Hawzah News Agency - In this paper the author proposes to describe the teachings of Shi‘ite Islam about authority in a manner accessible to Catholic partners in dialogue. For this purpose, the author contrasts Shi‘ite views on these issues with those of Catholics, and those of Sunni theologians, and he also mentions a few of the differences of opinion on these matters among the various Shi‘ite sects and Sufis.
The author states in a part of this paper that the absolute authority of God does not mean that God is at liberty to do evil, but neither does it imply that He is not at liberty. Likewise, the expertise of a craftsman does not mean that if the craftsman were to produce something unbefitting his skill, then he has the authority to do so because of his expertise. Neither does it imply that the craftsman who exercises his skill is not at liberty to make what he wants. God does whatever He wills, but His will is not arbitrary. God does whatever He wills, but His willing is never evil, because this would contradict His essence.
In Shi‘ite sources, there is no general term for authority as it occurs in Western languages, used for the concepts of divine authority, scriptural authority, church authority, etc..
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