Howard, in a reply to Miller, you wrote:
"The answer to this question hangs on the specific meanings of "miracles"
and "intervene" as they are here used. Do these terms entail the idea of
what Griffin identifies as traditional _supernaturalism_ (God breaks the
continuity of the creaturely cause/effect chain; God overpowers
creaturely systems to bring about an outcome that creaturely action could
not have accomplished)? If so, then Griffin would object and say that
that is precisely the supernaturalism that must be abandoned is the
science/religion warfare is to be resolved.
However, Griffin fully believes that intercessory prayer is wholly
appropriate and that God does act "variably" in the world to bring about
outcomes different from what may have otherwise occurred. One of
Griffin's goals is to articulate a concept of divine action that is both
variable (so that, for instance, it can constitute a response to prayer)
and non-coercive. Traditional supernaturalism includes the option of
coercive divine action, which process theology finds objectionable.
Bottom line: If I have read Griffin correctly, he believes that you may
indeed pray for healing, a job, etc., but that in so doing you should not
expect God to act _coercively_ in response. Rather, you should expect God
to act "persuasively" in calling upon the creaturely system to effect one
possible outcome (the desired one) rather than some other (undesirable)
one. Griffin does not believe in miracles in the sense of coercive
supernatural interventions, but he does believe in the appropriateness
and effectiveness of intercessory prayer."
I have read and reread the above several times, as well as studying both
Griffin & Whitehead. They are great thinkers, and their proposal is an
interesting one. I don't buy it myself -- I'm closer to your position,
although I do posit God to be affecting the world from time to time. Your
position is that, I think, of the master violin maker. Once made, the
instrument is perfect. My metaphor is one of the master violin maker who
also plays the violin, tunes the violin, cleans the violin, cares for the
violin. But I digress.
The Griffin/Whitehead concept of God is insufficient, I think. It does
not seem to hold together. I cannot really get my head around an
interference in the causal universe, with the possible exception of
influencing a person's mind, in which there is any real difference
between a coercive action (by God) and a persuasive action (by God).
If Griffin's God only affects human minds, then intercessory prayer for
him to affect other entities, animals, plants, rocks, inanimate objects,
seems to be so much wasted effort. And while that could be, I find it
unsatisfactory. Yes, Griffin does solve the theodicy problem this way. I
think I'd rather live with that problem.
I really appreciate your comments, Howard. Forgive the somewhat rambling
Burgy (John Burgeson)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jun 06 2001 - 17:05:51 EDT