The Temporality of Divine Freedom

by James W. Felt

James W. Felt, S.J., is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Santa Clara, having received the Ph.D. from Saint Louis University in 1965. He has published “Whitehead and the Bifurcation of Nature,” Modern School-man 45 (1968), “Invitation to a Philosophic Revolution,” New Scholasticism 45 (1971).

The following article appeared in Process Studies, pp. 252-262, Vol. 4, Number 4, Winter, 1974 . Process Studies is published quarterly by the Center for Process Studies, 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


Dr. Felt calls attention to a peculiar aspect of one the arguments used to support the “societal” view. He thinks it betrays an inadequacy in all current Whiteheadian views which has not been appreciated.

"I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them." (Hosea 14:4.)

A chief attraction of process philosophy for Christian thinkers has been its ability to articulate in a new way the relationship of God to the world. By contrast, traditional philosophy tends to emasculate texts like the above, construing them as mere anthropomorphisms, since obviously Gad cannot be described in emotional and temporal terms -- or so the doctrine goes, despite massive evidence of religious experience to the contrary.

Even in process philosophy, however, skies are not all blue when it comes to talking about God. There is a deep cleavage between those who agree with Whitehead in describing God as a single actual entity, nontemporal in his primordial nature and everlasting in his consequent nature (the "entitative" view), and those who prefer with Charles Hartshorne to regard God as a personally ordered temporal society of successive occasions (the "societal" view). Though I shall speak in terms of the entitative view, towards which I incline, what I have to say has nothing to do with debating the above issue since it will apply equally well to the societal view. I wish rather to call attention to a peculiar aspect of one of the arguments used to support the latter view, since I think it betrays an inadequacy in all current Whiteheadian views which has not been appreciated.

Delwin Brown, supporting the societal view, writes: "On the entitative view, God is free but once (even if, as we shall consider later, ‘once’ is to be construed in some unique nontemporal sense). This single evaluative adjustment of possibility permanently fixes the character of God’s consequent commerce with the world" (PS 2:145). He then proceeds to argue that God’s primordial nature, thus understood, is like a computer which once-for-all programs all God’s decisions in history. It follows that even in his freedom God cannot be faithful, since "faithfulness" entails adhering freely through time to one’s previous commitment, and on this view God is "free but once," not temporally free.

Lewis S. Ford reviews the same general objection even more sharply:

If God acts solely in terms of his primordial nature, is not everything simply cut and dried, following inexorably from the implications of that conceptual unity? This is an ancient problem: how does Leibniz’ God, programmed to choose the best of all possible worlds, or even Aquinas’ God, whose will is assimilated to his reason, differ from a computer? (IPQ, 13:355)

Ford retorts, however, that the objection fails to notice that God’s primordial decision was not made at some time in the dim, dark past. Rather, it is not made in time at all. It is nontemporal, hence unrepeatable, but emerges in time insofar as it gradually acquires its definition with respect to the world. What we find in the temporal world is a burgeoning of God’s timeless free decision as seen from our temporal perspective. Only if God’s primordial decision lay in time (in the past), would Whitehead’s position be faced with the Leibnizian difficulties.

Now although Ford’s finely nuanced exposition may answer the objection as Brown posed it, Whitehead’s position (and Ford’s and Brown’s, for that matter) is vulnerable to a more fundamental objection latent beneath Brown’s argument. For even if we grant that God’s free decision is temporally emergent though intrinsically nontemporal, Whitehead seems to grant, and Ford and Brown clearly do, that God’s freedom is solely the freedom of his primordial envisagement. Brown writes: "On either view [the entitative or the societal], . . . God’s freedom lies in his primordial evaluation of possibility" (PS 2:145). I propose to show that insofar as Whitehead holds this view, even implicitly, he reverts to a Leibnizian position which fails to do justice to religious experience.1 I shall also suggest a way in which we can speak significantly of a temporality of God’s freedom.


