Averroes on the Good

As for the people of our nation known as the Mutakallimun, their legal inquiry led them to the position that what God wills has no definite nature and merely turns on what the will--i.e., the will of God (may He be exalted)--lays down for it. According to this, there is nothing beautiful or base other than by fiat. Furthermore, there is no end of man other than by fiat. What brought them to this was their thinking of defending the attributes with which God (may He be exalted!) is described in the Law, to the effect that He is capable of doing whatever He wills, and that it is possible for the divine will to extend to all things, including particulars as well. Hence all things are possible. What happened to them happens often in legal inquiry. That is, God (may He be exalted!) is first described by certain attributes. Then one seeks to make what exists agree with the teaching without upsetting whatever of those attributes has been laid down. But these people are distressed in trying to discover the explanation of this question if these things that they consider clearly evident are as they believe. As a result this leads them to an opinion close to sophistry, very far from the nature of man, and far from the content of the Law.

Averroes, Commentary on Plato's Republic, Ralph Lerner, trans. (Cornell, 1974), 66.22-67.2.

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