RE: Coercion

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Fri Apr 23 2004 - 10:31:13 EDT

One is always on tenuous ground when discussing how God interacts with
His creation. The only thing we can be certain of is how humans try to
make sense of all that we can detect by human or physical devices.
Certainly the human vision of creation is based on us being creatures
and part of the physical universe. God's view is from "outside," which
we can NEVER imagine nor understand---unless by divine revelation.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Howard J. Van Till
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2004 9:54 AM
Subject: Re: Coercion

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
> 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

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 don't really

Received on Fri Apr 23 10:31:42 2004

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