God's involvement in creation

Ted Davis (TDavis@mcis.messiah.edu)
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 13:42:51 -0400

The deep issues related to God's ongoing relationship with the creation --
ordinary concourse, sustaining, foreknowledge, etc. -- are deeply explored
in Boyle's treatise on the doctrine of creation and the idea of "nature" --
which, as he notes, is NOT a biblical word or concept. Instead of trying to
restate what he says at length there, I'll guide interested parties to some
key passages in that work, in an edition I recently edited with a British

NO, I'm not trying to sell any books: in fact, I don't get a cent from the
hardback sales. I'm trying to call attention to the book, which (I remind
readers) I did not write; Boyle did, and it says absolutely relevant things
about this, and other issues (such as ID -- in places Boyle sounds just like
Howard Van Till, in others like Phil Johnson.)
The book has been reprinted at my urging, precisely because I believe it is
directly relevant to contemporary theological discussions about science; no
other reason, really. Details:

Edward B. Davis and Michael Hunter, eds. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

I recommend the following pages:

Introduction (by editors): ix-x, xv-xvi, xx-xxiii

Main body (by Boyle): 3-4, 9-17, 19-30, 38-40 [Van Till speaks?], 50-53
[could be applied to certain process theologians], 58-60, 62-63 [Phil
Johnson speaks?], 157-63 [overall considerations why the mechanical
philosophy is so attractive to the Christian theist].

I could once again emphasize the contemporary relevance of this treatise,
but instead of repeating myself, I'll let James Houston do it for me:
"Boyle's attack on the deification of such concepts as nature, unique in the
history of English literature for its extent and explicitness, is consistent
with our needs today." (I BELIEVE IN THE CREATOR, p. 36)

Now, class, go out and read the book!

Ted Davis