God and nature; miracles

From: Ted Davis (tdavis@messiah.edu)
Date: Wed May 14 2003 - 22:36:41 EDT

  • Next message: D. F. Siemens, Jr.: "Re: God and nature; miracles"

    Something seems a bit fishy, in the quotation Bob gave us from Augustine
    about God and nature. I suspect it may be rolled up in the meaning of
    "nature," which would have to be understood in terms of the "natures" of
    things as well as in terms of the "natural" order. I can't quite flesh this
    out with confidence, but I have my doubts that Augustine would intend to say
    that God never acts in ways that would be "outside" the "ordinary course of
    nature," as Boyle would have put it.

    In any event, I think God does sometimes act in extraordinary ways, ways
    that simply cannot be fully described with natural categories. For example,
    I believe that Jesus was conceived without a human father; that the women
    and the disciples went to the right tomb and found it empty; that our Lord
    made real wine from real water in a trice; and that (for lack of better
    language) there was a time when there was no time, before the world was
    brought into being by an inscrutable act of divine power and will. None of
    these things, IMO, is unscientific, for genuine science cannot proscribe
    events it cannot describe--contrary to David Hume, whose own principle of
    the uniformity of nature rested precariously on his own faith in the
    validity of induction, whose validity he himself doubted.

    The question is always, *did* such and such take place, not *could* it
    happen. And those who would make God a constitutional monarch, who "cannot
    break his own laws," do not understand (IMO) what it means to be "maker of
    heaven and earth."

    ted davis
     



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