Body-of-God Theories of Divine Action
The best way to compare theories of divine
action in detail is to ask - what, for each theory, is the causal joint at
which God - as a transcendent, immaterial world cause - interacts particularly
with causative factors in the material world?
The use of the image of the
world-as-the-body-of-Godis the one which makes strongest use of the analogy of human action, as mental
beings on physical bodies. But immediately it runs into problems. One is that
we still understand so little about how human agency works. What we do know is
that in the case of human action, descriptions in terms of the mental, the
intentional, are grounded in the physical.
The human intender is not an autonomous entity existing independently of
nerves and muscles; it is a body containing a brain. And as soon as we ground
God in the physical world by making that world Gods body we run into problems.
John Polkinghorne points out that pressing this analogy either places God too
much in thrall to the world (unable to act autonomously because God is
dependent on the inputs from Gods body, as human action is) or the world too
much in thrall to God (humans could no more act freely than an organ of the
body can). So this
model cannot locate the causal joint except by risking other very substantial
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr.
Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)