Re: Coercion & Persuasion (Was Re: God acting in creation #4+++

From: James W Stark (
Date: Thu Dec 20 2001 - 19:20:22 EST

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    on 12/19/01 12:02 PM, george murphy at wrote:

    > "Howard J. Van Till" wrote:
    >> But what could it mean to speak of
    >> 'persuasive' divine action on some biomolecule? To be candid, I find it
    >> difficult to get a firm hold on this kind of example. David Ray Griffin will
    >> be speaking in west Michigan next November; I expect to ask him about this.
    > Howard -
    > I'll be interested to hear what Griffin has to say. At the same time
    > it's
    > important to remember that - as I noted a couple of days ago on this - that
    > "persuasion" and "coercion" in this context are first of all terms of thology,
    > not
    > of physics. They are really metaphorical terms to provide some partial
    > elucidation
    > of divine action. It probably isn't helpful to try to describe the "causal
    > joint"
    > between God and the world with the same kind of detail that a description of
    > the
    > interaction between 2 parts of the physical world has. E.g., I think that the
    > traditional model of natural processes as instruments which God uses is better
    > than
    > the "persuasion" one of process thought, but God's relationship with, e.g., an
    > EM
    > field can't be specified as can that between a mechanic and a socket wrench.
    > Shalom, George>

    Would it be profitable to focus on "causal joints" and compare their
    differences? One type of causal joint exists between the brain and the mind
    and another type exists between the spiritual realm and the mind. Does one
    exist between the spiritual realm and matter or must God work through our
    minds? Two involve the necessity of free will as a mental and spiritual

    For the mind/brain joint, a human intention would be transformed into a
    physical cause "after the fact" of acting on the intention by using free
    will. The power of an intended value in the mind would be changed to the
    power of a cause at the physical level. Causality and intentionality would
    be bridged by the force of free will.

    For the spirit/mind joint, God's intention (power of a value) would be
    transferred to a mental intention (power of a value) by the use of God's
    free will.

    Persuasion and coercion would be mental or spiritual mechanisms that use
    free will. Physical mechanisms would not.

    For God to act directly on matter, God's intention would have to have some
    mechanism that does not use human free will. I suspect that the nature of
    our freedom is such that humans cannot measure such action at the physical
    level. Our inability to measure does not limit what God can measure and do.
    Such Godly intervention through this causal joint would always be beyond any
    human ability to measure its occurrence. This may be part of the nature of
    our freedom.

    James Stark

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