Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Michael Dodds, OP
Office Hours: Mondays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm or by appointment
Office Location: East 201

Divine Immutability - Classical Theism Podcast

Providence, Prayer and Science - Podcast

Curriculum Vitae


Master of Sacred Theology, Dominican Order

STD, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

MA (Theology), Graduate Theological Union

MDiv, MA (Philosophy), Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

BA, St. Albert's College

Michael Dodds, OP

Professor of Philosophy & Theology

Some of the courses that I'm teaching now, I have been teaching for almost 30 years – yet the subjects remain exciting for me and I try to communicate that excitement to my students. There is always the challenge of trying to penetrate the thought of classical authors such as Aristotle and Aquinas more deeply. There are also contemporary developments in scholarship in these areas that present new approaches and challenges. What is most exciting, however, is presenting ideas that are new to students (however old the ideas themselves might be), seeing the “light go on” as students begin to grasp them (the “aha moments”), and hearing the insightful and often challenging questions that the students raise.  The whole teaching experience is ever old, yet ever new.

I am more and more convinced that the thought of Thomas Aquinas has enormous wisdom to offer to contemporary issues in philosophy and theology. In philosophy, his appropriation of Aristotle's hylomorphism can bring great insight to the impasse of dualism vs. materialism in discussions of the nature of the human person, the relation of body and soul, and the question of the mind-brain relationship. His account of causality is immediately relevant to the notion of emergence in contemporary science and its impulse to retrieve formal and final causality. His ideas of primary and secondary causality as well as principal and instrumental causality are essential to a theological understanding of divine action—so central to the dialogue between science and theology over the last several decades.

I have become increasingly intrigued with the notion of chance. In science, it is central to accounts of biological evolution and to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In philosophy, it remains a challenge to describe exactly what kind of cause “chance” is - if it is a cause at all. In theology, it is a conundrum for many to see how divine providence and divine action are compatible or even possible in a world characterized by chance. In all of these areas, Aquinas's thought can be extremely helpful. I addressed the issue in my Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas.

I am a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty of the GTUAmerican Catholic Philosophical Association, Catholic Theological Society of America, The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, The Society of Christian Philosophers, and Society for Thomistic Natural Philosophy.

Current DSPT course information and syllabi
Course descriptions and information for all GTU member schools

Past courses taught by Michael Dodds, OP:

Philosophical Anthropology (PH-2040)
Issues in Divine Action (STPH-4885)
Philosophy of Nature (PH-1056)
Methods and Doctrines I (ST-5020)
Trinity (ST-2300)
The One Creator God (ST-3095)
God and Suffering (STPH-2209)


Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2012.

Philosophical Anthropology. Oakland, CA: Western Dominican Province, 2014. 

The Philosophy of Nature. Oakland, CA: Western Dominican Province, 2010. 

The Unchanging God of Love: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Theology on Divine Immutability. Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2008.

The Seeker's Guide to Seven Life-Changing Virtues. By Bill Dodds and Michael J. Dodds, OP. Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999.

Happily Ever After Begins Here and Now: Living the Beatitudes Today. By Bill Dodds and Michael J. Dodds, OP. Chicago: Loyola Press, 1997. [Republished by Bill Dodds,, 2010]

The Unchanging God of Love: A Study of the Teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on Divine Immutability in View of Certain Contemporary Criticism of this Doctrine. Fribourg, Switzerland: Editions Universitaires, 1986.


Articles and Chapters

“The Doctrine of Causality in Aquinas and The Book of Causes: One Key to Understanding the Nature of Divine Action.” In Aquinas's Sources. Edited by Timothy L. Smith. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, (forthcoming). [Also:]

“Top Down, Bottom Up or Inside Out? Retrieving Aristotelian Causality in Contemporary Science.” In Science, Philosophy and Theology. Edited by John O'Callaghan. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, (forthcoming). [Also:].

“The God of Life, the Science of Life, and the Problem of Language.” In God: Reason and Reality. Edited by Anselm Ramelow, O.P. Munich: Philosophia Verlag, 2014, 197-231.

