Re: RFEP/ID/Providence

Christopher Morbey (
Wed, 01 Apr 1998 10:19:08 -0800

Howard J. Van Till wrote:

snip snip
But such micromanagement -- coercing creatures to act in ways different
from what they would otherwise have done, in contrast to giving
creatures the capacities to act in ways that will accomplish God's
purposes -- would, it seems to me, have two implications that I find
theologically objectionable:

1) micromanagement suggests to me a violation of the being originally
given to creatures. Would God violate the being of his creatures? Would
not such a violation constitute a failure to sustain the being
originally given?

2) micromanagement would negate both creaturely freedom and creaturely
accountability. What appears to be creaturely action would in reality be
divine action in disguise.


This is good. Orthodox Christian belief says that God is simultaneously
transcendent and immanent. Implicit here is both creaturely freedom and
creaturely accountability. A god who is merely "total dictator" or
"total control" does not allow for an adequate distinction between the
creator and the created. The created becomes ontologically connected to
the creator; monism or panentheism is the result. Jesus was "begotten"
not made (created), being of one substance with the Father (cf. Nicene
Creed). We are created and ontologically (with respect to being)
distinct from the divine.

However, the created does not survive on its own or by its own merit or
initiative. Immanence is "God with us"; he is in us as we are in him. Of
all creation we are the only "conduit" or "road of access" to and from
God. (I believe this last point is implicit in the fact that we are made
in God's image.)

Providence includes the ordering of all events in the universe that the
end for which it was created may be realised. Intelligent design is only
part of providence.

Christopher Morbey