Just before Christmas 1999, various prominent public figures, teachers, clergymen and others received a set of ten religious questions from the BBC's Today program. All were predictable save one: “Will there be free will in heaven?” This book addresses this important question.
Simon Gaine sets out the arguments of two modern philosophers, one who concludes that heaven is undesirable because it excludes freedom by excluding the possibility of sin (Wall), and the other who responds that an orthodox notion of heaven in fact implies the real possibility of sin (Donnelly). He shows how such modern concerns have arisen against the background of theologians such as Subrez, who limits freedom in the face of heavenly impeccability, and asks whether a high value placed on freedom can be successfully combined with heavenly impeccability.
He then goes on to investigate the theories of Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, two theologians who hold a high view of freedom in general as well as heavenly impeccability, but they are found wanting. Gaine then introduces an alternative conception of freedom through an account of Servais Pinckaers' connection of two different ideas of freedom (“indifference” and “excellence”) with two different moral theologies. He applies these two conceptions to eschatology. He concludes that the most pleasing theory combines freedom for excellence and an intrinsic theory of impeccability. He develops this suggestion by drawing on and developing some ideas found in Thomas Aquinas.
Gaine combines medieval scholarship with a witty and informed understanding of perennially fascinating questions about human free will in this lucidly written and accessible book.