On Sun, 16 Dec 2001 16:46:48 EST RDehaan237@aol.com writes:
> Miracles made no permanent change in nature, but were
> interventions for specific purposes within the context of God's
How did the raising of the widow's son at Zarepath, the Shunammite's son
or the man who touched Elisha's bones advance God's redemptive work? What
of the floating axe head? Or are they not miracles by your definition?
Further, the former made definite changes in history. Though we don't
have a specific record of the offspring of the boys, can you argue that
they had no descendants who made a difference in the world?
> 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
> 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
> _coerced_ into the pattern they take. God's action in nature is
> more like a
> field or a wave, than a reductionist particle approach.
I think I can give one reason why a physicist does not speak of coercing
iron filings. "Coercive force" and "coercivity" are technical terms used
for demagnetization within the hysteresis loop, and necessarily involves
a magnetic field. But, apart from this usage, I do not see how causation
can be interpreted as noncoercive.
One of my colleagues, a sociologist, told me that there were people in
his field who spent their time inventing terms for, usually, recognized
phenomena in the hope that later studies would speak of "Jones's
parameter" or "Smith's scale." It looks to me as though you are engaged
in a similar exercise to avoid labeling the divine alterations in the
nature of the universe as miracles. But fiat introduction of life or
species into the universe or fiat insertion of new genetic material into
existing life forms is, within the normal use of language, miraculous,
creative, coercive, causative. Trying to split hairs where there are no
hairs to split does not advance understanding, but it is highly
productive of nonsense. Please leave that to us philosophers.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Dec 17 2001 - 13:37:42 EST