Re: RFEP, FGC and deism (again)

Howard J. Van Till (
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 08:59:20 -0400

Bob DeHaan writes:

>Jonathan, Ted, and Howard agree that God _sustains_ creation presumably
>moment by moment. I also agree. Does not this raise the question,
>however, regarding the _means_ by which God carries out this sustaining
>activity? In some way God must interact with the material universe. I am
>concerned with the nature of that interaction, because I see no difference,
>in principle, between the nature of the interaction of God in sustaining
>creation with the nature of the interaction of in case of God's episodic
>intervention. Both are interventions. Do not all the questions that Howard
>raised about the action of God in the case of ID also apply to God's
>sustaining activity?

No, as I understand it, 'sustaining' is *not* an intervention.

In this theological context I take 'sustaining' to mean 'causing something to
continue to be.'

God's 'sustaining the being of the Creation' would be a very different
category of action from 'intervening to change the the course of events within
the Creation.' This sustaining action prevents the Creation from falling back
into non-being (the state of affairs before God's "Let there be...").

The form-imposing divine intervention of the sort envisioned by episodic
creationism, including ID's modern molecular version of it, is an irruptive
action in which matter is coerced to assume novel forms, structures, or
configurations that could not have come to be assembled by the use of
creaturely formational capabilities alone.

Sustaining preserves the 'being' of something. The 'being' of the Creation
includes its formational capablities. A form-imposing intervention causes
material systems to assume forms different from, or contrary to, what their
creaturely capabilities would otherwise allow them to assemble. One might even
say that a form-imposing intervention represents a violation of the Creation's
being, which would be vastly different from sustaining its being.


Howard Van Till