On Determinism, Causality, and Free Will: Contribution from Physics

Keywords: causality, determinism, quantum physics, classical physics, free will


Determinism, causality, chance, free will and divine providence form a class of interlaced problems lying in three domains: philosophy, theology, and physics. Recent article by Dariusz Łukasiewicz in Roczniki Filozoficzne (no. 3, 2020) is a great example. Classical physics, that of Newton and Laplace, may lead to deism: God created the world, but then it goes like a mechanical clock. Quantum mechanics brought some “hope” for a rather naïve theology: God acts in gaps between quanta of indetermination. Obviously, any strict determinism jeopardizes the existence of free will. Yes, but only if human mind follows the laws of physics and only if nothing exists outside the physical limits of space and time. We argue that human action lies in-between two worlds: “earth” and “heavens” using the language of Genesis. In that immaterial world, outside time and space constraints, there is no place for the chain of deterministic events. We discuss, in turn, that the principle of causality, a superior law even in physics, reigns also in the non-material world. Though, determinism in the material universe and causality in both worlds seem to be sufficient conditions, to eliminate “chaotic”, or probabilistic causes from human (and divine) action.


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