Re: Faith, Evolution, and Tax Dollars?

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Mon Apr 05 2004 - 15:54:11 EDT

I think the key part of what Howard writes is this:
I am not contesting the idea of God exercising real choice (within the
limits of Godıs 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

Ted writes:
Strictly speaking, we might be in agreement that creatio ex nihilo is not an "intervention" in the sense defined above. I have been saying however that it is something like an intervention. Howard's definition of "supernatural" as "coercive power over an extant nature" is however not the same as mine. I prefer a simpler definition of "sufficient power to determine the nature of what is created." If God does not determine the nature of nature, then its nature is given to God as an a priori; or else it is derived from God's own characteristics in some a priori fashion, as in Plato's belief that God *had* to create a *good* world. God IMO did not have to create anything at all; nor has the creation existed eternally with God. I do think of this as like intervention, since if God did nothing then there would be nothing. The Greeks taught that "nothing comes from nothing"; in this sense, the creation of something from nothing (which is the classical sense of creatio ex nih!
ilo, and part of the sense in which I take it) is a kind of "intervention." This is not part of the definition Howard is using: it is not an overpowering of what was already there, but without overpowering agency there would be nothing there now. Since that something has not always been there, God has in this sense "intervened" in nothing to create something.

As for God breaking into nature once created, it should be clear from many things I have posted at other times that I believe in such divine activity. At this particular season, in fact, it is most appropriate for me to contemplate that kind of activity, which is the ground of my Christian hope. I accept Howard's definition of "intervention" here, and I affirm my belief in it.

Received on Mon Apr 5 15:54:55 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Apr 05 2004 - 15:54:56 EDT