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Divine Action and the Laws of Nature: An Approach Based on the Concept of Causality Consonant with Contemporary Science

Divine Action and the Laws of Nature: An Approach Based on the Concept of Causality Consonant with Contemporary Science

Álvaro Balsas, SJ, Divine Action and the Laws of Nature: An Approach Based on the Concept of Causality Consonant with Contemporary Science, Axioma Studies in Philosophy of Nature and in Philosophy and History of Science 3 (Braga: Axioma - Publicações da Faculdade de Filosofia, 2017), DOI 10.17990/Axistudies/2017_03

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  • Divine Action and the Laws of Nature: an Approach Based on the Concept of Causality Consonant with Contemporary Science

    Type Book
    Author Álvaro Balsas, SJ
    DOI 10.17990/Axistudies/2017_03
    Rights © 2017 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural
    Series Axioma Studies in Philosophy of Nature and in Philosophy and History of Science
    Place Braga
    Publisher Axioma - Publicações da Faculdade de Filosofia
    ISBN 978-972-697-260-0 (Paperback); 978-972-697-261-7 (Pdf); 978-972-697-262-4 (Epub); 978-972-697-263-1 (Kindle)
    Date 2017
    Series Number 3
    Language English
    Abstract The notion of divine action – which claims that God, Creator of the world, is actively involved in his creation and acts in history – is central to Christian faith and experience. The remarkable success of modern science since the seventeenth-century, followed by the new philosophy of the eighteenth, started a process of undermining of that notion, whose consequences are still present nowadays either in theological circles, or in contemporary debates of science and religion. We notice a widespread rejection of the concept of “divine interference” in natural processes and a pervasive belief that many events designated as “mighty acts of God” can either be explained scientifically, or dismissed as non-historical literary creations. In other words, it seems that the traditional notion of divine actions runs counter to the “scientific authority,” which considers it an impossible “violation of the laws of nature.” The discoveries of contemporary science on emergent systemic properties in complex systems, downward causality, and indeterminism, encouraged, in recent decades, new attempts to search for divine action inside quantum and chaotic physical processes, in which God was seen either as “determiner of indeterminacies” or as “communicator of active information.” Although these approaches represent a remarkable endeavor in putting together divine action and contemporary science, nevertheless, they reveal scientific problems and philosophical and theological difficulties. We claim that those problems are rooted in the concept of causality they use. We suggest that to articulate the notion of divine action and the laws of nature we should enlarge the concept of causality, in accordance with what contemporary science itself is pointing out. The purpose of this monographic study, then, is to investigate in what ways belief in divine action can be held in theology without conflicting with the laws of nature, so that that belief might be a credible and useful notion in the dialogue between science and religion.
    Preview Divine Action and the Laws of Nature
    # of Pages 212
    Date Added 11/2/2016, 3:28:14 PM
    Modified 9/12/2017, 3:26:01 PM

    Keywords:

    • Causality
    • Divine Action
    • Metaphysics
    • Philosophy of Nature
    • philosophy of Religion
    • Philosophy of Science

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