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Abraham's DiceChance and Providence in the Monotheistic Traditions$
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Karl W. Giberson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190277154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277154.001.0001

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Divine Providence in the Clockwork Universe

Divine Providence in the Clockwork Universe

Chapter:
(p.215) 11 Divine Providence in the Clockwork Universe
Source:
Abraham's Dice
Author(s):

John Hedley Brooke

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277154.003.0011

European scientists of the seventeenth century famously achieved new understandings of the world that challenged Christian theology. A moving Earth displaced humankind from the center of the cosmos. Mathematically formulated laws of nature, if immutable, might exclude God from interaction with the world. An atomic theory of matter had an atheistic pedigree, having been seen by the atomists of antiquity as a way to explain the origin of the universe as the chance collision of atoms. If, as Descartes implied, causal agency in nature reduced to interacting clockwork mechanisms, what room was there for God’s special providential care? Far from a radical separation of science and religion, the work of Kepler, Galileo, Boyle, and Newton forged new connections between theology and natural science that preserved providence.

Keywords:   Newton, determinism, laws of nature, deism, scientific causality, divine interaction, clockwork universe

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