Re: Does RFE imply deism?

Bill Hamilton (
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 10:09:32 -0500

At 10:47 AM 3/30/98 EST5EDT, wrote:

I wrote

that he commands at will. But without his sovereign command, moment by
moment, nature ceases to function and indeed ceases to exist. That is
a huge gap -- but one we are not permitted to see. There might of course
be other gaps which lie in the category of "secret things" ala Deut
29:29. In much of this discussion there seems to be an implicit assumption
that it there are gaps, we can find them. I think that's a questionable
Howard wrote:

>That "huge gap" of which you speak is not a gap in the _formational
>economy_ of the Creation. This "gap" beteween non-being and being
>resides at an entirely different level from the gaps of which I have
>spoken. Perhaps we need to develop a "taxonomy" of gaps to avoid
>confusing the several types.

Agreed -- to a point. Certainly the gap between being and nonbeing is not
a gap in the formational economy. And a taxonomy of gaps might be a good
idea. However, I still want to ask questions such as, Is the entirety of
the formational economy potentially visible to humans? Or might there be
aspects of it that simply are not open to human investigation? (or if such
gaps existed would they by definition be excluded from the formational
economy?) I'm not saying that there are aspects we ought ont to
investigate. I believe we ought to investigate anything we can study. But
there might be elements of of the formational economy that simply won't
show up in any investigation. And those elements might be among the means
God uses to oversee nature. Candidates for such aspects might be (through
the spectacles of an engineer who studies nonlinear dynamics and control
theory and dabbles in quantum mechanics and probability theory in the late
20th century) might be the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in
nonlinear dynamics and the indeterminacies of quantum mechanics.
>While I'm at it, I think we must also be careful in using a reference to
>"sovereign command." This is an employment of the 'royal metaphor' in
>which God's relationship to us is likened to the relationship of a
>benevolent and just king to his subjects. The sovereignty of a king is a
>matter of his _authority_ and the corresponding _accountability_ of his
>subjects. The king does not "control" his subjects in the manner of
>moment-by-moment micromanagement.
>I see too many instances in which "sovereignty" and "micromanagement"
>and not sufficiently distinguished. I believe God to be sovereign, and I
>am therefore accountable to him for what I do with the gift of being he
>has granted me. But I am accountable for what _I_ do as a creature whose
>actions are not micromanaged by any external agency. Influenced, yes;
>micromanaged, no. Micromanagement would, I believe, eliminate both
>freedom and responsibility.
Your point is well-taken. I think George Murphy has done us a great service
by reminding us of the Theology of the Cross -- that God more often than
not chooses to govern by means which seem incapable of bringing about his
ends. I didn't intend to allude to micromanagement. Rather the image in
my mind was one of God continuing to bless nature and -- mostly using means
he has reserved for himself -- influence nature as he desires. But I see
that influence as planned and subtle, not disruptive.
Bill Hamilton
Staff Research Engineer
Chassis and Vehicle Systems
GM R&D Center
Warren, MI