arm lhe Slrong Version of lhe
IWD. Covan argues lhal ve arm lhe Slrong Version, and furlher
cIaims lhal ve arm vhal he caIIs 5
S
, lhe cIaim lhal Iree viII is a greal
good lhal |uslihes lhe exislence of lhe moraI eviI lhal viII occur if il ex-
isls (419). He argues, lhough, lhal 5
S
is faIse, for free viII (underslood
in a Iiberlarian sense), even if an inlrinsic good, is nol inlrinsicaIIy good
enough lo oulveigh even individuaI acls of eviI.
6
In addilion, he says lhal
ve knov for a facl lhal lhe mere good of free viII is 345 lhe reason vhy
God aIIovs eviIs in lhe vorId (420).
We concede lhal 5
S
is faIse. ul vhy lhink lhal ve ever cIaimed il lo be
lrue` Consider lhe evidence Covan marshaIs for his cIaim lhal ve have
5
S
in mind. He vriles:
When IavI and Time vrile lhal free viII . . . is such a greal good lhal il
|uslihes lhe exislence of lhe moraI eviI lhal il makes ossibIe (ciled above),
il vouId aear lhal IWD
S
|vhich incIudes 5
S
j is lhe version of lhe IWD
lhey hoId. (419)
The robIem vilh using lhis assage lo |uslify our accelance of 5
S
is lhal
il is incomIele. The beginning of lhe reIevanl cIause, as Covan quoles
il earIier, is missing here. The quolalion shouId slarl seven vords back
vilh lhe hrase: il is ossibIe lhal lhe exislence of . . . . Covan is su-
orling lhe cIaim lhal ve beIieve 6 from a quolalion in vhich ve say
IossibIy, 6.
6
See Covan, 420n7.
192 !"#$% "'( )%#*+,+-%.
Moreover, bolh limes Covan quoles lhis assagelhe hrsl lime and
lhe second lime in vhich he doesn'l incIude lhe modaI oeralor al lhe
beginning of lhe quolalionhe omils an essenliaI arenlhelicaI. Ior, in
our arlicIe, our fuII senlence is
According lo lhe Iree WiII Defense, lhe reason lhal moraI eviIs do nol con-
lradicl God's essenliaI goodness is lhal il is ossibIe lhal lhe exislence of
free viII ("'( $%+,/ "((#$#+'"* 0++(, 1%#2% *+0#2"**. 3/45#3/ $%"$ ,+6/ "0/'$, %"7/
83// 1#**) is such a greal good lhal il |uslihes lhe exislence of lhe moraI eviI
lhal il makes ossibIe.
7
When lhe vhoIe senlence is considered, il shouId be cIear lhal il is a gross
misunderslanding of our viev lo cIaim lhal, in lhis senlence, ve are as-
serling lhal free viII . . . is such a greal good lhal il |uslihes lhe exislence
of lhe moraI eviI lhal il makes ossibIe. Il is onIy aher excising lhe aren-
lhelicaI, and, lhen in a second surgery, cuuing farlher lhrough lhe modaI
rehx lo our cIaim, lhal Covan arrives al a slalemenl lhal couId be used
lo defend his oinl.
Consider lhe lhird cIaim. Covan cIaims lhal lhe Iree WiII Defense
is |usl a secies of a broader, erfeclIy adequale resonse lo lhe IogicaI
robIem of eviI: lhe Grealer Good Defense (GGD). The IWD says lhal il
is ossibIe lhal lhere is a grealer good (free viII) vhich requires lhe os-
sibiIily of eviI for ils acluaIizalion. The GGD says lhe same lhing, excel
il Ieaves oul lhe arenlhelicaI. olh vork equaIIy veII in defealing lhe
IogicaI robIem of eviI, says Covan, so vhal's so seciaI aboul keeing
lhe IWD`
In resonse, lhe IWD is so seciaI because free viII is by far lhe mosl
common grealer good aIIuded lo for lhe GGD. Il isn'l lhal lhere are muI-
liIe slandard grealer goods, aII vilh equaI esleem, such lhal laking avay
lhe IWD Ieaves a bevy of olher vorlhy candidales for a grealer good.
