Re: Intervention and Homo sapiens

Murphy (
Wed, 11 Dec 1996 18:24:20 -0500

Gene Dunbar Godbold wrote:
> Don't we have an example of the supernatural affecting the natural world
> every time a human being performs an action in the material world? This
> would be intervention, albeit in a small way. We're just so used to it
> that we rarely think about it. This supernatural intervention is part of
> God's plan in Creation.
> I'm writing this in relation to the idea that there is some seamless (or
> almost seamless) progression of causes in the material world which are not
> the result of supernatural events.
> I figure I must be misunderstanding this "functional integrity" business.
> Anybody wanna help?

In spite of a long tradition of Christian speculation in this
regard, it is far from clear that Scripture requires us to hold that
human beings are possess a "supernatural" aspect. Belief in an
"immortal soul" is a Greek idea which has sometimes been grafted into
Christian thought and may be legitimate speculation, but it is not
demanded by the biblical witness and encounters significant theological
problems. Christian hope is for resurrection of the whole person,
however the person may be conceived.
In an earlier post I noted that there may indeed be limits
related to Goedel's theorem on the possibility of scientific explanation
within the world. It is possible that the existence of our conscious
minds is related to that, as Penrose would argue. But that is not
required by Christian anthropology.
I would also be careful about speaking of a "seamless
progression of causes" in the world. Both quantum theory and "chaos"
would qualify that. Polkinghorne & others have dealt with ways in which
those qualifications may make possible both divine freedom of action in
the world and some creaturely free choice without going outside natural
George Murphy