Re: divine action/creaturely action

From: Graham Morbey (
Date: Thu Jun 07 2001 - 15:24:59 EDT

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    Hi Uko,

    Just to stick a word in here. It looks like you are harping back to an old
    Vollenhoven distinction of God - law - creation. There are some
    difficulties with this philosophically and I remember, not as clearly at
    the moment, several discussions about it. If memory serves me well, there
    was a fear that "law" would become a "third thing" and somehow introduce a
    concept foreign to the Bible and perhaps even function statically and
    manipulatively. Do you recall this discussion?

    Best wishes,

    On Thu, 7 Jun 2001, Uko Zylstra wrote:

    > 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.
    > Biology Department
    > Calvin College
    > tel: (616)957-6499
    > email:

    Graham E. Morbey, Chaplain || Wilfrid Laurier University
    tel. 519-884-1970 ext.2739 || Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5
    fax 519-885-4865 ||

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