In discussion concerning divine action, Howard Van Till asks "What word, other
than "persuasion", describes an action that is effective but not coercive?"
Although I am not keen on the distinctions introduced by the terms "persuasive"
or "coercive", it strikes me that the word Howard is looking for is "law". By
law, I do not mean the human law statements, but rather law as the relation
between God and the creation ( and all things in the creation.). It is through
God's laws that God governs the creation. What we experience, we experience as
created things subject to the law. That applies to the unfolding of the creation
in the appearance of created things in time as well. Such unfolding is law
governed, not just an actualizing of potentialities that are present in some
"lower level" entities.
In that regard, Howard's comment with regard to the violin metaphor I think
also extends to molecules, even complex molecular structures. Molecules are also
"dead". They do have the ability to act but only in a chemical/physical way,
just as the violin does. But to grant life functions to "dead" things is
something that doesn't just come about by actualizing of potentialities. Such
actualizing of life functions is an indication of things responding to biotic
laws for life activity.
Without the recognition that God governs creation through laws, one would be
lead to a view of the autonomy of everything in the world which I would find
antithetical to a Biblical view of God and the created world.
Uko Zylstra, Ph.D.
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