Re: Faith, Evolution, and Tax Dollars?

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Mon Apr 05 2004 - 15:21:09 EDT

Ted, for reasons that I do not understand, it seems to me that in your last
couple of responses you are persistently choosing to ignore the following
excerpt of my earlier posting:

>> Ted: To get this fine tuning without infinite (or at least, unlimited) time
>> and
>> matter, one really needs to invoke unlimited force, ie "intervention."
> HVT: You need to define ³intervention² here or the rest of this conversation
> will be hopelessly muddled. To ³intervene² is ordinarily to ³come between² A &
> B, to enter into a chain of events or processes already under way so as to
> change the outcome. In the context of that usual leaning, the ex nihilo giving
> of being to a fine-tuned universe must be placed in an entirely different
> category. There was no extant chain of events or processes into which God
> could enter. The giving of being to something ex nihilo requires no
> overpowering of what was already there.
>> Ted: Unless God did in fact exercise omnipotence to determine the nature of
>> nature, then we are right back to infinite time and matter. Take your
>> choice.
> HVT: Fine, but the fundamental distinction between a) ³intervention²
> (entering into an extant chain of events/processes), and b) ³exnihilation²
> (giving being to that which had no being) MUST be respected.
> TED: Several times in the past, I've discussed my conviction (my scholarly
conviction as well as my spiritual one) that one cannot get genuine
contingency in nature--the type of contingency in which the laws of nature
*do not have to be what they are*--without a creator who "overrules" or
"determines" the nature of nature. That is, without something pretty much
like "intervention." I lack the time to repeat all those arguments here,
but they should be archived.
I am not contesting the idea of God exercising real choice (within the
limits of God¹s own character, of course) in the particular nature of this
universe (which involves choosing the particular values of parameters that
apply to the physical character of the universe). But that is something
different from classical omnipotence, which includes the power (and
willingness) to exercise supernatural (coercive power over over an extant
nature) intervention (irruptive breaking of an extant natural cause/effect

Contingency in the detailed nature of the universe is not in question here.
Irruptive overpowering of a universe that was once given its being is the
issue under scrutiny. Does the nature of God and the God/World relationship
permit God to break the causal chain in a created universe and to overpower
what was once given its being? Not all divine action is properly labeled
³intervention.² If you choose to continue to use one label, ³intervention,²
for differing categories of divine action, our conversation is useless.

Received on Mon Apr 5 15:21:44 2004

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