The Idealist View of Divine Action in Nature

Zygon 55 (4):924-947 (2020)
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Theologies of divine action in nature have sought to maximize traction with the sciences to secure their credibility. While varying in significant ways, all extant proposals share a commitment to physical realism, the claim that (at least some) physical entities and facts are both mindā€independent and ontologically basic within creation. However, I will argue that this metaphysical commitment undermines the body of scientific knowledge to which theologians wish to be responsive. Is there an alternative? Building on the work of Howard Robinson, I will show that there is a coherent account of mind's place in nature that denies physical realism. Such an account would enable a theological description of God's sustaining and governing action in nature through the ontological mediation of minds and laws causally constraining their sensations. Furthermore, this proposal yields a positive research program that makes essential use of the contributions of the natural sciences to understand the nature of embodiment.



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