God et al—World-Making as Collaborative Improvisation: New Metaphors for Open Theists

In Jeffrey Koperski & Kelly James Clark (eds.), Abrahamic Reflections on Randomness and Providence. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 311-338 (2021)
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Abstract

The Abrahamic traditions regard God as the world’s author. But what kind of author? A novelist? A playwright? Perhaps a composer of classical music? I will argue that it is best to regard God as like an improvisational play director or the leader of a jazz ensemble. Each determines the broad melodic contours or coarse-grained plot beforehand, while allowing their musicians or actors, and chance, to fill in the more fine-grained details. This analogy allows us to regard God as the ultimate author of this world, while allowing us to be, while less than co-authors, more than mere enactors of a pre-written piece. These metaphors are particularly well-suited to illustrate and flesh out an Open Theistic view of things.

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Mark Steen
Allegheny College

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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