On the possibility of special divine action in a deterministic world

Religious Studies 48 (3):315 - 336 (2012)
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Is it possible for God both to create a deterministic world and to act specially, to realize his particular purposes within it? And if there can be such 'particular providence' or 'special divine action' (SDA) in a deterministic world, what form can it take? In this article I consider these questions, exploring a number of different models of SDA and discussing their consistency with the proposition that the world is deterministic; I also consider how the various consequences of each model accord with traditional theistic assumptions about God's action in the world. I argue that, although SDA is possible in a deterministic world, none of the models that have been offered are entirely unproblematic, but accepting any of them commits one to certain consequences that may be found objectionable; thus the potential benefits of each model of SDA must be weighed against the costs of accepting such consequences.



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Leigh Vicens
Augustana University

References found in this work

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
An Essay on Free Will by Peter van Inwagen. [REVIEW]Michael Slote - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (6):327-330.
Causal determinism.Carl Hoefer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Divine action in the natural order : Buridan's ass and Schrödinger's cat.Nancey Murphy - 2009 - In Fount LeRon Shults, Nancey C. Murphy & Robert John Russell (eds.), Philosophy, Science and Divine Action. Brill. pp. 325-357.

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