Paul Arveson (arveson@oasys.dt.navy.mil)
Fri, 8 Nov 96 09:59:59 EST

Dick wrote:

>So maybe we can't understand the physics of a 2900 BC flood. Remember,
>it was called down by God as a penalty for sin. It was God's decree.
>Do we require that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was by entirely
>natural causes? What is the scientific explanation of Lot's wife turning
>into a pillar of salt?
I find it interesting that there are columnar formations of salt and dirt
located in the region of the Dead Sea. I suggest that these had something to do
with the story in Genesis.
Glenn wrote:
I agree, that God can produce any miracle He wants to. But if you must
explain everything with miracle, then why do you insist that your explanation
is the correct one? Once you are dealing with the miraculous, there is
absolutely no need for an explanation, either yours or mine. God just did it
and that is the end of the discussion. If you can raise the miraculous as an
explanation for any difficulty your view encounters, then why not just say the
whole event was miraculous. No one can ever prove you wrong.

I wouldn't try to explain how God parted the Red Sea or turned the water to
wine or how Shadrack and company walked in the fire. Those miracles we accept
and do not try to explain. In my view, if we must explain an event in the
Bible as a miracle it is alright. But then we have no right to try to explain
it with add on theories. When you resort to miracle to avoid the problem with
the ark going uphill, there is no need for any addon views.


Thank you again, Glenn, for clear thinking on this subject. Miracles are not
irrational, they are historical contingent events that do not fit into our
theoretical explanatory structures. They cannot be ruled out in principle, as
Hume tried to do. On the other hand, I think we need to recognize a law of
parsimony with respect to miracles: don't assume them any more than necessary.
"Necessary" meaning reports in the Bible whose context implies that they were
extraordinary signs that served to vindicate God's word. They are meant to be
rare events.

There is nothing in the Bible that says, for example, that every individual
species of worm or bug was created instantly in a miracle: what I would call
"pop" creationism. Such "miracles" are an inference that leads to millions of
"gaps" or "pops" in natural history. The notion of "appearance of age" is
another example, which takes the abuse of miracles to an absurd extreme.

When apologists invoke such "miracles", whom do they think they're kidding?
It's easy to see these as merely ad hoc devices to prop up a shaky
interpretation. So if you have to choose between two concordist views, select
the one with the smaller number of ad hoc miracles.

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20817-5700
73367.1236@compuserve.com arveson@oasys.dt.navy.mil
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)