Ralher, removing lhe IWD, as ve beIieve roonenls of lhe comalibiIisl
soIulion do, lakes avay lhe cIear fronlrunner. This, ve beIieve, makes lhe
robIem of eviI more acule. And so far as ve can leII, nolhing in Covan's
reIy changes lhis facl.
Covan's second main oinl in resonse lo our cIaims concerning
comalibiIism as a resonse lo lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom is lo
argue lhal comalibiIism makes lhe robIem of eviI no more acule lhan
Iiberlarianism does. This is because, he says, God's causing eviI (as lhe
comalibiIisl has il, says Covan) is no more moraIIy odious lhan God's aI-
Ioving eviI (as lhe Iiberlarian has il). Suose lhis is lrue. Iven if il is lrue,
and even if Covan has shovn one asecl in vhich Iiberlarianism and
comalibiIism are equaIIy acule, lhis doesn'l shov lhal comalibiIism
doesn'l make lhe robIem more acule for lhe reason ve give: lhal lhose
vho soIve lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom by osiling lhe lrulh of com-
alibiIism are unabIe lo emIoy lhe IWD.
7
IavI and Time, IncomalibiIism, Sin, and Iree WiII in Heaven, 401 (emhasis
added).
!"#$"%&' )*""+,-. # *"/&' 0, 1,2#% 193
1345678 19:;:<:8=8 ,> ,?9 $:@4
In lhe revious seclion, ve focused on Covan's crilicism of our discus-
sion of lhe comalibiIisl's soIulion lo lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom.
In lhis seclion, ve address his crilicisms of our osilive soIulion. Covan
raises lvo ob|eclions lo our referred accounl of heavenIy freedom. Nei-
lher of lhese ob|eclions, in our viev, is comeIIing.
Covan's hrsl ob|eclion lo our referred accounl, vhich he noles vouId
aIso be an ob|eclion lo }ames Senneu's viev in Is There Ireedom in
Heaven`
8
is as foIIovs:
On bolh accounls, il is argued lhal lo make moraI sense of lhe Iimilalion
on lhe freedom of lhe redeemed in heaven, il musl be lhe case lhal lhe re-
deemed have Iiberlarian freedom al some earIier lime, lhe exercise of vhich
vas causaIIy reIevanl lo lhe formalion of lheir Ialer choice-Iimiling charac-
lers. (428)
Covan is righl lhal our viev requires a lracing-sensilive version of Iiber-
larianism. In a assage lhal Covan quoles, ve vrole: On lhe viev ve
are advancing, if a non-divine agenl is free and has a moraI characler lhal
recIudes sin, lhere musl have been a rior lime vhen lhe agenl vas free
and didn'l have a moraI characler lhal recIudes sin.
9
Resonding lo lhis
assage, Covan vriles:
In a foolnole, lhey admil, The quaIiher 'non-divine' here is needed due lo
issues arising from lhe freedom of God HimseIf. IxaclIy! The quaIiher is
needed given vhal ve beIieve aboul God's ovn freedom and lheir need
lo defend Iiberlarian freedom for human beings. ul from a comalibiIisl
erseclive, an insislence on lhis asymmelry can onIy be seen as queslion-
begging. A comalibiIisl can say (lhis one A3@8 say) lhal God's kind of free-
dom is a modeI for our freedom and God's freedom doesn'l Iook a vhoIe Iol
Iike Iiberlarian freedom, al Ieasl nol lhe fuII-bIovn kind lhal incIudes lhe
abiIily lo sin. (429)
In resonse lo lhis ob|eclion, ve hrsl deny lhal ve are begging lhe ques-
lion, ve lhen consider a reIaled charge lhal Covan mighl mean inslead,
and ve hnaIIy nole a dicuIly in inlerreling lhe cIaim.
