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October 2, 2008 at 9:00 PM EDT
ABSTRACT: I’ll consider the claim on the part of several theologians, philosophers and scientists that modern science shows or suggests that God never acts specially in the world , i.e., never acts beyond creation and conservation. (Miracles would be an example of special divine action.) I’ll argue that there is no conflict between special divine action and classical science, i.e. Newtonian science. What is needed to get conflict there is the causal closure of the physical universe; but that’s not part of classical science. Then I’ll argue that there is even less reason to think there is conflict between special divine action and quantum science, and that in fact there is no way to define ‘intervention’, given quantum mechanics. Finally I’ll make a suggestion as to how it might be that God acts in the world, a way which responds to the alleged objections to intervention, even if in fact we can’t say what intervention is, given quantum mechanics.
Alvin Plantinga is one of the leading philosophers of religion in North America. He is a three-time Gifford Lecturer, and was described by Time Magazine in 1980 as “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God.” He is the author of many books, including Warranted Christian Belief.
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Here are some article of interest (pdf format) by Plantinga: