Re: God acting in creation #4+++

Date: Sun Dec 16 2001 - 16:46:48 EST

  • Next message: "Re: God acting in creation #4+++"

    In a message dated 12/15/01 1:36:08 PM, SteamDoc writes:

    << But if God reorganizes the atoms and molecules, modifying the
    relationships into patterns that they were not capable of attaining without
    God reaching in, I don't see any way that can be characterized as anything
    other than miraculous divine intervention. If God puts (maybe for Howard's
    sake I should say "coerces") the molecules into arrangements they could not
    reach naturally, that is every bit as much "setting aside the laws of nature"
    as making an axe head float. >>


    I thought the two statements of mine had made clear the difference between
    miraculous intervention and staged creation. Let me try again:

    Miracles, as I understand them, are _coercive acts_, if you will, whereby God
    intervenes in redemptive history, for the purpose of furthering the
    redemptive process, culminating in the greatest of all micracles, God's
    raising Christ from the dead. I am not aware of any miracles occurring
    outside redemptive history, but am willing to be corrected. Even within that
    history, miracles seem to have been limited to the special times of Moses,
    Elijah, Christ and the early church. Perhaps that is why it was Moses and
    Elijah who appeared on the mount of transfiguration with Christ--all miracle
    workers. Miracles made no permanent change in nature, but were temporary
    interventions for specific purposes within the context of God's redemptive

    Staged creation is a spinoff from God's creative act that originated the
    universe rather then from his redemptive actions. Let me repeat what I wrote
    to Howard: << In the idea of staged development God bides his time until
    "the fullness of time" has come, introduces new organization when the
    creation was ready to sustain it, builds greater complexity on what is
    already developed.>>

    Let me pursue this further, because I am still thinking through how best to
    describe what I think happens when God acts in nature, through another
    analogy: Suppose you have iron filings scattered about randomly on a sheet
    of paper, and underneath it is a wire attached to an electrical power source.
     You run a current through it and the iron filings are organized into the
    pattern of an electromagnetic field. Simple middle school demonstration. I
    have, however, never heard a physicist say that the iron filings were
    _coerced_ into the pattern they take. God's action in nature is more like a
    field or a wave, than a reductionist particle approach.

    The shaping of an electromagnetic field, as an analogy of how God works, is
    more in the spirit of how the Bible describes God's actions, it seems to me.
     God's action is nuanced--the Spirit of God moved upon the waters, the Sprit
    moves where it wills, in the beginning was the Word. This is not a
    heavy-handed pushing atoms and molecules around.

    You wrote: I just wish you would go ahead and admit that this is a
    miraculous interventionist position, so that we could move forward and
    discuss its scientific and theological merits rather than trying to pin you
    down on what sort of divine action you envision.

    I trust you can now see why I have no intention of admitting that my
    position is a miraculous interventionist position. I am doing exactly what
    your wish--trying to discuss its scientific and theological merits.

    Thanks for your comments.


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