Western moral and political theory in the last two centuries has widely held that morality and politics are independent of a divine reality. Claiming that this consensus is flawed, prominent theologian Franklin I. Gamwell argues that there is a necessary relation between moral worth and belief in God. Without appealing to the beliefs of any specific religion, Gamwell defends a return to the view that moral and political principles depend on a divine purpose.

To separate politics from the divine misrepresents the distinctive character of human freedom, Gamwell maintains, and thus prevents a full understanding of the nature of justice. Principles of justice define "democracy on purpose" as the political form in which we pursue the divine good.

Engaging in a dialogue with such major representatives of the dominant consensus as Kant, Habermas, and Rawls, and informed by the philosophical writings of Alfred North Whitehead, this book makes the case for a neoclassical metaphysics that restores a religious sensibility to our political life.