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How God Acts.

HOW GOD ACTS. By Denis Edwards. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010. Pp. xvi + 207. $27.

With modern science in mind, Denis Edwards proposes a theology of creation, redemption, and divine action. He begins with a standard description of the physical characteristics of our evolutionary universe, including costs such as sickness and death. He then outlines a theology of creation and incarnation that is informed by the notion of God's loving self-bestowal. E.'s main interest is the divine activity involved in creation, even while he chooses, from among five contemporary alternatives, a noninterventionist approach to that activity. His proposal takes into account current naturalist emphases by authors who portray divine activity.

Chapter 4, "Special Divine Acts," sets up E.'s succeeding chapters, which deal with miracles, the act of resurrection, evolution and original sin, and final fulfillment and deification. His framework is theological, based on Thomistic interpretations that include a strong distinction between primary and secondary causality. This distinction permits E. to adopt a strictly noninterventionist approach, which allows that all events occurring in nature can be studied by science. The distinction, however, does not prevent the living God from providential activity through the Holy Spirit and the life of grace. In this discussion, E. follows carefully the writings of Karl Rahner.

E.'s clear, noninterventionist stance toward context, while novel for some theologians, is not unacceptable to those scientists who today question the ontological status of the laws of nature. He follows John Meier's assessments regarding Jesus as a miracle worker "as a reasonable assessment of the kind of data that a theology of miracles needs to address" (80). This assessment leads to discussion and liberal application of Aquinas's texts concerned with the significant causality distinction. Regarding current discussions of intelligent design, E. remarks that "Aquinas would find no need to search for a place where a designer intervenes, because God is found in every dimension of creation: God 'acts interiorly in all things,' because 'God is the cause of esse which is innermost in all things'" (82).

E.'s book is valuable. It offers solid theological thinking and reasonable conclusions, engaging the questions that preoccupy people.


Jesuit Community at Loyola University Maryland
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Title Annotation:SHORTER NOTICES
Author:Salmon, James F.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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