I have said that Whitehead appears to hold that God’s freedom is solely the freedom of his primordial envisagement. This may seem a hard saying, since in the final chapter of Process and Reality he terms the action of the consequent nature "judgment," "tenderness," and "patience," and that of the superjective nature "love" (PR 525, 532). Nevertheless he also writes: "The perfection of God’s superjective aim, derived from the completeness of his primordial nature, issues into the character of his consequent nature" (PR 524). He even describes God’s patience as "the overpowering rationality of his conceptual harmonization" (PR 526). And he had already asserted that "the initial phase of the ‘subjective aim’ " of an actual occasion "is a direct derivate from God’s primordial nature" (PR 104). Indeed, it seems clear that in Process and Reality Whitehead considered initial aims to be derived directly from the pure valuations of divine conceptual feeling. But even if we accept with Cobb (CNT 155ff) and Ford (PPCT 292n9) the systematic extension of Whitehead’s position, whereby initial aims mirror divine propositional feelings, thus involving also the consequent nature, it remains true that the character (predicate) of God’s propositional feelings toward a concrescing actual occasion is just the emergent manifestation of the relevant aspects of his nontemporal primordial nature. Indeed it cannot differ from it, given that God’s subjective aim is supreme and that the primordial nature constitutes the optimal adjustment of possibilities for value. It is therefore inevitable that the form of God’s propositional feelings should exactly mirror the conceptual valuations of his primordial nature. Hence only in the constitution of his primordial nature is God significantly free.

In Ford’s analysis of Whitehead this point is quite explicit: "God’s decision can only be nontemporal. . . . Further, it is only as nontemporally actual that God can be prehended" (IPQ 13:369). Ford speaks, it is true, of a divine "temporal freedom," but this freedom wholly derives from the divine nontemporal decision and thus amounts only to the temporal emergence of a nontemporal freedom: "God’s temporal freedom is exercised in his integrative and propositional activity, where he fits to each actual world that gradation of pure possibilities best suited to contribute to the maximum intensity and harmony of his consequent physical experience" (IPQ 13:376; my emphasis). All the decisions of the consequent nature flow from the primordial nature, and though the former does not fit the present actual occasions into a ready-made pattern of the temporal past (as Ford carefully points out: IPQ 13:356), yet "the weaving of Cod’s physical feelings upon his primordial concepts (PR 524) amounts to the emergence into time, as predicates of God’s propositional feelings, of the very valuations of his nontemporal decision.

The upshot of all this, and the trouble with it, first, is that it equates the concrete with the abstract, identifying God’s decisions for concrete particulars with his decisions for pure possibilities. Facts are graded entirely according to their correspondence with a primordial ordering among pure possibilities (even though the ordering be nontemporal and the possibilities only potentially distinct from one another as nontemporal). This implies that the concrete particular can be exhaustively evaluated in terms of its forms of definiteness, although Whitehead himself affirms that "each fact is more than its forms" (PR 30). Second, it identifies God’s self-creative subjectivity solely with the constitution of his primordial nature, as Ford argues at length in IPQ. Third, it implies that God does not love particulars as such, but only the universal patterns ingredient within them. As Whitehead wrote late in his life: "If you are enjoying a meal, and are conscious of pleasure derived from apple-tart, it is the sort of taste that you enjoy" (1:686). I submit, rather, that it is the tart that you enjoy, although the tart with that sort of taste. And religious experience testifies that it is individuals whom God loves, and that when he loves a person he is not just loving that person’s characteristics.

To return to the first and central difficulty, God’s primordial nature is clearly a valuation of pure possibilities:

God’s ‘primordial nature’ is abstracted from his commerce with ‘particulars,’ and is therefore devoid of those ‘impure’ intellectual cogitations which involve propositions. . . . It is God in abstraction, alone with himself. (PR 50)

He, in his primordial nature, is unmoved by love for this particular, or that particular; for in this foundational process of creativity, there are no preconstructed particulars. (PR 160)

His unity of conceptual operations is a free creative act, untrammeled by reference to any particular course of things. It is deflected neither by love, nor by hatred, for what in fact comes to pass. The particularities of the actual world presuppose it; while it merely presupposes the general metaphysical character of creative advance, of which it is the primordial exemplification. (PR 522; Whitehead’s emphasis)

Furthermore, the primordial nature -- or rather, God considered only in his primordial nature -- is unconscious (PR 524). It is, then, these unconscious valuations of pure conceptual possibilities which rise to consciousness in God’s propositional feelings about the world. It is necessary that this be so, for "God’s conceptual realization is nonsense if thought of under the guise of a barren, eternal hypothesis. It is God’s conceptual realization performing an efficacious role in multiple unifications of the universe" (PR 530). The predicates of God’s intellectual feelings for real possibility simply reflect the pure conceptual valuations of his primordial nature. As Ford explains it: "God’s own inner subjective contribution to this temporal activity is wholly derived from his nontemporal activity. His conscious, temporal decisions are all temporalizations of a single, unified, underlying unconscious temporal decision" (IPQ 13:368; my emphasis.) As with the apple-tart, then, God’s love for this particular occasion is really his love for this sort of occasion inasmuch as the occasion instantiates one of the abstract patterns valuated in the primordial nature.

