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Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192874986
Number of Pages: 320
Published: 26/01/2023
Width: 16.3 cm
Height: 24.1 cm
The doctrine of providence, which states that God guides his creation, has been widely conceived in action terms in recent theological scholarship. A telling example is the so-called divine action debate, which is largely based on two principles: (i) providence is best conceptualised in terms of divine action; and (ii) divine action is best modelled on human action. By examining this debate, and especially the Divine Action Project (1988-2003), which led to the 'scientific turn' of the debate, this study argues that theo-physical incompatibilism, as a corollary of this 'framing' of providence, can be identified as the main reason for the current deadlock in divine action theories-namely, the assumption that just as human (libertarian) free action presupposes causal indeterminism, so, too, does divine action in the world presuppose causal indeterminism. Instead of recalibrating the much-discussed non-interventionist objective divine action (NIODA) approaches, Simon Maria Kopf advocates a 'reframing' of providence in terms of the virtue of prudence. To this end, this book examines the 'prudential-ordinative' theory of Thomas Aquinas and contrasts it with the prevalent 'actionistic', or action-based, model of providence. In this process, Kopf discusses, among other topics, the doctrine of divine transcendence, primary and secondary causation, natural necessity and contingency, and teleology as essential features of this 'prudential-ordinative' theory. The final part of the book addresses how these two approaches fare when applied to the question of biological evolution, which includes the revisiting of the controversy between Stephen Jay Gould and Simon Conway Morris over what would happen if one were to rerun the tape of life.

Simon Maria Kopf (Associate Professor of Fundament Theology, Associate Professor of Fundament Theology, ITI Catholic University)

Simon Maria Kopf is Associate Professor of Fundamental Theology at ITI Catholic University and Visiting Research Fellow at King's College London. Previously, he was Principal Investigator on a Templeton project titled 'A Virtue-Based Approach to Providence: Bridging the Analytic/Continental Divide in the Central-European Divine Action Debate' based at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. From 2017-2019, he worked on the ERC project 'Authority and Innovation in Early Franciscan Thought (c.1220-45)' at King's College London and the Templeton project 'Human and Divine Providence' at Universidad Austral. Kopf holds degrees in Theology, Philosophy, and Science and Religion from Universität Innsbruck and the University of Edinburgh, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford.

The doctrine of providence reflects how God guides his creation and has been widely conceived in action terms in recent theological scholarship. Divine action is then modelled on human action...To sum it up: this by Kopf is worthwhile reading, especially when dealing with the question of evolution on one hand and God's providence on the other in the dialogue between science and theology (religion). * Sybille C. Fritsch-Oppermann, Reviews in Science, Religion and Theology, 2(2) *

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