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Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Publication details for Professor Simon Oliver

Oliver, Simon (2016). Augustine on Creation, Providence and Motion. International Journal of Systematic Theology 18(4): 379-398.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Augustine's theology of creation has been criticized for its Platonic tendency to denigrate matter and for a supposedly extrinsic view of divine providence that is reminiscent of design and even deism. This article counters such criticism and argues that Augustine explicitly blends extrinsic and intrinsic notions of providential teleological order. For Augustine, God ‘administers externally the natures he has created internally’ by inscribing the rationes seminales within creatures and conferring motion through the mediation of measure, number and weight. By resisting a dualism of intrinsic and extrinsic teleological order, Augustine avoids many of the problems that characterize modern theologies of creation and provides a more coherent account of divine providence.