Emergence, Theology, and the Manifest Image

Michael Silberstein, Elizabethtown College


The first section of this article discusses the relevance of emergence to theology. The second section characterizes different varieties of emergence. It argues that only radical mereological/causal emergence and nomological emergence - both of which are forms of ontological emergence - have any real relevance for theology. The third section focuses on the promises and pitfalls of using ontological emergence to argue for the existence of God and divine action. Finally, the last section makes a variety of friendly suggestions to theologians, focusing on the direction of future work in emergence, theology, and the manifest image.