Louise Hickman (ed.), Chance or Providence: Religious Perspectives on Divine Action (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014)Belief in some sort of providence is widespread, even among those who do not profess any kind of conventional religious faith. The belief that some sort of benevolent divine force directs the events of the universe is one that has shaped our philosophical and theological convictions, together with our economic and social political landscape. The 2013 conference of the Science and Religion Forum was convened to discuss some of the most pressing questions that arise from a consideration of providence: Is a belief in providence compatible with freedom? What of the suffering of non-human creatures? Should providence be thought of as general or as special intervention? How might a belief in providence be squared with the challenges raised by scientific naturalism and the theory of evolution? This book presents chapters that originated from that conference, and explores a variety of responses to these critical questions. Insights from both science and theology are drawn together by some of the leading thinkers in this field. The result is a contribution to the theology of providence which will be of substantial value to all those interested in the conversation between science and religion.
I must confess I tire ever so slightly of the proliferation of books on science and divine action that seem to tackle the same issues again and again (“But Terry!” I hear you yell. “These issues are the bread and butter of science and divine action!” And I nod resignedly in agreement.), but there look to be some decent contributions to this volume, including papers by Philip Clayton and Christopher C. Knight.
Chance or Providence is published on Monday – or, if you’re reading this after Monday, on 1 December 2014. An abstract, including the table of contents, is found here.