Re: Coercion

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Fri Apr 23 2004 - 09:53:32 EDT

On 4/23/04 12:47 AM, "Peter Ruest" <> wrote:

> How about a variant of the model: the outcome of a quantum event is
> physically specified as a probability distribution of different possible
> outcomes. Rather than fully determining the _exact_ outcome, God could
> specify a _selection_ probability distribution, to be multiplied with
> the _physical_ probability distribution to yield a resulting _outcome_
> probability distribution. The integral area under this selection
> probability distribution could be any value between 0 and 1. God's
> creative action would be the specification of this distribution (valid
> for the actual case only). And it need not always be "fully
> determinative", maybe only rarely.

Interesting proposal, worthy of continuing consideration. In my own
explorations I will probably try to include more in the combination of
non-coercive divine action + responsive creaturely action.

1. Furthermore, I still find myself theologically uncomfortable with this
aspect of your proposal: your suggestion is that God changes the outcome
probability distribution by imposing a modified selection probability
distribution. That strikes me as a divinely imposed and transient
modification of the creature. Changing the character of the creature leads
to a resultant change in the outcome. Still seems a bit coercive.

2. If fully-determinative divine action is possible, even if rarely
employed, it would seem to me that all of the theodicy concerns I have
raised lurk once again as a dark cloud on the horizon.

3. I'm not at all sure that any sort of model for the physical mechanism of
these actions is going to be fruitful. But, of course, I donšt really know.

Received on Fri Apr 23 09:54:36 2004

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