Re: Divine vs creaturely action

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Wed Jun 13 2001 - 08:31:13 EDT

  • Next message: Howard J. Van Till: "Re: On supernaturalism"

    I had asked;

    > "Is [human decision-making] "supernatural"? I (and I presume Griffin also)
    would strongly
    > object to using that term here because it has such a long tradition of
    > association with a particular type of _divine_ action (the kind that
    > breaks the continuity of the universe's causal nexus)."

    Burgy responded:

    > So what is "wrong" about the word seems to be its association with divine
    > action. OK. We are discussing word definitions then. Let me define four
    > new terms (ala Griffin's pattern) as:
    > Supernaturalism(d) Divine action, in the Christian orthodox tradition,
    > unlimited.
    > Supernaturalism(p) Divine action, in the Process Theology view, somewhat
    > limited; still >> human capabilities.
    > Supernaturalism(h) Some human action. Severely limited, of course, but
    > still sometimes creative.
    > Supernaturalism(a) Some animal actions.

    > Howard finishes his post with:
    > "Although human decision-making may be neither "natural" (in the senses
    > noted above) nor divine, it is fully a creaturely action. Perhaps the
    > distinction between "divine" and "creaturely" action would be more
    > fruitful than the one
    > between natural and non-natural (or supernatural, or extra-natural)."
    > I think we are struggling here for proper word definitions. What do you
    > think of the four I have above? Descartes would say that the fourth is a
    > null set, but that's really a tangential thread.

    hvt again:

    I see that the first two, supernaturalism (d) and (p), are both forms of
    _divine_ action; (d) can be coercive, but (p) is not. The second two are
    both _creaturely_; (h) is human action, while (a) is animal action. What you
    have been calling 'natural' action would also fall in the 'creaturely'

    I think the four versions of 'supernatural' that you distinguish are valid,
    but I doubt very much that the general public is going to adopt this system.
    When the word 'supernatural' is used without qualification, the meaning most
    commonly taken will still be (d) -- extraordinary (and usually coercive)
    divine action that supercedes and breaks the continuity of creaturely
    cause/effect connections.


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