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Keywords:

  • Thomas Aquinas;
  • causality;
  • Darwinism;
  • evolution;
  • intelligent design;
  • metaphysics;
  • theology and science

Abstract Charles Darwin, in his discussions with Asa Gray and in his published works, doubted whether God could so arrange it that exactly the desired contingent events would occur to cause particular outcomes by natural selection. In this paper, I argue that even a limited or neo-Leibnizian deity could have chosen a world that satisfied some arbitrary set of goals or functions in its outcomes and thus answer Darwin's conundrum. In more general terms, this supports the consistency of natural selection with providentialism, and makes “theistic evolutionism” a coherent position to hold.