Re: Natural Theology, Unguided Processes and Apologetics

Murphy (
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 08:41:22 -0400

Peter Vibert wrote:

> 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
> creation".

Recall that I was speaking of Lewis' category "Miracles of the
old creation". He places water to wine in that, but resurrection, in
particular, would be in his "Miracles of the new creation" category.
As to axheads floating &c, Lewis' long footnote on OT miracles
(p.139 of the Macmillan paperback) is relevant. Lewis did not think
that all the OT accounts were to to be read as straight history. (Nor,
for that matter, did he think that the gospels were to be read in that
way _in toto_.) I agree with him, but others here won't.
My own feeling about the "old/new" division is that what Lewis
calls "miracles of the old creation" should be considered in the light
of the resurrection as the inbreaking of God's future - cf. Pannenberg's
"If Jesus is risen then the end of the world has begun." A good deal of
recent theology has made use of the "prolepsis", the idea that God's
actions in history are "previews" or "foretastes" of God's ultimate
future. If that is true in any kind of realistic sense then we have to
be wary about naive ideas of causality.

George L. Murphy