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The notion of the universe evolving through an interplay of law and chance raises numerous theological questions. In particular, scientific evidence of chance confronts images of God and divine action within this emerging worldview. To interpret Christian faith within a scientific world, figures from church tradition are drawn into the conversation, and a particular spirituality is appropriated to highlight the relationship between science and religion. The personal, practical, accessible spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales is retrieved for the discussion. This Christian humanist recognized the love of God as paramount to a human-divine relationship. The themes of divine providence and the will of God illustrate a spirituality of the heart that provides relevant insights into the theological implications of chance. An overview of how the reality of chance has posed numerous questions is considered before drawing on the spirituality of de Sales. Various theological views on chance are presented. As Salesian thought enhances an understanding of divine action in a world of chance, contemporary theologies of chance provide a framework for understanding the teachings of the saint in a new way.
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Keywords: Christian humanism; Francis de Sales; Salesian spirituality; chance; human-divine relationship; love of God; natural providence; natural theology; relationship between religion and science; signified will of God; supernatural providence; theology of nature; unidiverse; will of God's good pleasure

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, is Instructor of Mathematics at DeSales University, 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, PA 18034;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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