Fate and Free Will
A Defense of Theological Determinism
406 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268106294 | November 2019
eBook (PDF) | 9780268106324 | November 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268106317 | November 2019
In Fate and Free Will, Heath White explores and defends a traditional view of God's relationship to creation that has in recent years fallen out of favor. White argues that theological determinism—the idea that God is directly responsible for every detail of history and existence—is relevant to concepts such as human responsibility, freedom, and justice; the meaning of life; and theodicy. Defending theological determinism from the perspective of traditional orthodox Christianity, White clarifies this view, positions it within scripture, and argues positively for it through considerations about divine attributes and via the idea of an ex nihilo creation.
White addresses objections to theological determinism by presenting nuanced and insightful counterarguments. He asserts that theological determinism does not undermine practices of criminal punishment, destroy human responsibility, render life meaningless, or hinder freedom. While the book does not attempt to answer every dilemma concerning evil or hell, it effectively grapples with them. To make his case for theological determinism, White relies on theories of free will, moral responsibility, and a meaningful life. He uses clear commonsense language and vivid illustrations to bring to light the conditions of meaning and purpose in our lives and the metaphysics of God's relationship to the world. This original book will appeal to the philosophical community as well as students and scholars of theology.
Heath White is professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and the author of a number of books, including Inferentialism and Practical Reason: Towards a New Theory of Practical Reasoning, Intention, Desire, and Evaluative Belief.
"Theological determinism has in recent decades not received the attention devoted to various versions of theological libertarianism, and this state of affairs is best corrected. Fate and Free Will promises to be the best current book-length philosophical treatment of theological determinism from a Christian perspective. It is in addition accessible to undergraduates and to the college-educated public." ~Derk Pereboom, Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy, Cornell University
"Contemporary philosophy of religion has been dominated by approaches that assume a very robust libertarianism about free will and have unsurprisingly been accompanied by a diminished view of divine sovereignty. W. Heath White’s Fate and Free Will is a welcome counterweight. Beginning instead with a very robust account of divine sovereignty that precludes libertarianism, White shows how much progress can be made on thorny theological issues without sacrificing a strong conception of God as determiner of all that was, is, and ever will be." ~Mark C. Murphy, Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S. and Catherine H. McDevitt L.C.H.S. Chair in Religious Philosophy, Georgetown University
"Instead of engaging in the all-too-common and often unilluminating “low road” of argument and counterexample, Heath White primarily takes what he calls the “high road” of explanation. He is always asking “why” and proposing thoughtful and systematic answers. What results is a series of theories: theories of prayer, of punishment, of blame, of free will, even of the meaning of life, all connected to the overarching theologically determinist theory of divine providence. If you want to wrestle with genuinely deep and thorough attempts to get to the bottom of things, I can’t recommend anything on the subject more highly." ~Daniel M. Johnson, Shawnee State University