God’s Providence over history and the causal relations of the disjuncts of disjunctive causes

God is in control of world history. However, world history seems to be comprised of one creature’s libertarian free will after another, none of which are directly in God’s control (i.e., Molinism is false, and even if God is in providential control, which we’ve assumed, he isn’t the cause of particular libertarian free will decisions on the part of creatures). How can this be? I will leave to one side complex accounts of providence. In this post I just want to argue that perhaps God can organize the world to be such that even if there are libertarian free agents who act in unexpected unpredictable ways, God can control the story of history (his story).

Suppose there’s a cause C of a disjunctive state of affairs AvB (where C is a created libertarian person who stands in a causal relation to a disjunctive state of affairs). Now suppose that God is not strictly in control of whether A or B are actual. Since A and B lead to alternate histories, how can God be directing the story? Well, suppose that God knew that C would stand in this causal relation to AvB. Now suppose he set up the world such that (A⊃D)&(B⊃D). Well then, perhaps God knows that, by one means or by another, D will arise, so that even accounting for contingencies D will arise come what may. Well, in that sense God sets up the world so that C⊃(AvB), and (A⊃D)&(B⊃D). Now, maybe this picture is a little too simplistic, but it can be extrapolated in principle. Maybe:


Then maybe A1 and B1 both cause D1, A2 and B2 cause D2 and so on (An and Bn each cause Dn). Then suppose that Dn causes X. However the libertarian choices go, X will arise consequently (from them). Interestingly, they will be part of the causal story, even though the only constant conjunction is C⊃X. Granted, we can also think of more complex stories, but however much we extrapolate, we see that God is ultimately in providential control of whichever story plays itself out, and the story, riddled with whatever libertarian-contingencies there may be, is possibly sufficiently constrained so as to yield the same historical narrative in basic form. 

About tylerjourneaux

I am an aspiring Catholic theologian and philosopher, and I have a keen interest in apologetics. I am creating this blog both in order to practice and improve my writing and memory retention as I publish my thoughts, and in order to give evidence of my ability to understand and communicate thoughts on topics pertinent to Theology, Philosophy, philosophical theology, Catholic (Christian) Apologetics, philosophy of religion and textual criticism.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Eschatology, Free Will, Philosophical Theology, Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Theology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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