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Religion and Public ReasonsCollected Essays Volume V$
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John Finnis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580095

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580095.001.0001

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On Creation and Ethics

On Creation and Ethics

(p.179) 11 On Creation and Ethics
Religion and Public Reasons

John Finnis

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores a number of ways in which the ethics implicit in practical reason bear on, illuminate, and are illuminated by the truth that everything of which we have experience (including the whole set of first principles of practical reason) is the result of a transcendent act of creation by a reality that, unlike all other realities, needs no explanation. Since that transcendent act cannot have been other than intelligent, free, and thus personal, there is a basic human good of religio as a harmony between human persons and that transcendent personal reality, and every human choice should be regarded as involving (coherently or incoherently) a willingness to cooperate with the Creator (the fundamental natural love of God). We are each an imago Dei by a freedom of will more radical than that affirmed by modern philosophers or non-Biblical religions. Proportionalist moral theology is incompatible with divine providence and replaces a sound understanding of the significance of intention in Creation and in ethics with a concept (incompatible with divine holiness) of undifferentiated responsibility by causation.

Keywords:   practical reason, creation, free will, good of religion, imago Dei, proportionalism, providence

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