About Providence, Divine Action and the Church

In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Thomas Aquinas and Science

Here’s another forthcoming book for all you Thomists and divine action enthusiasts out there:

Michael J. Dodds, OP, Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas (forthcoming, September 2012)

Our ability to talk about God’s action in the world is closely tied to our understanding of causality. With the advent of modern Newtonian science the conception of causality narrowed, and the discussion of divine action became locked into that contracted understanding. There seemed to be simply no room for God to act in the world without interfering with nature and the laws of science that describe it.

Fortunately, the idea of causality has been greatly expanded through developments in contemporary science. Discoveries in quantum mechanics, cosmology, chaos theory, and biology have all led to a broader understanding of causality. These developments have opened two fundamentally new ways for theologians to “unlock” the discussion of divine action. One is to use the developments of science themselves to speak of God’s action. The other is to speak of divine action not directly through the theories and interpretations of science, but rather through the broader understanding of causality that they suggest.

This book explores both approaches and argues that the latter provides a more effective way for discussing divine action. After showing that the idea of causality in contemporary science is remarkably reminiscent of key concepts in the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, it then retrieves those notions and applies them to the discussion of divine action. In this way, it provides a sustained account of how the thought of Aquinas may be used in conjunction with contemporary science to deepen our understanding of divine action and address such issues as creation, providence, prayer, and miracles.

It’s my plan, once my son starts school in September, to begin some serious research on Thomas and providence, etc., so this looks like a very useful book. (Of course, I have many plans, but few seldom come to fruition – mainly due to procrastination [why read when one can watch The Walking Dead?]. Still, one can genuinely intend.)


  1. Great image.

    Is the Western Christian tradition so bankrupt in its understanding of the nature of Truth & Reality that it re-"lies" on the "authority" of someone who lived over 700 years ago to understand the nature of Truth and Reality?

    Once again some references which provide a now-time Illuminated Understanding of Truth & Reality - with particular reference to science/scientism






  2. Sorry, but Jesus of Nazareth, whom God raised from the dead, and who now sits at the right hand of the Father: he has the words of eternal life - not Adi Da, and not anyone else.

    Oh, and the last link is broken! :)


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