FW: supernatural

Tue, 3 Aug 1999 14:58:52 -0400

Mark Phillips wrote:

> 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.

I would like to suggest this analogy, loosely derived from James Houston:
the Creator-creature relationship is analogous to the relation of the
author of a book to the characters and events in the book. In other
words, the author is outside -- of a different category than -- transcendent
from -- the characters described in the text.

Mark's distinction above doesn't recognize this transcendence sufficiently.
It isn't controlled by the kind of events described, but by the fact that
Creator and creature are different kinds of things entirely. All events,
whether ordinary or extraordinary, are still physical events. But God is
a physical being. I guess one may, if desired, choose to call God
but that is not biblical language.

But Genesis 1 teaches us that distinct from God, everything in creation is
physical and "natural".

Paul Arveson