Re: Reconciling underlying assumptions??

Murphy (
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 06:53:44 -0500

Gladwin Joseph wrote:
> Dear Folks,
> Can one use God's method of operating in Salvific history as
> a model to interpret Creation history. This presupposes
> the pre-eminence of Salvific history over Creation
> history, although i would rather prefer a method that holds
> the two in tension. Searching for analogies to illustrate
> such a tension, I think a ship with its three key components
> may help. The engine, the compass, and the rudder. The
> Salvific history is both the engine and the compass, then
> Creation history is both the compass and the rudder. You
> need all three to keep the ship moving in the right
> direction.
> If however we should use Salvific history as the model, we
> see GOD intervene periodically to accomplish His
> Soverign purpose for Creation. From a human perspective
> we see GOD intervening in the trajectory of history. This
> does not have to mean that GOD in the intervening period
> twiddles His thumbs- For in Him All things hold together.
> The biblical record reveals Godly intervention, there is
> silence till Adam, then there is silence till Noah, silence
> till Abraham Isaac and Jacob, silence till Moses, and so on
> till Jesus Christ. There is stasis and change, stasis and
> change. Nature appears to evolve in analagous ways. In
> nature, God's intervention has a material manifestation
> that corresponds to that level of nature. Is it necessary
> that at all levels of nature, God's mechanism of
> intervention needs to be understood/visible to human
> epistemological constructs? I think not. In Creation
> history He intervenes invisibly but in Salvific history He
> intervenes visibly for reasons that are not readily
> apparent. In other words there is a Holy tension
> (mystery:)) between the visible and invisible
> intervening mechanism of GOD.
> IMO this helps me bring the model of Functional Integrity
> and ID Progressive Creation together in some form, albiet
> in `Holy' tension!

This may be an interesting line to pursue. Be aware, however,
that historic differences between Christian traditions will surface
quickly, since it is about how salvation history takes place (faith &
works, roles of church & ministry, sacraments, &c) that many
denominational differences have arisen. From a Lutheran though not to
exclude others) perspective, the following creation/salvation parallels
are interesting:
1) "The renewal of creation has been the work of the selfsame
Word who made it at the beginning" (Athanasius).
2) God normally works mediately in creation, through natural
processes. The Holy Spirit normally works to begin and sustain saving
faith mediately, through word and sacraments.
3) While God's salvific work appears to have its ups and downs,
the community of the people of God in and through which the means of
grace are available is always maintained. "From Abel there is the
church" (Augustine) (though I would agree that in the biblical story the
existence of such a community does seem to be sporadic until Moses) and
"one holy Christian church will be and remain forever" (Augsburg
4) In creation, God "co-operates" with natural processes. In
the Incarnation, according to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, the divine
and human "operations" (_energeia_) together accomplish the work of
George Murphy