Re: barah, br'

Murphy (
Wed, 02 Apr 1997 12:36:49 -0500

Jan de Koning wrote:
> George Murphy wrote:
> >. . . your post . . . missed my
> >point, the need for attention to the distinction between God's creative
> >activity and the work of . . . natural processes.
> Even on that point we disagree. I, and other calvinists, believe that
> nothing happens on this earth outside God's will.

I am not disagreeing with your intent here. (We could argue
about God's "will", but I think that would get us off the track now.)
God cooperates/concurs with all natural processes, as Lutheran orthodoxy
has insisted. Thus when Bach "creates" (in the common usage) the
B-Minor Mass, God creates it - & in fact Bach creates it _because_ God
creates it.
But it is wrong to think of God's activity to be on the same
level as that of human beings or natural processes. This was the thrust
of my original post. God operates through natural energies (_energeia_),
but we cannot say that natural processes act through God. That is the
point of scholastic language which describes God as First Cause acting
through secondary causes.
In Gen.1:21, God is said to have created - using br' (in the
Qal) the sea animals which the waters "brought forth" in accord with the
divine command. God, not the waters & energies in them, has "barad"
these living things, even though God has acted through the waters.
One of the things I've insisted on most strongly in my science-
theology work is that God acts through natural processes. OTOH, natural
processes do nothing - they don't even exist - without God. But divine
action is not the same as the action of creatures. The world is not
part of God.
George Murphy