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Divine Agency and Divine Action, Volume IExploring and Evaluating the Debate$
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William J. Abraham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786504

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786504.001.0001

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Divine Agency and Divine Action

Divine Agency and Divine Action


(p.1) 1 Divine Agency and Divine Action
Divine Agency and Divine Action, Volume I

William J. Abraham

Oxford University Press

The fundamental problems that have arisen over the last half-century in treatments of divine action in the Christian tradition stem from a failure to come to terms with the concept of action. Theologians and philosophers have assumed that we can have a closed conception of agency on a par with the concept of knowledge. On the contrary, the concept of action is a general concept like “event,” “quality,” or “thing.” It is an open concept with a great variety of context-dependent criteria. Recent work on the concept of action can provide an initial and utterly indispensable orientation in work on divine agency and divine action, but it cannot resolve fundamental questions about what God has really done; nor can it illuminate the particular actions of God that are so important in theology. For that we need to turn to theology proper, that is, to work in historical and systematic theology.

Keywords:   action, concept, divine action, analytic philosophy, history of philosophy, theology

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