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Keywords:

  • creation;
  • divine action;
  • evolution;
  • primary and secondary causation;
  • providence;
  • quantum physics

Abstract

When Darwin's theory of natural selection threatened to put Paley's Designer out of a job, one response was to reemploy God as the author of the evolutionary process itself. This idea requires an account of how God might be understood to act in biological history. I approach this question in two stages: first, by considering God's action as creator of the world as a whole, and second, by exploring the idea of particular divine action in the course of evolution. As creator ex nihilo God acts directly in every event as its sustaining ground. Because God structures the world as a lawful order of natural causes, God also acts indirectly by means of creatures. More controversially, God might act directly within the world to affect the course of events; this action need not take the form of a miraculous intervention, if the natural order includes the right sort of indeterministic chance. In each of these ways God's purposes can shape evolutionary processes.