Contemporary Perspectives in Philosophy of Religion
Edited By Sebastian Kolodziejczyk and Janusz Salamon
Providence Interiorized: Maimonides, Kierkegaard and Weil on Divine Providence
The concept of ‘divine providence’ has occupied a central place in philosophical and theological debates for over 2000 years. Philosophers and theologians inquired, among other issues, about the nature of divine providence, about its compatibility or incompatibility with divine foreknowledge, with human freedom, and with the reality of suffering and affliction, as well as about the very existence of divine providence and what it means to assert it. Despite the rich heritage of debate and discussion, the contemporary debate in the Anglo-American world is limited in scope. It is largely concerned with the validity of Molinism, presupposing a highly circumscribed conception of ‘divine providence’.
In a characteristic passage, Thomas Flint makes the following comments concerning the nature of an ‘orthodox’ conception of divine providence, taking it for granted that divine providence has to do, first and foremost, with divine agency:
The notion of divine providence that orthodox Christians have typically come to endorse – a notion I shall refer to as the traditional notion (or traditional picture) of providence – is essentially a picture of how a God who is perfect in knowledge, love and power exhibits those perfections through the detailed control he exercises over his creation… according to this traditional picture, then, to see God as provident is to see him as knowingly and lovingly directing each and every event involving each and every creature towards the ends he has ordained for them (Flint 1998: 11-12).
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