Includes "From Freedom to Bondage," by Herbert Spencer.

One way to regard miracles and other forms of special divine action isto see them as actions that somehow suspend or ignore the laws ofnature. David Hume (1748: 181), for instance, defined a miracle as“a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition ofthe deity, or by the interposal of some invisible agent”, and,more recently, Richard Swinburne (1968: 320) defines a miracle as“a violation of a law of Nature by a god”. This concept ofdivine action is commonly labeled interventionist. Interventionismregards the world as causally deterministic, so God has to create roomfor special divine actions. By contrast, non-interventionist forms ofdivine action (e.g., Murphy 1995, Russell 2006) require a world thatis, at some level, non-deterministic, so that God can act withouthaving to suspend or ignore the laws of nature.

Some essays published earlier as pamphlets

Frederick Engels, Ernest Untermann, eds.

Samuel Moore, Edward Aveling, trans.

In natural philosophy, the dethroning of humanity from its position asa specially created species predates Darwin and can already be foundin early transmutationist publications. For example, Benoît deMaillet’s posthumously published Telliamed (1749, thetitle is his name in reverse)traces the origins of humans and other terrestrial animals from seacreatures. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed chimpanzees as the ancestorsto humans in his Philosophie Zoologique (1809).The Scottish publisher andgeologist Robert Chambers’ anonymously published Vestiges ofCreation (1844) stirred controversy with its detailednaturalistic account of the origin of species. He proposed that thefirst organisms arose through spontaneous generation, and that allsubsequent organisms evolved from them. He argued that humans have asingle evolutionary origin: “The probability may now be assumedthat the human race sprung from one stock, which was at first in astate of simplicity, if not barbarism” (p. 305), a view starklydifferent from the Augustinian interpretation of humanity in aprelapsarian state of perfection.

Kahane, trans.Foreword by Friedrich A.

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Foreword by Bettina Bien Greaves.
Appendix by Edward Atkinson, Introduction by Hodgson Pratt, Prefatory letter by Frédéric Passy.

College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences

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College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences

One implication of this view is that God may be a risk taker—although, if God has a providential plan for possible outcomes, there is unpredictability but not risk. Johnson uses metaphors of risktaking that, on the whole, leave the creator in a position of control(creation, then, is like jazz improvisation), but it is, to her, arisk nonetheless. Why would God take risks? There are severalsolutions to this question. The free will theodicy says that acreation that exhibits stochasticity can be truly free and autonomous:

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By contrast, some authors see stochasticity as a genuine designfeature, and not just as a physicalist gloss. Their challenge is toexplain how divine providence is compatible with genuine randomness.(Under a deistic view, one could simply say that God started theuniverse off and did not interfere with how it went, but that optionis not open to the theist, and most authors in the field of scienceand religion are theists, rather than deists.) Elizabeth Johnson(1996), using a Thomistic view of divine action, argues that divineprovidence and true randomness are compatible: God gives creaturestrue causal powers, thus making creation more excellent than if theylacked such powers, and random occurrences are also secondary causes;chance is a form of divine creativity that creates novelty, variety,and freedom.