Divine action in the world (synopsis)

Ratio 19 (4):495–504 (2006)

Authors
Alvin Plantinga
University of Notre Dame
Abstract
The following is a synopsis of the paper presented by Alvin Plantinga at the RATIO conference on The Meaning of Theism held in April 2005 at the University of Reading. The synopsis has been prepared by the Editor, with the author’s approval, from a handout provided by the author at the conference. The paper reflects on whether religious belief of a traditional Christian kind can be maintained consistently with accepting our modern scientific worldview. Many theologians, and also many scientists, maintain that the idea of divine intervention is at odds with the framework of natural laws disclosed by science. The paper argues that this notion of a ”religion/science problem’ is misguided. When properly understood, neither the classical (Newtonian) picture of natural laws, nor the more recent quantum mechanical picture, rules out divine intervention. There is nothing in science, under either the old or the new picture, that conflicts with, or even calls in to question, special divine action, including miracles
Keywords divine action in the World  important spiritual/intellectual questions of twenty-first century - relation between religion and science  association of science with secularism or so-called ‘scientific worldview’  Newtonian world picture, God created the world - machine proceeding according to fixed laws  new scientific picture - old Laplacian scientific picture superseded by quantum mechanics  conflict between classical Christian doctrines  alleged conflict between science and the claim, common to theistic religions  belief in divine causal action in the world - thus standard Christian orthodoxy  defining intervention in terms of low-level generalizations
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ISBN(s) 9781444317350
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2006.00342.x
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