, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 489-498

First online:

Creation and End-Directedness

  • John F. OwensAffiliated withLecturer in Philosophy, Good Shepherd College Email author 

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Does the act of creation show itself anywhere within the creation? A common contemporary ontology tends to see two possibilities for those who want to defend a notion of creation. The first is to argue that an original set of materials was brought into existence out of nothing by divine action a long time ago. The second, in the tradition of Paley, posits a specific divine action that oversees the development of some of the materials into entities with an end-directedness. Much contemporary energy focuses on the second possibility. The argument of the paper is that the ontology behind both of these possibilities, which limits itself to the notions of a creation of materials and the building of some of the materials into end-directed entities, conceals rather than reveals the idea of creation. The paper tries to show how an Aristotelian sense of nature, with its recognition of internal teleology and original spontaneity, offers a better starting point for coming up against the mystery of divine creative activity.


Creation Teleology Intelligent design Paley Aristotle