“God, Proofs for the Existence of.” By Raymond Carroll Smith, O.P., and Michael J. Dodds, O.P. In New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-13: Ethics and Philosophy. 4 vols. Edited by Robert L. Fastiggi. Detroit: Gale, 2013, 2:622-30.

“Causality, Divine.” By Thomas Chrysostom O'Brien, O.P., and Michael J. Dodds, O.P. In New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-13: Ethics and Philosophy. 4 vols. Edited by Robert L. Fastiggi. Detroit: Gale, 2013, 1:225-30.

“Unlocking Divine Action: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Science.” In Dominicans and the Challenge of Thomism. Edited by Michal Paluch and Piotr Lichacz. Warsaw: Institut Tomistyczny, 2012, 131-41.

“Scientific Vetoes and the 'Hands-off' God: Divine Immanence, Quantum Mechanics, and the Search for a Better Way.” Response to Thomas Tracy, “Scientific Vetoes and the “Hands-off” God: Can We Say that God Acts in History?” Theology and Science 10 (2012): 89-94.

“Nauki empiryczne, język i Bóg życia.” Translated by Mariusz Tabaczek, O.P. Teofil 31, no. 2 (2012): 222-50.

“Hylomorphism and Human Wholeness: Perspectives on the Mind-Brain Problem.” Theology and Science 7 (2009): 141-62.

“Unlocking Divine Causality: Aquinas, Contemporary Science, and Divine Action.” Angelicum 86 (2009): 67-86.

“The Teaching of Thomas Aquinas on the Mysteries of the Life of Christ (Summa Theologiae, Part III, Questions 27-45).” In Aquinas on Doctrine: a Critical Introduction. Edited by Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM. Cap., Daniel Keating and John Yocum. London: T&T Clark/ Continuum, 2004, 91-115.

“Science, Causality and Divine Action: Classical Principles for Contemporary Challenges.” CTNS Bulletin, 21, nr.1 (Winter, 2001): 3-12.

“Of Angels, Oysters and an Unchanging God: Aquinas on Divine Immutability.” Listening 30 (1995): 35-49.

“Ultimacy and Intimacy. Aquinas on the Relation between God and the World.” In Ordo Sapientiae et Amoris, Image et message de Saint Thomas d'Aquin à travers les récentes études historiques, herméneutiques et doctrinales. Hommage au Professeur Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP. Edited by Carlos-Josaphat Pinto de Oliveira. Fribourg: Editiones Universitaires, 1993, pp.211-227.

“Thomas Aquinas, Human Suffering, and the Unchanging God of Love.” Theological Studies 52 (1991): 330-44.

“St. Thomas Aquinas and the Motion of the Motionless God.” New Blackfriars.  63(1987) 233-242. (Reprinted in J. Van der Veken, ed., God and Change: Process Thought and the Christian Doctrine of God. Leuven: Center for Metaphysics and Philosophy of God, 1987. p.233-242.)

“What's Right with the Catholic Church Today!” By Michael J. Dodds, OP, et al. Catholic Dossier 3, no. 6 (November-December, 1997): 18. 

“Science, Causality, and Divine Action,” Angelicum 91 (2014): 13-35.

“Divine Action Unlocked: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Science.” Josephenum 20, 2 (2013): 1-13.

“Unlocking Divine Action: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Science.” In Dominicans and the Challenge of Thomism. Edited by Michal Paluch and Piotr Lichacz. Warsaw: Institut Tomistyczny, 2012, 131-41.

Translation of Jan Ambaum, “An Empty Hell? The Restoration of all Things? Balthasar's Concept of Hope for Salvation.” Communio 18 (1991): 35-52.

Translation of Horst Bürkle, “Guilt and its Resolution outside the Christian Tradition.” Communio 16 (1989): 172-85.

