Re: Divine vs creaturely action

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Sat Jun 16 2001 - 11:55:38 EDT

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    I had defined four subdefinitions of the (loaded) word "supernaturalism,
    as follows:

    > 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

    > Supernaturalism(a)
    Some animal actions.

    Howard observed that "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)."

    One problem I have with that is that it appears that many of the actions
    we humans perform are just by rote/habit, and to ascribe any free will to
    them seems kind of silly. I think it is necessary to distinguish between,
    say, a sneeze, or a reflexive turning of the head upon hearing someone
    call our name, and a deliberate choice of choosing between two (or more)
    alternative actions based upon considered thought.

    Generally speaking, I do not choose to sneeze, and so I would not ascribe
    any supernaturistic(h) characteristic to that action. But in responding
    to your comments, I do ascribe supernaturalism(h).

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