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.

F. Science and Divine Action

My intention here is to provide an extensive bibliography of resources for the doctrine of providence. This is an ongoing project, so do contact me if you know of any works that should be included, or if you wish for me to make an amendment or correct an error.

Last Updated: 1 January 2014


Stephen M. Barr, ‘Chance, By Design: The Scientific Concept of Randomness is Consistent with Divine Providence’, First Things 228 (2012), pp. 25–30

David J. Bartholomew, God, Chance and Purpose: Can God Have It Both Ways? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

R. J. Berry, ‘Divine Action: Expected and Unexpected’, Zygon 37 (2002), pp. 717–728

Craig A. Boyd and Aaron D. Cobb, ‘The Causality Distinction, Kenosis, and a Middle Way: Aquinas and Polkinghorne on Divine Action’, Theology and Science 7 (2009), pp. 391–406

Rudolf B. Brun, ‘Does God Play Dice? A Response to Niels H. Gregersen, “The Idea of Creation and the Theory of Autopoietic Processes”’, Zygon 34 (1999), pp. 93–100

John Byl, ‘Indeterminacy, Divine Action and Human Freedom’, Science and Christian Belief 15 (2003), pp. 101–116

Robin Collins, ‘Divine Action and Evolution’, in Thomas P. Flint and Michael Rea (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 241–261

William E. Carroll, ‘Divine Agency, Contemporary Physics, and the Autonomy of Nature’, The Heythrop Journal 49 (2008), pp. 582–602

Philip D. Clayton, God and Contemporary Science. Edinburgh Studies in Constructive Theology (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997)

Philip Clayton and Arthur Peacocke (eds.), In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being: Panentheistic Reflections on God's Presence in a Scientific World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004)

John W. Cooper, ‘Panentheism: The Other “God of the Philosophers”: An Overview’, American Theological Inquiry 1:1 (2008), pp. 13–26

Steven D. Crain, ‘Divine Action in a World Chaos: An Evaluation of John Polkinghorne’s Model of Special Divine Action’, Faith and Philosophy 14 (1997), pp. 41–61

Jonathan Doye, Ian Goldby, Christina Line, Stephen Lloyd, Paul Shellard and David Tricker, ‘Contemporary Perspectives on Chance, Providence and Free Will: A Critique of Some Modern Authors’, Science and Christian Belief 7 (1995), pp. 117–139

Denis Edwards, ‘Exploring How God Acts’, in Philip J. Rossi (ed.), God, Grace, and Creation. College Theology Society, Volume 55 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2010), pp. 124–146

Denis Edwards, How God Acts: Creation, Redemption, and Special Divine Action (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010)

Paul Ewart, ‘The Necessity of Chance: Randomness, Purpose and the Sovereignty of God’, Science and Christian Belief 21 (2009), pp. 111–131

David Fergusson, ‘Darwin and Providence’, in Michael S. Northcott and R. J. Berry (eds.), Theology After Darwin (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2009), pp. 73–88

Langdon Gilkey, ‘Gregersen’s Vision of a Theonomous Universe’, Zygon 34 (1999), pp. 111–115

Niels Henrik Gregersen, ‘The Idea of Creation and the Theory of Autopoietic Processes’, Zygon 33 (1998), pp. 333–367

Niels Henrik Gregersen, ‘Autopoiesis: Less than Self-Constitution, More than Self-Organization: Reply to Gilkey, McClelland and Deltete, and Brun’, Zygon 34 (1999), pp. 117–138

John F. Haught, ‘Darwin, Divine Providence and the Suffering of Sentient Life’, in Louis Caruana (ed.), Darwin and Catholicism: The Past and Present Dynamics of a Cultural Encounter (London: T&T Clark, 2009), pp. 207–222

Christopher C. Knight, ‘Theistic Naturalism and “Special” Divine Providence’, Zygon 44 (2009), pp. 533–542

Robert Larmer, ‘Divine Agency and the Principle of the Conservation of Energy’, Zygon 44 (2009), pp. 543–557

Robert Larmer, ‘Miracles, Divine Agency, and the Laws of Nature’, Toronto Journal of Theology 27:2 (2011), pp. 267–290