Concerning lhe charge of queslion-begging, vhal is lhe queslion being
begged, and vhom are ve begging il againsl` Our cIaim begs lhe queslion
from a comalibiIisl erseclive, so ve lake il lhal vhal ve've done here
is beg lhe queslion againsl lhe comalibiIisl. And vhal ve've inarori-
aleIy assumed, ve suose, is lhe deniaI of comalibiIism. Il is hard lo
say exaclIy vhal begging lhe queslion amounls lo in generaI, bul il is al
Ieasl somelhing Iike assuming your concIusion as a remise, or emIoying
lhe concIusion as evidence for a remise, or emIoying a remise lhal
one vouId arm onIy if one aIready armed lhe concIusion. Somelhing
Iike lhal. Nov, al lhe oinl in our revious aer vhere ve rovide lhis
8
}ames Senneu, Is There Ireedom in Heaven` )5:;B 56A /B:C383DBE 16 (1999), 6982.
9
IavI and Time, IncomalibiIism, Sin, and Iree WiII in Heaven, 415.
194 !"#$% "'( )%#*+,+-%.
foolnole, ve are more lhan a dozen ages asl our lrealmenl of comali-
biIism, and our cIaim: Thus, in vhal foIIovs, ve viII roceed under lhe
assumlion of lhe lrulh of incomalibiIism.
10
Al lhis oinl in lhe aer,
ve are nol arguing againsl lhe comalibiIisl. And so lhe charge lhal ve
have begged a queslion againsl lhe comalibiIisl misses vhal il is ve are
doing in lhe aer al lhal lime.
Ierhas vhal Covan means here is lhal lhe asymmelry belveen hov
ve undersland divine and human freedom is a lheorelicaI disadvanlage,
ralher lhan lhal ve are begging lhe queslion againsl lhe comalibiIisl.
11

DeveIoing a fuII accounl of (i) vhal God's freedom is Iike and (ii) hov
our freedom is unIike God's freedom is obviousIy a ro|ecl for anolher
lime.
12
NeverlheIess, ve lhink lhere are a number of reasons vhy il is
lhal God's freedom does nol require some rior lime al vhich God couId
have sinned, vhereas ours does require rior abiIily lo sin. Iirsl, God has
his moraI characler essenliaIIy and, as ve argued in our earIier aer, an
agenl's moraI characler uls conslrainls on vhal choices he is caabIe of
freeIy choosing. Wilh resecl lo crealureIy agenls, if ve are lo have such a
characler lhal sinfuI olions are no Ionger ossibIe for us lo choose, lhen
ve musl have lhe lime avaiIabIe lo deveIo such a characler. Second, if
God is immulabIe, as ve lhink he is, he'd be unabIe lo change his moraI
characler over lime. Our accounl, hovever, is buiIl uon lhe need for free
crealures lo deveIo lheir moraI characler inlo one lhal is hl for heaven.
Third, God's alemoraIily renders robIemalic lhe nolion lhal God has a
hislory. IinaIIy, if one is auracled lo lhe nolion lhal God is simIe, lhen
lhere is no dislinclion belveen God and God's moraI characler: God is
idenlicaI vilh his moraI characler. Nol onIy God's moraI characler bul
God himseIf vouId be vorse if he had lhe abiIily lo freeIy sin. Insofar as
crealures are mulabIe, lemoraI, and melahysicaIIy comIex, ve shouId
execl our free viII lo be dierenl lhan divine freedom in imorlanl
vays. WhiIe ve haven'l argued for lhese doclrines regarding lhe divine
nalure, ve lhink lhal lhis quick discussion is sucienl lo shov lhal lhe
asymmelry is veII molivaled. And ve see no reason lo say lhal lhe asym-
melry belveen divine and human freedom regarding lhe abiIily lo sin is
queslion-begging.
IinaIIy, il's nol cIear lo us vhal fuII-bIovn is suosed lo add in lhis
conlexl. If freedom is fuII-bIovn |usl in case il incIudes lhe abiIily lo sin,
lhen il's lriviaIIy lrue on our viev lhal lhe redeemed in heaven don'l have
10
Ibid., 401.
