The ontology of action and divine agency (do not cite without permission)

Abstract

The concept of divine agency is central to the narrative traditions inherited by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The scriptures of the Abrahamic religions include repeated references to the intentional actions and intentional outcomes of the actions of God. For instance, in the “Song of Moses” (Exodus 15:1-18), Moses celebrates the freedom of the Hebrews from bondage, declaring that Yahweh is “awesome in splendor, doing wonders” (5:11 NRSV). Alongside the picture of God as an agent who performs actions is a conception of God that developed over the centuries as a simple, immutable, impassable, timelessly eternal being. To many philosophers and theologians, this conception of God as a being who exists in a durationless eternity is inconsistent with the way God is characterized in the scriptures, viz., as an agent who acts in time, often in direct response to the actions of other agents. In this paper, I will assume that if the God of Judeo-Christian-Islamic theism exists, then God is an agent who has performed intentional actions. I will argue that if God is such an agent, then God cannot exist outside of time.1 This is because of how..

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