Richard T. McClelland and Robert J. Deltete, ‘Creation, Co-operation, and Causality: A Reply to Gregersen’, Zygon 34 (1999), pp. 101–109

Donald M. MacKay, Science, Chance, and Providence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978)

George Medley, III, ‘The Inspiration of God and Wolfhart Pannenberg’s “Field Theory of Information”’, Zygon 48:1 (2013), pp. 93–106

George L. Murphy, ‘Kenosis and Divine Action’, Dialog 52:4 (2013), p. 280

Nancey Murphy, ‘Divine Action, Emergence and Scientific Explanation’, in Peter Harrison (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 244–259

Graham J. O’Brien, ‘A Theology of Purpose: Creation, Evolution and the Understanding of Purpose’, Science and Christian Belief 19 (2007), pp. 59–74

Thomas Jay Oord, ‘The Divine Spirit as Causal and Personal’, Zygon 48:2 (2013), pp. 466–477

James R. Pambrun, ‘Creatio ex nihilo and Dual Causality’, in David B. Burrell, Carlo Cogliati, Janet M. Soskice and William R. Stoeger, Creation and the God of Abraham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 192–220

Ted Peters and Nathan Hallanger (eds.), God’s Action in Nature’s World: Essays in Honour of Robert John Russell (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006)

Gregory R. Peterson, ‘God, Determinism, and Action: Perspectives from Physics’, Zygon 35 (2000), pp. 881–890

Harry Lee Poe and Jimmy H. Davis, God and the Cosmos: Divine Activity in Space, Time and History (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012)

John Polkinghorne, Science and Providence: God’s Interaction with the World (London: SPCK, 1989; 2nd ed. 2005)

John Polkinghorne, ‘Creatio Continua and Divine Action’, Science and Christian Belief 7 (1995), pp. 101–108

Robert John Russell, Nancey Murphy and C. J. Isham (eds.), Quantum Cosmology and the Laws of Nature: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory Publications, 1996, 1993)

Robert John Russell, Nancey Murphy and Arthur R. Peacocke (eds.), Chaos and Complexity: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action, 2nd ed. (Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory Publications, 1997/2000; 1st ed. 1995)

Robert John Russell, ‘Quantum Physics and the Theology of Non-Interventionist Objective Divine Action’, in Philip Clayton (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 579–595

Timothy Sansbury, ‘The False Promise of Quantum Mechanics’, Zygon 42 (2007), pp. 111–121

Nicholas Saunders, Divine Action and Modern Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Ignacio Silva, ‘John Polkinghorne on Divine Action: A Coherent Theological Evolution’, Science and Christian Belief 24:1 (2012), pp. 19–30

Taede A. Smedes, ‘Is Our Universe Deterministic? Some Philosophical and Theological Reflections on an Elusive Topic’, Zygon 38 (2003), pp. 955–979

Edgar A. Towne, ‘The Variety of Panentheisms’, Zygon 40 (2005), pp. 779–786

Thomas F. Tracy, ‘Theologies of Divine Action’, in Philip Clayton (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 596–611

Thomas F. Tracy, ‘Divine Purpose and Evolutionary Processes’, Zygon 48:2 (2013), pp. 454–465

Robert E. Ulanowicz, ‘A World of Contingencies’, Zygon 48:1 (2013), pp. 77–92

Howard J. Van Till, ‘Basil, Augustine, and the Doctrine of Creation’s Functional Integrity’, Science and Christian Belief 8 (1996), pp. 21–38

David Wilkinson, ‘The Activity of God in Methodist Perspective’, in Clive Marsh, Brian Beck, Angela Shier-Jones and Helen Wareing (eds.), Unmasking Methodist Theology, (London: Continuum, 2004), pp. 142–154

Terry J. Wright, ‘Is Informational Causality Primary Causality? A Study of an Aspect of John Polkinghorne’s Account of Divine Action’, in Fraser Watts and Christopher C. Knight (eds.), God and the Scientist: Exploring the Work of John Polkinghorne. Ashgate Science and Religion Series (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 33–50

Amos Yong, The Spirit of Creation: Modern Science and Divine Action in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Imagination. Pentecostal Manifestos 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011)