Now this is Leibnizian, and the source of the trouble is that no provision has been made for a dimension of divine freedom directed toward concrete individuals as such, a dimension of freedom which lies within the "weaving" itself of God’s feelings for actual occasions. Ford is correct in maintaining that on the occasion of God’s dealing with particulars the appropriate aspects of his purely conceptual, nontemporal decision come into being in time as the character of his propositional feelings, but that cannot be the whole story of divine freedom. It is not by reason of a nontemporal, unconscious adjustment of pure conceptual valuations that God exclaims: "How can I give you up, O Ephraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! . . . My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender" (Hosea 11:8).

Furthermore, the almost exclusive emphasis which Whitehead normally lays on the primordial nature seems doubtfully consistent with passages which reflect his deepest insights. In the lyrical final chapter of Process and Reality, a chapter he is said to have thought the best thing he ever wrote, he says that it is "the perfected actuality [which he has just identified not with the primordial but with the consequent nature] which passes back into the temporal world and qualifies it" (PR 532). Similarly, in the last section of Adventures of Ideas, having spoken throughout of the primordial nature of God (in terms of the supreme "Eros" of the Universe), Whitehead adds that the feeling of Transcendence

requires for its understanding that we supplement the notion of the Eros by including it in the concept of an Adventure in the Universe as One. This adventure embraces all particular occasions but as an actual fact stands beyond any one of them. . . . [It] includes among its components all individual realities, each with the importance of the personal or social fact to which it belongs. Such individual importance in the components belongs to the essence of Beauty. . . .[It] requires the real occasions of the advancing world each claiming its due share of attention. (AI 380f)


How then can we coherently ascribe a temporality to God’s freedom, beyond the nontemporal constitution of his primordial nature, so as to make concrete entities, as such, the objects of God’s free response?

The most obvious solution might seem to lie in adopting the societal view of God, as Brown in fact recommends. Yet whatever other reasons we may have for adopting that view, this cannot be a reason! For in this respect the societal view is in the same predicament as the entitative. True, on Brown’s view God continually and freely reconstitutes his primordial nature in each successive divine occasion, but he always reconstitutes it the same way. He could hardly do otherwise and still be God, as Ford has pointed out (IPQ 13:374). More importantly, for the societal view as well as for the entitative, the primordial nature is an adjustment of pure conceptual possibilities, so that although in the former view there is a temporality to its successive reconstitution, there is no temporality in its valuation. On neither view is the primordial nature a divine decision regarding temporal particulars, and in neither view is there allowance for a freedom of the divine decision with regard to these particulars. Consequently, adopting the societal view does nothing to solve our present problem.

If then we need to look elsewhere in order to find room for temporality in divine freedom, the temptation is strong to furnish it by the simple expedient of transferring a few responsibilities from the primordial to the consequent nature. (We inevitably do this if we think of divine temporal freedom as consisting in the same sort of valuations as those of the primordial nature.) But how do we adjust this division of labor -- where do we draw the line? Vagueness can be avoided, of course, if we go to the logical extreme of such a move, which would lie in attributing to the consequent nature all valuations, reserving to the primordial nature only the constitution of metaphysical possibility and the subjective aim toward value realization in general. Then God’s temporal decisions for particulars would in their everlastingness (on the entitative view; in their objective immortality, on the societal view) constitute the value norm for all subsequent time.