“The Reality of the Soul in an Age of Neuroscience,” Nova et Vetera (forthcoming)

“Philosophy of Nature/Science.” In The Oxford Handbook on the Reception of Aquinas. Edited by Matthew Levering. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

“Chapter 13. St. Thomas Aquinas,” in Christian Theology and the Modern Sciences. Edited by John Slattery. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, forthcoming.“Deus providebit: Providence, Prayer and Science,” Touchstone (Canada) 36, 2 (2018): 31-39.

“The Abiding Compassion of the Unchanging God of Love,” Light and Life: Voice of The Rosary Center and Confraternity 71, 1 (2018): 2-4.

“Thomas Aquinas vis-à-vis Natural Theology, Theology of Nature, and Religious Naturalism,” Theology and Science 15, 3 (2017): 266-75.

“Introduction” in God: An Introduction to Problems in Theology, by Cornelio Fabro, ed. Nathaniel Dreyer, tr. Joseph T. Papa (Chillum, MD: IVE Press, 2017), ix-xvi.

“Aquinas, Divine Action, and the Liber de Causis,” in Habitus fidei - Die Überwindung der eigenen Gottlosigkeit: Festschrift für Richard Schenk OP zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Jeremiah Alberg and Daniela Köder (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2016), 193-218.

“Gdzie jest Jezus?” [Where is Jesus?—A Gospel Meditation], W Drodze Miesięcznik (December 1, 2016).

“Jak to jest być owcą” [What s it like to be a Sheep?—A Gospel Meditation], W Drodze Miesięcznik (September 1, 2016), 138.

“Dobre rady” [Good Advice—A Gospel Meditation], W Drodze Miesięcznik (June 1, 2016): 140.

“Response to John R. Searle's 'The Future of Philosophy,'” Nova et Vetera 14, 2 (2016): 559-64.

“'Of All the Gin Joints…' Causality, Science, Chance, and God,” Nova et Vetera 14, 2 (2016): 503-25.

“Przepaść miłosierdzia” [A Great Mercy—A Gospel Meditation], W Drodze Miesięcznik (March 1, 2016): 137.

“Słowo w pajęczej sieci” [The Word in the Spider's Web—A Gospel Meditation], W Drodze Miesięcznik (January 1, 2016): 133.


Book Reviews

Nicholas E. Lombardo, O.P. The Logic of Desire: Aquinas on Emotion. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011. Pro Ecclesia (forthcoming).

D. Z. Phillips, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004. Nova et Vetera (forthcoming)

James E. Dolezal, God Without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Aboluteness. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2011. Thomist 77 (2013): 625-29.

James F. Keating and Thomas Joseph White, O.P., editors, Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009. Pro Ecclesia19 (2010): 460-63.

Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Heart: an Analysis of Human and Divine Affectivity. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, 2007. Review of Metaphysics 62 (2008): 164-66.

Lawrence Dewan, O.P., Form and Being: Studies in Thomistic Metaphysics. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2006. The Thomist 71 (2007): 323-326.

Anselm K. Min, Paths to the Triune God: an Encounter Between Aquinas and Recent Theologies. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005. Theological Studies 68 (2007): 197-199.

F. F. Centore, Theism or Atheism: the Eternal Debate. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004. Thomist 69 (2005): 335-339.

Colin E. Gunton, Act and Being: Towards a Theology of the Divine Attributes. Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans, 2003. Theological Studies 66 (2005): 935.

Oliva Blanchette, Philosophy of Being: A Reconstructive Essay in Metaphysics. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2003. Thomist 68 (2004): 469-472.

John Capreolus, On the Virtues. Translated by Kevin White and Romanus Cessario, O.P. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University or America Press, 2001. Theological Studies 64 (2003): 193-194.

F. Michael McLain and W. Mark Richardson, eds. Human and Divine Agency: Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran Perspectives. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1999. CTNS Bulletin 20 (Spring, 2000) 30-32. (Reprinted in Homiletic and Pastoral Review 104 (October, 2003), 70-74.)

