There is nothing in nature that can be described without God. Let us not
confuse the real thing with the models, mathematical or otherwise, that man
makes to describe nature. Even the mathematics that man creates has its
source in God since man is a creation of God. Loosely speaking what cannot
be detected by mechanical devices is supernatural. Man is a detector of the
From: Mark Phillips <email@example.com>
To: ArvesonPT@nswccd.navy.mil <ArvesonPT@nswccd.navy.mil>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Monday, August 02, 1999 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: supernatural
>> "Inasmuch that GOD is the God of nature, what does "supernatural" mean?"
>> Many Christian writers have expressed their doubts about the
>> excessive usage of the word 'supernatural' for reasons such as this.
>> CS Lewis and James Houston come to mind.
>If I were asked to define "supernatural", I would do so as follows.
>In nature (or creation if you prefer), there is much that can be
>described without reference to God. If I wish to describe the motion
>of a canon ball's flight through the air, I do so using Newton's laws,
>and not a mention of God in sight. This does not mean that I fail to
>recognize God's hand in the canon ball's flight, indeed I do. But
>this recognition does not play an active role in the description of
>the cannon ball's motion. This would be an example of a natural
>event. In contrast, let's take the example of Moses' parting of the
>Red Sea. To describe and explain this event, one must directly invoke
>the role of God. Acknowledging God's role is not just something I
>choose to do, rather the event necessitates it. I cannot do justice
>to the event without directly referring to the role of God. Even if
>someday someone explained how in freak circumstances, the Red Sea
>could become parted through normal physical laws, the fact that it
>happened at that particular moment in history necessitates God's hand
>for a full explanation. It is this necessity for the hand of God to
>be included in the description, which distinguishes "supernatural"
>events from "natural" ones.
>Okay, that was my current best shot at a definition of "supernatural".
>Feel free to rip it to shreds, or improve upon it and so on.
>The argument against Christians using the notion of "supernatural"
>that I have heard, is that supernatural is not a biblical concept.
>The argument says that because the bible doesn't distinguish between
>natural and supernatural, neither should we. Now I don't feel
>comfortable with this. I feel that logically there really is a
>difference between the natual and supernatural. Yet I'm not sure what
>to make of this argument about supernatural not being biblical. Any
> "They told me I was gullible ... and I believed them!"