Such a view would not be quite so absurd as might at first appear: the divine temporal evaluations would seem to be no more arbitrary than those of the constitution of the primordial nature in Whitehead’s view; and the divine subjective aim toward the maximum of value intensity, together with the property of everlastingness and the Categoreal Obligations (constituted by the primordial nature) of Subjective Unity and Subjective Harmony, would seem sufficient to insure the mutual coherence of the growing series of divine temporal evaluations. Yet the idea must be rejected as radically inconsistent with the heart of Whitehead’s metaphysical insight, the identification of actuality with "something that matters" (MT 161; cf. 149f, 159). There is no way of removing valuations from the primordial nature, no way of divorcing sheer possibility from possibility-for-value-realization. Similarly, it would make no sense to think of a subjective aim at value realization in complete abstraction from a hierarchy of valued possibilities.

We take a more promising tack, however, if we consider that there is necessarily a certain incommensurability between an actual entity and any description of it in terms of eternal objects. That is, an actual entity is not identified with its own forms of definiteness.

Each fact is more than its forms, and each form ‘participates’ throughout the world of facts. The definiteness of fact is due to its forms; but the individual fact is a creature, and creativity is the ultimate behind all forms, inexplicable by forms, and conditioned by its creatures. (PR 30).

An actual entity cannot be described, even inadequately, by universals. (PR 76)

This is true both of the actual occasion which is the object of God’s love and of God himself in his love toward it.

Further, the free act, precisely as such, is not describable in terms of forms. Bergson was the eloquent defender of this thesis in modern times (TFW), and Whitehead accepts it when he agrees that creativity is "inexplicable by forms." The free act is not wholly describable antecedently, in view of its conditions, nor consequently, as the inevitable outcome of its conditions. It is itself the sole ultimate reason for its own decision. This is in fact another way of putting Whitehead’s ontological principle, granted that every actual entity exercises at least some degree of freedom.

But then it must follow that God’s particular affective response, his yearning for value fulfillment for the world at any moment, is somehow more than the realization within time of some limited aspect of his primordial, nontemporal valuation. We need to describe a freedom precisely in God’s response to particulars as such. This response embodies the abstract value relations of the primordial nature, but cannot simply be defined in terms of them.

"Freedom," Bergson writes, "is the relation of the concrete self to the act which it performs. This relation is indefinable, just because we aide free. For we can analyze a thing, but not a process; we can break up extensity, but not duration" (TFW 219). To attempt to define freedom, to conceptualize it, would be (in modem terms) to commit a category mistake. Yet though it cannot be defined, the free temporal act of God’s particular satisfaction toward a particular can be described in terms of its intensity. According to Whitehead: "A subjective form has two factors, its qualitative pattern and its pattern of intensive quantity. But these two factors of pattern cannot wholly be considered in abstraction from each other" (PR 356; my emphasis). Elsewhere Whitehead speaks of "quantitative feeling," and of "quantitative emotional intensity" (PR 177). Bergson would be unhappy with this quantification of subjective states (TFW 70-74), and Whitehead’s expressions may go too far, but this issue is not critical for our present purposes. Bergson notwithstanding, it obviously makes some kind of sense to speak of one emotional state as "more" or "less" intense than another, even if this "more" be not strictly quantitative.

In a passage worth pondering, Whitehead explains that the self-creative contribution of the freedom of each actual entity consists precisely in the subjective emphasis it lays upon the factors which are given it, including its own purposes and subjective aim:

The doctrine of the philosophy of organism is that, however far the sphere of efficient causation be pushed in the determination of components of a concrescence -- its data, its emotions, its appreciations, its purposes, its phases of subjective aim -- beyond the determination of these components there always remains the final reaction of the self-creative unity of the universe. This final reaction completes the self-creative act by putting the decisive stamp of creative emphasis upon the determinations of efficient cause. Each occasion exhibits its measure of creative emphasis in proportion to its measure of subjective intensity. The absolute standard of such intensity is that of the primordial nature of God, which is neither great nor small because it arises out of no actual world. (PR 75; my emphasis)

I take it that the "self-creative unity of the universe" refers to the actual entity insofar as it is a particular instance of creativity. I am less clear on the sense of the last sentence but one, but I believe that Whitehead means that the quantitative emotional intensity of the entity’s satisfaction must of course be related to the intensity of its drive toward value as furnished by its subjective aim. And the absolute standard of such a drive toward value is the primordial nature of God.

