Necessity and Freedom in God, Evil, and the Human Response

Özgür Koca

The first part of this paper argues that there is a continuous attempt in Islamic philosophy and Sufi metaphysics to reconcile seemingly contradictory notions of necessity and freedom in God on the premise that if there is necessity in God, this stems from divine perfection—not from an external source or principle, or an internal desire to realize an unrealized potentiality. Thus, God’s acts may be described as simultaneously necessary and free. The second part of the paper will seek to apply this necessitarian and volitional view of divine agency to the problem of evil and discuss the type of human response that this view entails.

About the Presenter

Özgür Koca is an assistant professor of Islamic Studies and Philosophy at Bayan Islamic Graduate School. Koca’s work focuses on the intersection of Islamic theology (kalam), philosophy (falsafa), and spirituality (Sufism) in classical and post-classical Islam. He also examines the implications of these legacies for the realities of modern Islam. This implicates issues of the religion and science debate, pluralism, interreligious discourse, and related areas of inquiry. He is the author of Islam, Causality, and Freedom: From the Medieval to the Modern Era (Cambridge University Press, 2020). He was awarded the Fisher Faculty Teaching Award in 2015 for excellence in teaching. He is currently working on a monograph, tentatively titled: “The Principles and Applications of Islamic Metaphysics.”