11
A referee suggesls lhis as a more charilabIe reading of Covan's cIaim.
12
One of us is acliveIy vorking on lhis ro|ecl, see Time's forlhcoming book !/00 1#**
#' )%#*+,+-%#2"* 3%0+*+4. (Ioomsbury). Ior a skelch of hov divine freedom is bolh Iike and
unIike human freedom, see Kevin Time, An AnaIogicaI Aroach lo Divine Ireedom,
)/+200(#'4, +5 $%0 6/#,% )%#*+,+-%#2"* 7+2#0$., ed. Susan GouIber (2012). And as Covan him-
seIf noles in a foolnole, ve're nol lhe hrsl lo argue aIong lhese Iines: AnseIm, among olhers,
has aIready done so. See his foolnole 25 on ages 428429. See aIso Kalherin Roger's 8',0*9
+' !/00(+9 (Oxford: Oxford Universily Iress, 2008), arlicuIarIy chaler 10.
!"#$"%&' )*""+,-. # *"/&' 0, 1,2#% 195
fuII-bIovn freedom. ul lhen neilher does God, so ve don'l see lhal as
robIemalic. In facl, in our originaI aer, ve gave lhree reasons vhy one
shouId re|ecl lhe viev lhal free viII aIvays requires lhe abiIily lo do mor-
aIIy eviI aclions, ve von'l rehash lhose reasons here.
13
If fuII-bIovn is
inslead suosed lo indicale a degree of goodness such lhal fuII-bIovn
freedom is suerior lo non-fuII-bIovn freedom, lhen ve deny lhal lhe
abiIily lo sin is arl of vhal makes freedom fuII-bIovn. As ve indicaled
in our earIier aer, since God is an essenliaIIy omnibenevoIenl being,
He cannol freeIy sin. And ve see no reason lo insisl lhal lhe redeemed
viII have a kind of freedom lhal God does nol have, arlicuIarIy vhen
lhe having of lhal freedom indicales a faiIing of moraI characler in lhe re-
deemed. Iurlhermore, ve see no reason vhy one shouId |udge freedom-
Ius-abiIily-lo-sin as inherenlIy beuer lhan freedom-minus-abiIily-lo-sin.
If, as erfecl being lheoIogy hoIds, God is essenliaIIy moraIIy erfecl, lhen
lhere is a range of sinfuI aclivilies lhal God cannol do, ve don'l lhink lhal
God's erfeclion is undermined by nol having lhe abiIily lo sin. Granled,
one needs lo have an accounl of (i) vhal God's freedom is Iike and (ii) hov
our freedom is unIike God's freedom. We have oered lhe beginnings of
such an accounl above.
Covan's second and hnaI ob|eclion lo our viev auacks our cIaim lhal
lhe bIessed in heaven mighl have aIlernale moraIIy reIevanl ossibiIilies
oen lo lhem. He vriles:
My second ob|eclion is aimed al IavI's and Time's accounl of moraIIy reI-
evanl aclions in heaven. They argue lhal lhe redeemed in heaven can have
Iiberlarian freedom desile nol being abIe lo sin as Iong as lhey can freeIy
choose belveen muIliIe good olions lhal are moraIIy reIevanl in a vay
lhal makes lhe one vho does lhem moraIIy beuer lhan one vho doesn'l.
IavI and Time suggesl lhal 345676789:;87< :=;>8?3 vouId hl lhe biII. (429)
A smaII oinl hrsl. If ve read A as Iong as lo imIy lhe lrulh of if
A, lhen , lhen Covan's descrilion of our viev is faIse.
14
We do nol
cIaim lhal lhe redeemed can have Iiberlarian freedom so Iong as lhey can
freeIy choose belveen muIliIe moraIIy reIevanl olions. On our viev,
lhey vouId sliII counl as free even if lhey had no moraIIy reIevanl olions
avaiIabIe.
