Re: Minimal Supernaturalism

From: Vernon Jenkins (
Date: Tue Sep 16 2003 - 19:16:59 EDT

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    Hi Steve,

    I'm sure you would agree that among the realities of life for the Christian
    is the recognition of the supernatural and of its ability to infiltrate and
    influence the natural. The words of the Apostle Paul in Eph.6:10-17,
    particularly, focus our attention on this matter and its potential
    implications. Too often as scientists we completely overlook this component
    of the creation - content to believe, apparently, that we are somehow immune
    to influence from this quarter. I am therefore glad you have raised this
    question for general discussion.

    One of your comments I find particularly interesting, viz "It
    (supernaturalism) also presents a perceived empirical problem because it
    does not seem that we can capture miraculous events empirically." It has
    been my experience over many years that the intelligentsia in general have
    little taste for empirical evidence of the supernatural - and this, in
    itself, speaks volumes of the human condition, and raises particular
    problems for those seeking to bring forward such evidence. As you may know,
    I have a website dedicated to this endeavour. A recently added page reveals
    odds of 150 billion to 1 against the numero-geometrical features uniting the
    Creator (Jesus Christ) with the related verses Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1
    being other than divinely inspired. You may find these details at

    In addition, Richard (McGough) has, over recent weeks, provided the List
    with compelling empirical evidence of supernatural design that is completely
    independent of my own. So let's be clear about this: miraculous events -
    based on empirical evidence - are already available, and awaiting close



    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Steve Petermann" <>
    To: "ASA" <>
    Sent: Monday, September 15, 2003 10:03 PM
    Subject: Minimal Supernaturalism

    > One of the main problems of both the Darwinian theory of evolution and
    > Naturalistic divine action is the level of information required. Although
    > mathematicians of evolution have raised their concerns about the adequacy
    > the information bearing capabilities of random mutations and natural
    > selection, minimal naturalists who postulate God's divine action in
    > indeterminacies and chaos theory also have a problem of adequate
    > information(the availability of quantum phenomenon). When one looks at the
    > incredible complexity of our world it is mind boggling the amount of
    > specific information that it represents.
    > Of course supernaturalism solves this problem for theists because it has
    > potentially unlimited information carrying capabilities. However,
    > supernaturalism creates science/theological problems like "the god of the
    > gaps" issue when confronted by critics. It portrays a God who circumvents
    > the very structure that God created. It also presents a perceived
    > problem because it does not seem that we can capture miraculous events
    > empirically.
    > The main argument against supernaturalism in science is that it keeps
    > seeking gaps in natural order. As science discovers more and more the
    > seem to continue to shrink until a some scientists would suggest there
    > be no gaps.
    > However, this argument presuppose some ontological and intrinsic
    > to the entities(particles, energy, etc) in the cosmos. I say presupposes
    > because there is no way for science to confirm the intrinsicallity of
    > properties. As ontologically independent things, any change in the way
    > work would be deemed a violation. But what if there are no ontologically
    > independent, intrinsic properties. What if what we view as regularity
    > be seen as God continuous creating a stability necessary for the universe.
    > Quantum indeterminacy could also be God's way of introducing unexpected
    > novelty, an element of chance into the creative process. Supernaturalism
    > could be seen as another mechanism, an intelligent mechanism for ongoing
    > creation.
    > The problem with this scenario is, however, empirical science.
    > events don't seem to fit in to a scientific understanding of the world.
    > do they? Is there a way they could? If they could it seems that the only
    > it would be acceptable to science would that supernatural events are very
    > small and very limited. It would suggest that the way God works is in
    > limited ways that to science appear empirically like anomalies when in
    > they are an organic purposeful part of the emergence of the cosmos.
    > This scenario also fits in with the idea of a God who limits God's self
    > accepts the contingency of these small changes. Some changes may work and
    > other's don't. However, it also portrays a God who, though limited, is
    > actively engaged in the divine life of the universe. This may be very
    > similar to Howard Van Till's "fully gifted creation perspective".
    > I solicit the scientists to comment on the reasonableness of all this.
    > Steve Petermann

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