Whitehead’s immediate reference to the primordial nature should not distract us from applying the above description to the consequent nature. Granted that the primordial nature constitutes God’s "free" (though unconscious), nontemporal decision, yet as an actual entity he is completed by the conscious, temporal, self-creative propositional feelings he bears toward particular occasions. Why should they too not be characterized as "putting the decisive stamp of creative emphasis upon the determinations" received from the occasions of the actual world?

This is not to assert that in his consequent nature God adds any formal determination to the valuations of the primordial nature, still less that he in any way contradicts them. The contribution of his temporal freedom does not lie in forms of definiteness but in emotional intensity. This emotional intensity stands related to but is not determined by the qualitative pattern established by the primordial nature.

What I mean is this, and this is the heart of the matter. In the entitative view we can accept Ford’s analysis wherein, of God’s nontemporal valuation of all pure possibility, those particular aspects which relate to concrete particulars first come into being and are essentially time-related, from our temporal point of view, in the propositional feelings of the consequent nature. But this temporal coming into being of an aspect of God’s nontemporal adjustment of possibility is itself clothed with emotion, with greater or less intensity of feeling on God’s part. This intensity of feeling lies precisely in the act itself whereby God loves particular actual occasions. This act is free in the sense that there is a certain incommensurability, hence absence of determination, between the act itself in its emotional intensity and the conceptual adjustment of possibilities which it includes. This is another way of affirming with Bergson that the free act, as such, is both intrinsically unforeseeable and, even in retrospect, conceptually indefinable. Granted, therefore, that God’s infinite conceptual valuation of pure possibility may justly be termed "free" since it is "limited by no actuality which it presupposes (PR 524), yet the temporal integrative activity of his consequent nature, whereby he loves particular occasions of the actual world, may also be called "free," though in a somewhat different sense.

To affirm therefore a temporality of divine freedom is not to multiply divine acts beyond those already described in Ford’s analysis, but merely to notice an overlooked dimension of freedom in the concrete divine act wherein there also emerges the relevant aspect of God’s nontemporal, free adjustment of pure value possibility. This dimension of freedom consists in the spontaneous intensity of emotion by which God’s propositional feelings toward particulars are clothed. Since this view introduces no new divine acts, it furnishes no new argument in favor of adopting the societal view of God. On the other hand, mutatis mutandis it also fits the societal view, since, as we have seen, that view too must allow for an aspect of the divine decision regarding particulars which goes beyond pure conceptual valuation.

If we use the above proposal to interpret religious experience we are able to make sense of saying that although God loves only what is lovable, the intensity of his love for this or that particular thing or person is a matter of his free temporal activity. God took a people to himself and loved them, not only because they had lovable qualities (and perhaps unlovable ones as well), but because he chose to. That is, his heart in fact went out to them, he loved them with a special intensity for which no reason can be assigned other than the act itself whereby he loved them. And in different temporal circumstances the intensity of God’s feelings may vary: "I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them."

Further, if we integrate this interpretation of divine temporal freedom with God’s providence for the world, we notice a remarkable result. In Whitehead’s view, of course, God acts in the world by loving it:

For the perfected actuality passes back into the temporal world, and qualifies this world so that each temporal actuality includes it as an immediate fact of relevant experience. . . . The action of the fourth phase is the love of God for the world. It is the particular providence for particular occasions. (PR 532)

In more technical terms, this "inclusion as an immediate fact of relevant experience" by each temporal actuality is the feeling by each concrescing occasion of its own initial aim. The hybrid prehension of God, not only in his primordial but in his consequent nature, in his particular providence for particular things," constitutes the occasion’s feeling of its initial aim.

But the actual occasion does not feel God purely in terms of universals -- that is, solely in terms of the forms of definiteness (hence the primordial valuations) ingredient within God’s propositional feelings. Whitehead’s remark is applicable: "Owing to the disastrous confusion, more especially by Hume, of conceptual feelings with perceptual feelings, the truism that we can only conceive in terms of universals has been stretched to mean that we can only feel in terms of universals. This is untrue" (PR 351; Whitehead’s emphasis). Furthermore, Whitehead’s famous assertion that "in the real world it is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true" (PR 395f) applies exactly here. The interest, the effective impact, which the divine propositional feelings make on an actual occasion in constituting its initial aim does not so much lie in their correspondence to the abstract conceptual valuations of the primordial nature as in the emotional intensity with which they are felt in God’s consequent nature.

