Berkeley on God's Knowledge of Pain Chapter uri icon


  • Berkeley notes that despite the fact that God does not experience pain passively or by sense as we do, he comprehends what pain is because he is omniscient and the cause of our sensations. Critics have noted, however, that if God causes our ideas of pain, he must know what pain is by modelling our sensations of pain on his own ideas; otherwise, he is a blind agent. After considering accounts by Thomas, Winkler, McCracken, Frankel, Roberts, and Pitcher, the chapter argues that, for Berkeley, Gods comprehension of all things refers to how God knows things not as discrete, unconnected objects but as ideas that are perceivable in harmonious relations. Our experience of pain is thus due not to any divine idea but to our failure to comprehend that harmony.

author list (cited authors)

  • Daniel, S. H.

complete list of authors

  • Daniel, Stephen H

publication date

  • January 2018