My long term hope is that these discussions will lead us toward more adequate
concepts of both "nature" and "the divine." (I will try to employ Ray's
vocabulary here.) Is "nature" missing something (some key formational
capabilities, for instance) that "the divine" must occasionally compensate
for by irruptive, overpowering intervention?
Has "nature" been fully gifted by "the divine" to accomplish divine
intentions? Is "nature" then all the more accountable to "the divine" for its
employment of all of its creaturely gifts for the accomplishment of the good
intended by "the divine" in giving being to "nature"?
Howard Van Till>
My response to Howard:
Yes, nature has been gifted by the divine to accomplish divine
intentions. It depends on how you use the qualifier, fully, That
accomplishment requires the intentional choice of humans to seek God's
guidance. To more fully represent nature we need to differentiate it into a
spectrum from no free will (deterministic) to human free will
(non-deterministic). Humans must use that free will to choose to believe in
a spiritual realm and to seek moral guidance. Humans are still quite
irrational as learning creatures. We are incapable of making valid moral
judgments without guidance from God. Religion seeks to provide that
guidance. Science cannot. To me, Jesus has given the best guidance. He
witnessed to the necessary allegiance to THE truth beyond the self and any
community. We must choose an intentional path, since force will not work.
Now, if fully gifted also implies the intervention of God's free will, we
will have to decide where and when that occurs. What observations in
scientific research imply the possibility of such intervention. Perhaps it
would be hidden in claimed randomness, chance, spontaneity, accident,
contingency,or at bifurcation points. At a more fundamental level, they
would be in the assumptions that establish the boundary conditions for
To Ray I concure with Paul Averson.
This is a good discussion about reality that needs more open discussion.
Please expand on it for an article in the ASA journal.