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On the possibility of special divine action in a deterministic world

LEIGH C. VICENS
Religious Studies
Vol. 48, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 2012), pp. 315-336
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23260029
Page Count: 22
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On the possibility of special divine action in a deterministic world
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Abstract

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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