> I must admit that it is hard for me to come up with an ideal
>alternative to MIRM. "Natural law" is perhaps best, but then it leaves open
>what is meant by "natural." In some sense "natural" seems to mean what
>understand, expect, or have formulated laws for. But this depends on who
>humans are (e.g., on when they exist and what understanding they have).
>Presumably we might want "natural" to imply something to the effect that
>thunder is natural, but the Resurrection is not. It is certainly true
>understand thunder today much better than the Resurrection, but one might
>wonder whether a better understanding of God and His purposes might make the
>Resurrection as "natural" as thunder.
Anything containing "natural" would be a poor substitute for MIRM.
For example, I don't like the term "matter in natural motion" to
describe a concept that (like MIRM or MIUM) we might want to vigorously
deny. If we do deny that "natural motion" occurs, we are explicitly
approving a "nature = without God" terminology.
> A related nuance of "natural," at least when referring to such things
>as the laws of physics, is that in some sense they seem impersonal. I
>that this is indeed a nuance that causes many of us Christians to worry
>is proposed that everything is governed by natural laws. Making that
>naturalistic claim is certainly no threat to the concept that God ordained
>laws of nature and creates, sustains, governs, wills, plans, purposes,
>sustains, concurs, etc. the universe according to these laws. But there
>to be the psychological reaction that if God entirely uses these "natural
>laws," the universe would be too impersonal for our liking, or for an easy
>reconcilation with Christian doctrine.
> I think Steven Weinberg expressed it well from an agnostic or atheistic
>position in his Chapter 11, "What About God?" in _Dreams of a Final Theory_
>(Pantheon Books, New York, 1992), when he wrote (page 242), "If there were
>anything we could discover in nature that *would* give us some special
>into the handiwork of God, it would have to be the final laws of nature,"
>later (page 245), "Will we find an interested God in the final laws of
>... I think that we will not. All our experience throughout the history of
>science has tended in the opposite direction, toward a chilling
>in the laws of nature."
> Thus it seems to be this apparent impersonality, or lack of apparent
>interest in what we consider personal, that is the key element that one
>want to focus upon for "natural laws" or whatever one may wish to call them
>("mathematical laws"?). Then there is the question of (1) whether these
>"natural" or "mathematical" laws that can seem to be impersonal or
>really sufficient to describe the action of a personal, interested, caring
>or (2) whether God has acted in other ways that cannot be described so
>according to this model of "natural" or "mathematical" laws, or (3) whether
>Weinberg and others are right in their guess that there is no interested God
>behind the universe.
> Don Page
re: Don's excellent set of questions in the last paragraph, I (and we?)
say no for 1 and 3, but yes (!) for 2. From a theistic (non-deistic)
perspective, "law" is the wrong type of concept for accurately
understanding nature. If we're willing to shift our thinking from "LAWS of
nature" to "OPERATING MECHANISMS in nature" (which I think would involve
God, with personally customized decisions for events that affect his
people), the theistically pessimistic challenge of Weinberg -- that a full
understanding of nature would eliminate God from the picture -- need not be
feared by theists.
If a Christian worldview is more accurate than a materialistic
worldview, then "a chilling impersonality in the LAWS of nature" (in
Weinberg's view, re: the assumptions [and therefore conclusions] of
materialistic MIUM-only scientism) will be less accurate than "a warm
personality in the OPERATIONS of nature" (in a theistic view).