Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ocassionalism, Natural Science, and Miracles: Al-Ghazali's Affirmation of Divine Omnipotence and Liberty
by Bruce, Dean, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 146; 27832649
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis is a study of al-Ghazālī’s views on occasionalism. Although al-Ghazālī’s views on occasionalism are indeterminate, it is evident that his theological work aims to affirm the omnipotence and liberty of God in exerting influence upon His created order. One polemical challenge against divine omnipotence and the integrity of religious revelation from the Islamic tradition comes from the Aristotelian-inspired philosophers who argue that the natural order operates through natures that are intrinsic to certain objects. This view on natural philosophy undermines the orthodox commitment to miracles as depicted in the Qur’an and ḥadīth literature. Al-Ghazālī uses a variety of arguments to affirm miracles and God’s agency in the created order, not only be assailing the natural philosophy that the world operates according to the natures intrinsic to created objects, but also arguing that God can operate through mysterious and previously unknown phenomena in the natural order. Thus, according to al-Ghazālī, since God can manifest His power through mysterious, unknown phenomenon, there is no epistemological means to distinguish between natural and supernatural events. That is not problematic for al-Ghazali if God’s power is so pervasive that it encompasses everything. However, it undermines miracles as being a theological proof of the validity of revelation and prophecy since it undercuts any theoretical means of distinguishing between mundane, natural events, and a supernatural sign which affirms the veracity of a prophet.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nolan, Lawrence
Commitee: Dieveney, Patrick, Rozenkrantz, Max
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Philosophy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Philosophy, Theology, Religion
Keywords: al-Ghazali, Ash'ari, Causation, Miracles, Natural science, Occasionalism
Publication Number: 27832649
ISBN: 9798672124421
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