All Shall Love Me and Despair!

Murphy on Divine Holiness


  • Sameer Yadav



In Divine Holiness and Divine Action Mark Murphy seeks to establish four key claims: first, that divine holiness consists in a supreme desirability of creaturely union with God and a commensurately supreme creaturely unfittingness for that union; second, that this holiness-concept is grounded in a value-gap between God and creatures which by default motivates God to withdraw from creatures rather than love us or seek our welfare; third, that the love and concern for creaturely welfare exhibited in God’s creating and redeeming is a contingent and freely chosen override of the default stance of holiness; and fourth, that God should be thanked and emulated in virtue of exhibiting a kind of humility in overriding the demands of holiness for our sakes, though not worshipped or praised for this humility, since these latter attitudes should be reserved for necessary rather than contingent features of God. I argue that each of these four claims is mistaken, and further that it is a good thing they are mistaken, because if Murphy’s account were right the appropriate response to God would be neither worship nor thanks but rather abject despair.