Re: Natural Theology, Unguided Processes and Apologetics

Murphy (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 15:46:17 -0400

Peter Vibert wrote:

>George is of course right that some signs are mediated
> through what we can identify as natural phenomena, but I would estimate
> (without doing an exhaustive search) that the general form of a sign is
> that it is _not_ identifiable as a natural phenomenon, but implies a
> "direct" act of God.

Two related points here:
1) Angelic visitations aside, all we ever observe is "natural
phenomena" - i.e., things of the world acting in various ways. We
don't "see" God directly - even in Jesus' miracles we see Jesus of
Nazareth, who appears to be an ordinary human being. It is a matter of
faith to say he is God Incarnate.
What happened at Cana involved water & wine. From the
standpoint of scientific investigation, "Ordinary" events are
distinguished from "miraculous" ones by the fact that the former are
fairly common & we can describe them in terms of rational laws which
conect them with other processes, whereas the latter are rare & we don't
know how to make the connections.

2) In another post on this thread, Don Page refers to Lewis'
treatment in _Miracles_. Lewis' point in his category "Miracles of the
Old Creation" is that what we see in Jesus' miracles is what we see God
doing all the time in nature but intensified/magnified/speeded up. Thus
one of the things the "signs" tell us is that the creator is present in
Jesus. Jesus turns a little bread into a lot of bread, but not stones
into bread!
It seems to me that that emphasis is quite coherent with the
view I espoused earlier, that miracles may be understood as the
implementation of possibilities with which God has endowed the world in

George L. Murphy