Re: Natural Theology, Unguided Processes and Apologetics

Peter Vibert (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 21:46:19 -0500

Terry wrote:
>I in no way deny
>that God is free to work outside his ordinary means. But I want to be
>Biblical here. God claims for himself just as much involvement in so-call
>"natural" phenomena as he does in miracles. This is my point with the
>electrolysis and wedding at Cana example.

and George reaffirms:
> (citing C.S. Lewis) 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

I have never thought Lewis got this quite right. To be sure, _some_
miracles are understandable as 'what we see God doing all the time but
intensified, etc.', but I cannot see this as the right description of
making the sun go back on the steps, axheads float, water become wine, or
people rise from the dead!
There are some signs/miracles that have to be understood as a _different_
kind of action from "what God does all the time", and I can't see how they
can be understood as "possibilities with which God has endowed the world in

I too appreciated Jack Collins' posting, as it helped clarify my thinking
about "signs" (which, as I said in my original posting, I was _exploring_
as a concept that might be useful in thinking about Creation).
I concede that "signs" may not be the right concept to map onto God's
"extraordinary", "unmediated", "unusual", "direct", "supernatural" works.
What's the right way to describe them? And is the act of creation (at least
in part - for God used some "ordinary" processes in creating, according to
Gen. 1 & 2) one of them?