God acting in creation #4+++

From: Peter Ruest (pruest@pop.mysunrise.ch)
Date: Wed Dec 19 2001 - 11:29:14 EST

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

    "Howard J. Van Till" wrote:
    > >From: "bivalve" <bivalve@mail.davidson.alumlink.com>
    > > I would take Peter's model of God selecting an extremely improbable outcome
    > > to produce a novel structure as an example of introducing a new type of
    > > organization without a change in the laws of physics.

    See my answer to David.
    > Food for thought: (1) In Peter's model, does God only select, or does
    > God both select and cause to happen?

    God causes everything to happen that happens by "natural law", in the
    sense of his upholding everything in existence, and in the sense of his
    providence. Of course, nothing of this changes the "laws of physics". In
    the cases of his "hidden options", God selects a given one of a set of
    "natural" possibilities and, in this way, introduces information into
    the system. I would call this "supernatural" or "miraculous", but, here
    again, not in the sense of changing any "laws of physics".

    > (2) Is the idea of free
    > creaturely action -- without additional influence from a non-material
    > being -- part of what is described by the "laws of physics"? If so,
    > then does the removal of that freedom constitute a change in the law?

    It is definitely neither a removal of a freedom, nor a change in the
    law. A "hidden option" is an option inherently possible by the laws of
    physics, but it is hidden from possible scientific investigation
    because, in these cases, either physical laws don't specify which bi- or
    multifurcation is taken, or other reasons hinder science from
    investigating the case (such as the occurrence of specific historical
    > > Similarly, creating
    > > some entity ex nihilo (e.g., the first cell) and then letting it carry on
    > > under ordinary providence would not require an alteration of the laws of
    > > physics, though they would be set aside in the creation event itself.
    > More food: (1) Could this distinction be simply a matter of whether
    > or not particular "laws of physics" were set aside permanently (and
    > replaced by others) or only temporarily (with the original laws
    > reinstated after the lapse)?

    Even in the biopoesis case, I could imagine the Creator, as a deft
    chemist and biochemist, to work without setting aside the laws of
    physics, but just using a huge number of hidden selective options.

    > (2) Whether permanently or temporarily,
    > would some form of supernatural action be required?
    > Howard Van Till

    Of course supernatural action is required, at least feeding in the
    tremendous amount of configurational information - be it that this
    unique creative act happens in a moment (locally setting aside some
    laws) or over a period of 300 million years through many hidden options.

    I don't want to offend the many physicists in this discussion, but I am
    amazed by your faith in the creative capabilities of small molecules and
    physical laws. Together with Bob DeHaan and many others, I can't get rid
    of the suspicion that you just abismally underestimate biological
    complexity. To say that any complexity is no problem for God's
    creativity is beside the point, because we are not considering the
    question _whether_ he created the biosphere, but _how_ he did it. And I
    think I proposed a possibility that he could have done it without
    setting aside physical laws (although, of course, who are we to tell him
    he could not have set them aside whenever he wanted to?).


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