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Catholic Dictionary




The philosophical theory that denies that creatures are ever real efficient causes in the visible universe. God's direct intervention is said to bring about every single change in the material world. At once a theory of knowledge and of voluntary control of action, it assumes that when a human being wills a certain action this is the "occasional cause" for God to make a corresponding change in the visible world, and vice versa. the modern author of occasionalism was Arnold Geulincx (1624-69), Dutch Catholic theologian at Louvain who became a Calvinist. (Etym. Latin occasio, a falling down, a happening; an accidental cause.)