Re: Natural Theology, Unguided Processes and Apologetics

Murphy (
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 15:07:06 -0400

John P. McKiness wrote:
However, I'm wondering at this
> point how you all deal with the statement in Genesis that on the seventh day
> God rested and in both Old and New Testament we find statements of our
> entering (or not entering) into His rest, implying that He is still in His
> Seventh Day of rest.
> It seems to me that this rest should be taken as a completion or ending of
> some activity and it appears to be that of creation in Genesis for God and
> of our earthly struggle when applied to us. I know that some have divided
> up God's activity into the categories of Creative, Sustaining, and
> Redemptive (at this point I don't remember the original source for this
> concept) and I believe that some authors in the past (if I remember right
> F. Schaeffer in _Genesis in Space and Time_ was one) believed that on the
> Seventh Day God stopped His Creative activity but His Sustaining activity
> continued and Redemptive began at the moment of Adam's sin.
> To me the human concept of organic evolution is a human approximation to the
> Sustaining activity of God in the biosphere and the fossil record is a
> record of that activity.

As I noted earlier, providence is divided classically into
sustenance, concurrence (or co-operation, which I think a better term) &
governance. With the dynamic picture of the world which modern science
gives us, we have to think of co-operation as at least a fundamental
aspect of this as sustenance. I.e., God does not simply keep a lot of
static natures in being, for things in the real world exist only insofar
as there are interactions. Thus providence must be seen as an activity
of God more than simply a passive guardianship of what exists.
& in fact God doesn't always keep things in existence.
Evolution aside for a moment, we forget today how difficult it was for
people in the 18th & 19th centuries to accept the idea that some species
had become extinct, _contra_ the "Great chain of being". (Cf. Eiseley's
"How Death Became Natural.") Biblically, God destroys Temple & monarchy
& nation - & still is faithful to his purpose.
"My Father is still working, and I am also working" (Jn.5:17)

George L. Murphy