15
Thal said, many desire freedom lo be non-lriviaI, or signihcanl,
or moraIIy reIevanl in some vay, and ve aueml lo meel lhis desire by
roviding a dehnilion of moraI reIevance and an accounl of hov choices
can be moraIIy reIevanl in heaven insofar as lhere can sliII be a grading of
good and beuer aclions lo erform.
13
See IavI and Time, IncomalibiIism, Sin, and Iree WiII in Heaven, 414.
14
This seems lo us lo be a slandard reading of lhe hrase A as Iong as . If lhe lickel
agenl says you can y as Iong as you have a lickel, and you do nol have a lickel, il seems
reasonabIe lo concIude lhal you cannol y. ul lhal inference vorks onIy if lhe as Iong as
funclions in lhe vay ve read il.
15
See, for inslance, IavI and Time, IncomalibiIism, Sin, and Iree WiII in Heaven,
408 and 414415.
196 !"#$% "'( )%#*+,+-%.
Covan beIieves lhal suererogalory aclions viII nol vork lo rovide a
dislinclion belveen moraIIy reIevanl ob|ecls for lhe redeemed lo choose
freeIy among, given some olher lhings ve say. Ior ve say lhal vhiIe lhe
redeemed have erfecled characlers, insofar as lhey are delerminaleIy
and unambiguousIy on lhe mean vilh resecl lo every virlue, and are so
habilualed in lhe virlues lhal lhey couIdn'l acl conlrary lo lhe mean, lhey
mighl sliII be said lo grov in virlue insofar as lhere may be no uer Iimil
on lhe lenacily vilh vhich lhey cIing lo lhe mean. Then ve vrile:
If ve lhink aboul cIinging lo lhe good ralher lhan cIinging lo lhe mean, ve
can say lhal lhrough lhe everIasling years lhal lhe bIessed send vilh God,
lhey are neverendingIy coming ever cIoser lo Him, vho is Goodness ilseIf,
ever cIinging more lenaciousIy lo Him.
16
Covan cIaims lhal lhe redeemed viII see lhal lhey can cIing more le-
naciousIy lo lhe mean of a arlicuIar virlue by acling in accord vilh lhal
virlue. Iurlher, lhe suererogalory aclions viII bring one lo cIing more le-
naciousIy lo a mean lhan lhe mereIy obIigalory aclions viII. IinaIIy, if lhe
redeemed reason as ve do in lhe immedialeIy receding bIock quolalion,
lhey viII see lhal lhey viII cIing more lenaciousIy lo God lhe more suer-
erogalory aclions lhey erform. ul vho among lhe redeemed vouIdn'l
vanl lo cIing as lenaciousIy as ossibIe lo God` And so lhey viII eilher
viev lhe Iess-lhan-suererogalory aclions as nol choice-vorlhy, given
lheir ardenl desire for cIoseness vilh God, or lhey viII viev lhe so-caIIed
suererogalory choices as obIigalory insofar as lhey mighl viev il as lheir
obIigalion lo grov in cIoseness lo God. Covan vriles:
In eilher casevhelher oul of a sense of obIigalion or an overriding desire
for bealilude, or bolhil vouId foIIov lhal none of lhe redeemed in heaven
couId refrain from neverendingIy coming cIoser lo Him by erforming
lhe suererogalory aclions lhal IavI and Time describe. If lhis ursuil is
obIigalory (as I suggesl il mighl be), lhen lhe so-caIIed suererogalory ac-
lions lurn oul nol reaIIy lo be suererogalory aher aII. ul, even if lhey are
nol obIigalory and are lruIy suererogalory, lhey cannol be IiberlarianIy
free aclions. Ior no redeemed erson in heaven, given his moraIIy erfecl
characler (in IavI's and Time's sense |lhal of being erfeclIy on lhe
mean of a virluej), couId conceivabIy refrain from doing lhem. (431)
In resonse lo lhis argumenl, nole lhal our quolalion is a condilionaI,
#/ ve lhink aboul cIinging lo lhe good . . . . If Covan has in facl shovn
lhal somelhing unlovard foIIovs from lhe consequenl of lhe condilionaI,
lhen ve can resond vilh a Modus ToIIens and deny lhe anlecedenl of
lhe condilionaI as veII. Whal Covan has shovn, in lhal case, is lhal ve
shouIdn'l lhink of cIinging lo lhe mean as cIinging lo lhe good. Or er-
has he has shovn lhal even if ve do lhink of cIinging lo lhe mean as
cIinging lo lhe good, ve shouIdn'l lhink of lhal good being cIung lo as
Goodness ilseIflhal is, God. Thal is a usefuI lhing lo knov, bul neilher il
16
Ibid., 416.
