Classical Theism And The Problem Of Evil

Edward Feser, in his book on Aquinas, writes about a conceptual problem inherent in posing the problem of evil to classical theism:

Third, as Brian Davies has emphasized, much discussion of the problem of evil seems to presuppose that God is a kind of moral agent who has certain duties which (so it is alleged) he has failed to live up to. But this way of thinking simply makes no sense given Aquinas’s conception of God. For only creatures with the sorts of limitations we have can coherently be described as having moral duties. For example, given that we depend on other people for our well-being and they depend on us, we have certain obligations towards each other; given that we have certain potentials the realization of which is good for us, potentials which require a certain amount of effort to realize, we have a duty to make that effort; and so forth. But as Pure Act and Being Itself, God has none of these dependencies, potentials, or limitations, and thus there is no sense to be made of the suggestion that he either has or lacks this or that moral virtue or has lived up to or failed to live up to this or that moral obligation. Though his possession of intellect and will (or, more precisely, of something analogous to what we call intellect and will in us) entails that he is in some sense “personal” (rather than the sort of impersonal deity familiar from certain Eastern religions), God is nevertheless not “a person” in the sense that we are, with all the limitations that expression implies. [125-126]