Frederick E. Crowe, Three Thomist Studies. Boston: Lonergan Workshop, 2000. Theological Studies 62 (2001): 653.

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap., Does God Suffer? Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000. Theological Studies 61 (2000): 769-770.

Stephen T. Davis. God, Reason and Theistic Proof. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997; and Richard Swinburne. Is There a God? New York: Oxford , 1996. Thomist 63 (1999): 334-37.

Thomas O'Meara, O.P. Thomas Aquinas: Theologian. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. Horizons 25(1998): 321-22.

Greg Dues. Catholic Customs and Traditions: a Popular Guide., Mystic, CT: Twenty-third Publications, 1994. Catholic Heritage 5, no. 5(July/August, 1996): 28.

Fabrizio Amerini, Aquinas on the Beginning and End of Human Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. Review of Metaphysics 68 (2014): 413-15.

W. Norris Clarke, S.J. Explorations in Metaphysics: Being, God, Person. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994. Theological Studies 57 (1996): 161-63.

Barry Miller. From Existence to God: a Contemporary Philosophical Argument. New York: Routeledge, 1992. Thomist 58 (1994): 364-68.

Richard M. Gale. On the Nature and Existence of God. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Thomist 57 (1993): 317-321.

Peter C. Hodgson. God in History: Shapes of Freedom. Nashville: Abingdon, 1989. Thomist 54 (1990): 361-65.

John J. O'Donnell. The Mystery of the Triune God. London: Sheed and Ward, 1988. New Blackfriars 71 (1990): 462-63.

Claude Geffré, OP. The Risk of Interpretation: On Being Faithful to the Christian Tradition in a Non-Christian Age. Translated by David Smith. New York: Paulist, 1987. Thomist 53 (1989): 156-60.

David B. Burrell. Knowing the Unknowable God: Ibn-Sina, Maimonides, Aquinas. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986. New Blackfriars 69 (1988): 45-46.

Robert Joseph Matava. Divine Causality and Human Free Choice: Domingo Banez, Physical Premotion, and The Controversy De Auxiliis Revisited. Leiden: Brill, 2016. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92, 4 (2018):714-17.

Emmanuel Durand, Évangile et Providence: Une théologie de l'action de Dieu. Paris: Cerf, 2014. The Thomist 80, 1 (2016): 133-36.

John F. X. Knasas, Aquinas and the Cry of Rachel: Thomistic Reflections on the Problem of Evil. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2013. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2015): 163-66.


“Faith, Science, and the Creator.” Interview on the DVD, Cosmic Origins: The Scientific Evidence for Creation, presented by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. San Francisco: Ignatius Press and Origin Entertainment, 2012.

“Daily Meditations for December, 2012.” Our Sunday Visitor's My Daily Visitor 55, no. 6 (November/December, 2012), Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2012.

“Genesis, Science, and Thomas Aquinas.” Interview by Chris Graney on the program, “Science and Catholicism,” on Holy Family Radio, WLCR AM 1040, Louisville, KY, aired November 21, 2012. Available online at:

“Daily Meditations for April, 2009.” Our Sunday Visitor's My Daily Visitor 53, no. 2 (March/April, 2009), Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2009.

“Daily Meditations for December, 2007.” Our Sunday Visitor's My Daily Visitor 51, no. 6 (November/December, 2007), Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2007.

“Keys to Divine Acton: Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Science.” Ad gentes. Publication of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. (Winter, 2012): 1-7.

“Toward Understanding the Trinity.” Interview by Timothy Putnam on the program, “Outside the Walls,” broadcast on Oklahoma Catholic Broadcasting; St. Michael Catholic Radio; and Iowa Catholic Radio, aired on June 2, 2018. Available online here

Research interests

  • fostering a dialogue between the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and contemporary philosophy and science
  • philosophical anthropology: the mind-brain problem and human wholeness
  • retrieving Aquinas’s notion of formal causality
  • Divine Action - showing how the discoveries of contemporary science invite a retrieval of Aquinas’ understanding of efficient, formal, and final causality


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