!"#$"%&' )*""+,-. # *"/&' 0, 1,2#% 197
nor lhis argumenl faIsihes our condilionaI. If ve resond in lhis fashion,
lhen lhe molivalion lhal Covan gives for lhe bIessedneverendingIy
coming cIoser lo GodvouId be removed. They vouIdn'l be abIe lo come
cIoser lo God by suererogalory aclions, and so lhe molivalion for seeing
such aclions as obIigalory or eminenlIy choice-vorlhy vouId be missing.
Iul olhervise, ve can deny lhal lhe redeemed acluaIIy do become cIoser
lo God in heaven, vhich is sucienl lo meel Covan's second ob|eclion,
vilhoul having lo backlrack on anylhing ve said in our revious arlicIe.
In shorl, lhis second ob|eclion lo our osilive accounl largels a non-
Ioad-bearing asserlion in our originaI arlicIe. Il vas incIuded because ve
lhoughl lhe image vas, veII, nice. ul lhe image, and lhe asserlion, are nol
arls of lhe hiIosohicaI lheory ve ul forvard. And even if, in lhe end,
ve have lo say lhal lhe nice image is nol lrue lo reaIilylhe Redeemed
do nol cIing ever more lighlIy lo God in heavenlhis does nol faIsify any
cIaim ve made, nol even lhe non-Ioad-bearing condilionaI asserlion.
17
1345678934
In lhis aer ve have considered lhe cIaims Covan made in defense of
emIoying a comalibiIisl soIulion lo lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Ireedom,
as veII as his ob|eclions lo our ovn osilion. We have argued lhal, conlra
Covan, ve did nol arm lhe Slrong Version of lhe Iree WiII Defense in
our earIier arlicIe. We have aIso argued lhal Covan's hrsl ob|eclion lo our
osilive accounllhal lhe asymmelry belveen God's freedom and fuII-
bIovn human freedom begs lhe queslion againsl lhe comalibiIislfaiIs.
IinaIIy, ve have argued lhal Covan's second ob|eclion lo our osilive ac-
counllhal suererogalive aclions cannol rovide for moraIIy reIevanl
freedom, given olher lhings ve sayfaiIs. We concIude, once again, lhal
our roosed viev is lhe besl soIulion lo lhe IrobIem of HeavenIy Iree-
dom.
18
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%3>?:H;8? %EIE>;4; <49=;>89?@
17
An anonymous reader suggesls lhal ve couId say lhal lhe redeemed increase in lhe
number or frequency of suererogalory acls over lime. WhiIe lhis is anolher move lhal ve
mighl make in resonse lo Covan's second ob|eclion here, lhe aragrah above shouId
indicale vhy ve don'l lhink ve need lo go lhis roule.
18
We vouId Iike lo lhanks Thomas IIinl, }ames Senneu, Thomas TaIbou, }erry WaIIs, and
an anonymous referee for heIfuI commenls on earIier drahs of lhis aer. Work on lhis
aer vas generousIy suorled by lhe Nolre Dame Cenler for lhe IhiIosohy of ReIigion
and lhe TemIelon Ioundalion, bolh in lhe form of AnaIylic TheoIogy Summer Sliends
for lhe aulhors and in lhe form of a year-Iong AnaIylic TheoIogy Research IeIIovshi for
one of lhe aulhors.