What is it for one thing to cause another thing to be a certain way, or for one event to cause another event to obtain? Much philosophical ink has been spilt on this question. For Christian philosophers the debate becomes particularly important with reference to the question of whether God can have causal effects in the world and whether he can truly be said to have created the world and with reference to the question of whether the soul can have a causal effect on the physical world. Many philosophers talk of the four types of cause, a taxonomy that goes back to Aristotle. The four types are: (1) material cause, that out of which material things are composed; (2) formal cause, the form of the object or the pattern to which it conforms or the manner in which it is organised; (3) final cause, the purpose for which the object was designed or to which something tends; (4) efficient cause, something that brings the effect into being.
   See creation; miracle; soul
   Further reading: Craig and Smith 1995; Ducasse 1924; Sosa and Tooley 1993; Tooley 1997

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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