Quantum Randomness, Hylomorphism, and Classical Theism

Mark K. Spencer

Abstract


According to certain interpretations of quantum mechanics, the behavior of some physical systems is random—that is, certain current states of physical systems are related to other current states and the set of possible future states in a probabilistic, rather than a deterministic, fashion. This account of physical systems seems to conflict with the claim that there is an omnipotent God—that is, a God Who can efficaciously bring about any logically possible creaturely state, and Who can cause efficacious secondary causes—and so raises problems for classical theism. After explaining these problems, I provide a solution to them based upon a version of hylomorphism, which I call Theistic Hylomorphism with Randomness. On this view, it can be affirmed that the physical world is both random and in determinate states, and divine omnipotence can be upheld in a random world. After presenting this version of hylomorphism and showing how it defeats the problems for classical theism raised by quantum mechanics, I defend it against three objections.


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The Journal of Analytic Theology is a joint publication of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame and Baylor University.

ISSN 2330-2380 (online)