On God’s own part, the function of his primordial valuations, when they become real possibilities applicable to concrete occasions, is to evoke emotional intensity within God’s own consequent nature:

It is evident . . . that the primary function of theories is as a lure for feeling, thereby providing immediacy of enjoyment and purpose. Unfortunately theories, under their name of ‘propositions,’ have been handed over to logicians, who have countenanced the doctrine that their one function is to be judged as to their truth or falsehood. (PR 281)

And again: "The main function of intellectual feelings is neither belief, nor disbelief, nor even suspension of judgment. The main function of these feelings is to heighten the emotional intensity accompanying the valuations in the conceptual feelings involved . . ." (PR 416).

God is effective in the world through the love that he pours back into it. which is his "particular providence for particular occasions" (PR 532); the "‘superjective’ nature of God is the character of the pragmatic value of his specific satisfaction qualifying the transcendent creativity in the various temporal instances" (PR 135). Also, what Whitehead says about "physical purposes" seems quite applicable to this "pragmatic value of his specific satisfaction":

The valuation according to the physical feeling endows the transcendent creativity with the character of adversion, or of aversion. The character of adversion secures the reproduction of the physical feeling, as one element in the objectification of the subject beyond itself . . . . . [A] physical feeling, whose valuation produces adversion, is thereby an element with some force of persistence into the future beyond its own subject. (PR 422)


In sum, then, the penalty for neglecting to allow for a divine temporal freedom beyond that of God’s primordial nature is to be required to grant, in effect, that the timeless and the abstract adequately describe the temporal and the concrete, even the concrete acts of divine love for individuals.2 Such a view does not agree with the deliverance of religious experience. God’s freedom is temporal as well--that is, insofar as God relates himself freely to the things of the temporal world precisely in their individuality. It lies in the spontaneous intensity of God’s affection for the particulars of the temporal world. To God’s freely constituted, pure conceptual valuations there is coupled, as it were in another dimension, his free emotional response, his love for individuals. God’s freedom is thus also temporal, not in the sense that his free acts take time, but that they are directed toward temporal occasions as such and cannot be adequately described solely in terms of the primordial nature. God’s propositional feelings toward particulars require the nontemporal conceptual valuations of his primordial nature, but their emotional intensity is not a matter of forms of definiteness or qualities. Further, it is this intensity of the divine propositional feelings which most contributes to their effectiveness in achieving the divine purpose in the world. All relevant possibilities as conceptually felt in the primordial nature are ingredient within God’s complex propositional feeling toward a particular occasion, but only that will be most influential on the occasion which is felt by God with the greatest emotional intensity. And that intensity is not determined by either the primordial nature or the actual world.

Charles Hartshorne remarked not long ago that it is characteristic of Whitehead’s God that he lands on both sides of all antitheses. Ford has convincingly argued the importance of the nontemporal freedom of God’s primordial nature. I wish to add that God’s freedom is also temporal as well as nontemporal, and that his influence on the world, beyond his free, nontemporal valuation of pure possibilities, lies in the emotional intensity with which he freely loves the particulars of the world both for what they are and for what they can become.



CNT -- John B. Cobb, Jr. A Christian Natural Theology. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1965.

IPQ -- Lewis S. Ford. "The Non-Temporality of Whitehead’s God," International Philosophical Quarterly, 13/3 (September, 1973), 347-76.

PPCT -- Delwin Brown, Ralph E. James, Jr., and Gene Reeves, eds. Process Philosophy and Christian Thought. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971.

TFW -- Henri Bergson. Time and Free Will (original title: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness). New York: Harper & Row, 1960 (original French edition published in 1888).

1. "Immortality," in Paul Arthur Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. New York: Tudor Publishing Co., 1951, pp. 682-700.



1 This is equally true for Brown, who shares this view, though he does not notice its pinch faith regard to divine faithfulness, since in his societal view God’s primordial nature continually reconstitutes itself in time.

2 This view resembles that of Leibniz insofar as Leibniz’s God was, as Ford put it, "programmed to choose the best of all possible worlds," even down to the last detail. This is in virtue of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, of a divine vision of all conceivable world orders hierarchically valuated, and of the tacit but essential rationalistic presupposition that abstract patterns adequately describe the concrete. Thus for Leibniz, too, there can be no significant sense to a temporality of divine freedom.