God and the natural world in the seventeenth century: Space, time, and causality

Philosophy Compass 4 (5):859-872 (2009)
The employment by seventeenth-century natural philosophers of stock theological notions like creation, immensity, and eternity in the articulation and justification of emerging physical programs disrupted a delicate but longstanding balance between transcendent and immanent conceptions of God. By playing a prominent (if not always leading) role in many of the major scientific developments of the period, God became more intimately involved with natural processes than at any time since antiquity. In this discussion, I am particularly concerned with the causal and spatio-temporal relations between God and nature in the seventeenth century as recent scholarship has revealed how dramatically traditional conceptions of these relations were transformed by philosophers and scientists like Descartes, Malebranche, More, and Newton.
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