Human and Divine Providence

To what extent the study of human providential action in the context of virtuous behaviour might expand the ways of thinking about God’s providential care of the world.

This project seeks to offer an original perspective on understanding divine providence by looking at cases of human providence exhibited, for example, in human behaviours such as deliberation, planning, and imagining contingencies, and arising from virtues such as foresight, future-mindedness, and prudence.

Divine providence is one of the most pressing issues in analytic theology and philosophy of religion today, in particular in the face of scientific evidence of a natural world full of indeterminacies and contingencies (for example, in quantum mechanics, cosmological models for the origin of the universe, galaxies and stars, and evolutionary biology). According to classical theism, God governs the history of the natural world and humanity with perfect foreknowledge of worldly future events.

On the other hand, God allows creatures to behave contingently and in a non-deterministic fashion. Most of the innovative proposals that have attempted to reconcile these claims have located God’s providential action within the indeterminacies of the natural world.

By looking at human providence, the proposed project aims to catalyse a change of paradigm, applying new metaphors to understand and explain the relations of divine providence and creaturely action.

The main outputs will include an international symposium, a scholarly monograph on the metaphysics of divine providence, and at least 10 article manuscripts arising from the symposium, plus a research seminar in April 2020.

Director: Dr. Ignacio Silva

Research assistant: Simon Kopf (Universidad de Oxford, UK)

Duration: 2017-2020

Funding: John Templeton Foundation (USD 207.681)