PAUL GWYNNE, SPECIAL DIVINE ACTION. Key Issues in the Contemporary Debate (1965-1995)
The concept of special
divine action (SDA) - namely, that God acts in special ways at particular
times and places in history - is one of the most fundamental presuppositions
of the Christian faith. It is presumed in a wide range of beliefs on such
matters as special revelation, incarnation, resurrection, petitionary prayer,
particular providence and miracles. Yet it has come under serious criticism
in recent times, especially with the rise of the natural sciences.
This study examines the coherence and credibility of the concept as it emerges from the philosophical and theological debates of the last thirty years. The study is divided into three parts which represent the three main clusters of arguments that characterise the general discussion. Part One concentrates on the definition and linguistic status of the term SDA, as well as the two main types of language commonly used to describe it: namely, causal and intentional language. Part Two focuses on the challenge that science presents for the concept and outlines the principal lines of counter-attack. Part Three studies four key attributes of the divine agent which carry important repercussions for belief in SDA: transcendence, fidelity to created autonomy, moral goodness and God's personal involvement in creation.
PAUL GWYNNE was born in 1957 in Sydney,
Australia, joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and
was ordained a priest in 1981. After several years of ministry in secondary
education and in Indonesia, he took up further studies and completed his
Doctorate in Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He is presently
Rector of St. Mary's Seminary and teaches at Catholic Theological College,
(C) PUG 1999