Divine Action

Examining God’s Role in an Open and Emergent Universe

Keith Ward

Divine Action by philosopher, theologian, and scholar Keith Ward was briefly available in 1990, before a publishing consolidation took it out of circulation. In this edition, the author has added a new preface that reflects on the argument in light of the recent resurgence of naturalism in philosophy.

In an intellectual counterpoint to antispirituality arguments, Ward explores what is involved in the idea of creation and of particular divine actions in a world of scientific law and intelligibility. He presents his argument for the presence of divine action in the natural world and offers a rationale for divine operation as a continuous spiritual-natural conversation.

Dr.Ward defends the Christian doctrine of Incarnation, but is also concerned more widely with discussion of the "big questions" in science and religion—those concerning existence, purpose, and inner process. His study embraces an analysis of freedom and necessity, the origins of suffering, constraints of creation, prayer as participation in divine action, miracles as epiphanies of the spirit, divine nature and human nature, and redemption.

For scholars in philosophy, theology, and fields that engage in the dialogue of science and religion, this book presents rigorous scientific research and scholarship significantly contribute to the ongoing debates over divine operation and divine providence.

Preface to the 2007 Edition / vii

1. The Abyss of Reason / 1

2. Divine Freedom and Necessity / 18

3. The Origins of Suffering / 38

4. The Integral Web / 57

5. The Death of the Closed Universe / 74

6. The Enfolding Spirit / 103

7. The Constraints of Creation / 119

8. The Particularity of Providence / 134

9. Prayer as Participation in Divine Action / 154

10. Miracles as Epiphanies of the Spirit / 170

11. Pictures of the Divine / 190

12. Divine Nature and Human Nature / 211

13. The Witness of the Past / 231

14. The Redemption of Time / 253

Reference Bibliography / 271

Further Reading / 275

Index / 279 

Scientific and Medical Network, The—Winter 2008

Keith [Ward] explores all the difficult areas, including the problem of evil and questions relating to providence, prayer and miracles. This kind of rigorous analysis provides the best counterpoint to militant atheism but is sadly not as widely read as the less rigorous and less well-informed polemics that turn out to be bestsellers.