Re: Classification scheme for ID debate
George Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mon, 06 Oct 1997 22:11:25 -0400
(Craig Rusbult) wrote:
> In response to my question,
> >> and by "His normal immanence", do you mean the "sustaining" action?
> George Murphy wrote that
> >.....Classical doctrines of
> >providence include not only such sustaining work but also the divine
> >work of _concurrence" or "cooperation", which means that God works with
> >& through creatures in order to bring about whatever happens in the
> >world. I.e., God is _active_, using natural processes (which themselves
> >are God's creation & kept in being by God) as instruments.
> > If we are concerned with God actually doing things in the world,
> >it is really concurrence which should be emphasized, not sustenance.
> But if there is no "theistic action" (either "smoothly blending" or
> miraculous), then it seems that all of God's creatures are "running wild"
> with no guidance or restraints. I doubt if this is what's implied, but it
> seems to be the logical conclusion with no "theistic action". [of course,
> there would be the Bible to provide guidance, but surely the New Covenant
> is more than just the New Testament]
> It seems to me that there are three possibilities:
> 1) creatures always do things in accord with their own "matter in
> random motion" characteristics (as in modern secular psychology/sociology),
> 2) sometimes (or maybe always) God provides guidance (comfort, wisdom
> for making decisions, a good attitude, courage,...),
> 3) God can actually "intervene" (with miracles,...) to be sure that
> what happens is what He wants to happen. [this type of control could also
> occur with smoothly-blending action -- even though we wouldn't *recognize*
> that God had been taking action]
> Unless "concurrence" is just naturalistic deism, there must be some
> sort of "interaction" (what I'm calling "theistic action") between God and
> his creatures. And if so, why not call it "action"? [which would, of
> course, be totally consistent with God working through our actions -- the
> difference is that in addition to the Bible and church-traditions, we have
> the guidance of the Holy Spirit -- John 16, and so on -- to help us]
> If concurrence involves no "action" how is it different than deism?
> re: the suggestion that
> >since we know now that the world isn't made up of static substances, I
> >would suggest that sustenance is not possible without concurrence.)
> Yes, creatures running wild would help to "bring about whatever happens
> in the world" [from your definition above], but how is this related to what
> God *wants* to happen?
I'm not quite sure what the problem is here. My point was
precisely to emphasize that God does act, & doesn't just keep things in
being. This is why I actually prefer the term "cooperation" to
"concurrence", for it means literally that God "operates with"
What about God's will? I believe that God _voluntarily_ limits
the divine action (with the possible exception of a small set of
miracles) to what can be accomplished in accord with natural processes
obeying rational laws - processes & laws which are God's creations.
(This is what Barbour calls a "kenotic" view of divine action.) The
positive aspect of this, the reason it is grace, is that we can
understand the world on its own terms. The downside, of course, is
"natural evil" - God doesn't miraculously stop hurricanes.
This doesn't mean that God is locked into a deterministic
machine. Quantum & chaos theory indicate that there is some freedom in
the linkages of events, & so even with God's voluntary self-limitation
there is scope for divine freedom.