Can Western Monotheism Avoid Substance Dualism?
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2003
2001 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon
Volume 36, Issue 1, pages 153–177, March 2001
How to Cite
Bielfeldt, D. (2001), Can Western Monotheism Avoid Substance Dualism?. Zygon, 36: 153–177. doi: 10.1111/0591-2385.00345
- Issue published online: 21 JAN 2004
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2003
- Cited By
- downward causation;
- principle ofexplanatory exclusion;
- top-down causality
The problem of divine agency and action is analogous to the problem of human agency and action: How is such agency possible in the absence of a dualistic causal interaction between disparate orders of being? This paper explores nondualistic accounts of divine agency that assert the following: (1) physical monism, (2) antireductionism, (3) physical realization, and (4) divine causal realism. I conclude that a robustly causal deity is incompatible with nonddualism's affirmation of physical monism. Specifically, I argue the incoherence of nondualistic strategies that advocate divine information transfer without energy transfer or the divine downward causation of physical events. Furthermore, I claim that the principle of explanatory exclusion makes any nondualistic, noninterventionist account of divine agency highly dubious. Finally, I suggest that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can avoid a causally inert deity only if they are willing to deny the current presumption of the causal closure of the physical.