Re: [asa] Boyle, MN and divine agency

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Apr 17 2009 - 15:16:05 EDT

>>> Douglas Hayworth <> 4/17/2009 8:20 AM >>> asked
me this:

I lost the original thread, so I've had to start fresh. Cameron asked
Boyle's view of origins vs. operations. I'd like to ask your thoughts
the other end of the spectrum. How did Boyle's reconcile God's governance
vs. nature's operational causation in the current activity of creation?
he allow for both to be possible at the same time, or was he more deistic
(God's activity is all front-loaded)? That may not be the best way to ask
the question, but I think you get the idea.


Here is my reply:

Another excellent question here. Boyle believed that God worked miracles
here and now, at least by uniting the souls of individual persons with there
developing bodies in utero, probably at or around the time of quickening.
Boyle also believed that genuine medical miracles were still possible, and
he was favorably inclined toward the Scottish phenomenon of "second sight."
He also believed in the possibility of angels (both good and bad angels)
communicating with us. Most importantly, he believed that the testimony of
the gospels and the Acts was sufficient to establish the authenticity of
biblical miracles, which themselves were sufficient to prove the
authenticity of Christianity. Furthermore, he believed that there is a
certain "looseness," if I may call it that, in natural processes, such that
some events in nature might be partly a result of non-mechanical forces. My
own description of that, without going into great length, has to be loose
itself, reflecting his own uncertainty about this. For more on this
looseness, see John Henry's chapter in the book, "Robert Boyle
Reconsidered," ed. Michael Hunter.


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Received on Fri Apr 17 15:16:42 2009

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