Just a couple of comments:
My present understanding, though not at all firmly established in my mind,
is that the intimacy or immediacy of God's action through chains of
cause-and-effect in nature is not different from His "miraculous" action.
In other words, God is no less involved in "natural" than "miraculous"
events. In fact, I suspect the distinction is only one of our perception.
At the same time, I find the idea of God endowing creation with genuine
freedom (though not autonomy) to be attractive. Such a conception gives
all of creation the same "free will" that we experience, and gives His
action in both human history and creative history a certain consistency.
At this point I do not have a clear idea of how to integrate these
perspectives - if such is possible.
One issue I do feel fairly strong about is that any understanding of God's
action in Earth's formative history must be consistent with our experience
of God's present action. How then do we perceive God's action in response
to prayer? I think that for the vast majority of cases (perhaps all) of
answered prayer, there is no demonstable break in cause-and-effect. But
yet we understand that God has acted in a very personal direct manner.
God's present action seems to be "invisible" to scientific demonstration.
Lastly, I think it is important to not visualize God's action in creation
as though He were Himself a physical entity. Much of the images of God
nudging, or manipulating, or intruding into creation gives me the
impression that God is acting as though He were a physical cause. This
action is then seen as either being in principle detectable (as
astronomically improbable events or a casual breaks) or to be found in
nature's indeterminancies (at the quantom level for example). Why must
there be an apparent reserved place for God's action within our scientific
description? How can we even possibly conceive of how spirit interacts
with the physical? We don't even have a clue as to how our own spiritual
nature relates to our bodies - or to how our minds and wills relate to our
Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506