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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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Evolution, Providence, and the Problem of Chance

Evolution, Providence, and the Problem of Chance

Chapter:
(p.260) 13 Evolution, Providence, and the Problem of Chance
Source:
Abraham's Dice
Author(s):

Peter Harrison

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277154.003.0013

The theory of evolution by natural selection, with its reliance upon random processes and uncertain outcomes, often seems to generate unique difficulties for those who subscribe to the idea of providence. This general problem, however, had long been addressed in traditional understandings of divine providence, which contended with an apparently directionless history, driven by contingent human choices and natural accidents. Some of the ways in which the “historical sciences” of geology and evolutionary biology were connected to history proper in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries illuminate this question, and imply that the difficulties which evolution presents for theistic belief arise not so much from its status as a natural science, but from the fact that it makes historical claims.

Keywords:   historical sciences, geology, evolution, natural history, randomness, theism, Darwin

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