Re: Divine vs creaturely action

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Sat Jun 16 2001 - 19:49:49 EDT

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    In general, I think creature vs. Creator is a much more helpful
    distinction. Free agency is not unique to God. However, one wonders
    where to put the activity of angels and demonic spirits. These agents
    are creaturely yet I suspect that we might call their activity

    I have tended away from supernatural vs. natural in favor of regular
    vs. irregular or ordinary vs. extraordinary.


    >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).
    > (source data on issues of science/theology, quantum mechanics,
    > baseball, ethics, humor, great cars, a story of God's
    >intervention into the natural causation of the universe, etc.)

    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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