Leibniz, Newton and the "giftedness" of creation

Ted Davis (TDavis@mcis.messiah.edu)
Mon, 21 Sep 1998 14:56:07 -0400

The more things change, the more they stay the same. But you'd expect an
historian to think that, wouldn't you?

In these interesting discussions of the "giftedness" of creation and whether
or not God "intervenes" and, if so, whether those actions are "planned" in
advance, I hear the same ground being gone over, the same ground that Newton
and Leibniz fought over in the early 18th century. I can't quickly
summarize here what they argued about -- "concluded" would not be accurate,
any more than it would apply to this discussion now -- but I can point
interested parties to H.G. Alexander, ed. The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence
(Manchester 1956). The entire volume is highly relevant. The only "new"
thing I see here is the very helpful terminology provided by Howard Van
Till, who refers to what Leibniz thought of as the perfection of God's plan
for creation as "giftedness."

Ted Davis