Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Wed May 28 2003 - 08:43:58 EDT

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    To pick up on one comment by Rich Blinne sometime ago.....

    I had said:

    >> 6. Naturalistic theism rejects the concept supernatural divine action, but
    >> at the same time enriches the concept of "natural" action to include
    >> non-coercive divine action as an essential element in all events
    >> that occur in the world.

    Rich replied:

    > So, would your naturalistic theism include rejecting the possibility of
    > miracles as I have defined above?

    Mixed response. Naturalistic theism rejects 'supernatural' divine action
    [in Griffin's sense of a divine overpowering of the natural, breaking the
    cause/effect relationships that are characteristic of the world, the divine
    as sole cause of some event] but would welcome the idea that some authentic
    human experiences of the Sacred are especially revelatory. Thus, "signs and
    wonders" do not require the supernatural [once again, in Griffin's meaning
    of 'supernatural'].

    > If you as scientist solely pursue natural explanation for things then we
    > agree. If you expand your naturalism to include a denial of miracles, then
    > we disagree.

    Yes, we probably do disagree here. Part of that disagreement hangs on
    differing uses of key terms [particularly 'supernatural' and 'miracle'] and
    part of it flows out of differing concepts of the God-World relationship.

    > I think it is important to understand that evangelicals like
    > myself have a different line in the sand than others. Again, your denial of
    > the supernatural particularly in the realm of science while a threat to some
    > evangelicals is not a threat to all evangelicals. But, we all close ranks
    > with respect to miracles.

    For this and other reasons, I no longer consider myself to be a member of
    the evangelical portion of the Christian community. Consistent with this, I
    am no longer a member of the Christian Reformed Church. I am now an active
    member of a congregation that describes itself as an "independent liberal"
    congregation. I have also asked the ASA to list me as a "Friend of ASA"
    rather than as a member. I believe that my institutional & organizational
    memberships should be consistent with my worldview.

    Howard Van Till

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