sources on contingency and science
Thu, 17 Oct 96 16:55:00 -0400

It has been suggested that I might cite a few
references to support my claims about the crucial
role played by voluntarist theologies of creation
in 17th century science. I am happy to do so; those
uninterested this subject can simply skip what follows
and pass to the next message.

My own dissertation, though not widely available (copies
made by University Microfilms can be obtained at a few
academic libraries that might lend to other libraries),
concentrates on this very issue. "Creation, Contingency,
and Early Modern Science: The IMpact of Voluntaristic
Theology on 17th Century Science," Indiana University,
1984. I have also written a few articles based on my
dissertation, one on Newton in Fides et Historia (1990),
reprinted in Science & Christian Belief (1991); another
on Descartes in Scottish Journal of THeology (1991).
Shortly to appear is an article covering (more briefly)
Galileo, Descartes, and Boyle, in the 3-volume set being
edited by Jitse van der Meer of Redeemer College. This is
supposed to be out within a few weeks. An improved version
of that article is part of a collection of essays on
evangelicals and science, ed. Mark Noll et al., that is
in review process as I write this. We are hopeful of a
contract from Oxford.

Half a zillion other scholars have also written about
this issue. Some of the best stuff is contained in a
volume edited by Cameron Wybrow, "Creation, Nature, and
Political Order in the Thought of Michael Foster," which
I reviewed in the June 94 issue of PSCF. An excellent
book would be Francis Oakley, "Omnipotence, Covenant,
and Order." A much briefer argument along the same
lines is found in R.Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of
Modern Science, chap 2. Once you start pulling out
references in the notes of these works, there's no

Hope this helps more than confuses or frustrates.