Re: The state of suburban theology

From: <>
Date: Tue Jun 15 2004 - 12:37:48 EDT

I want to revisit something Howard wrote a while ago:

The rhetoric of episodic creationism (young-earth creationism, old-earth
creationism, progressive creationism, & the intelligent design movement)
seems to so minimize the role of divine action within the system of natural
causation as to equate 'natural' action with 'material' action (mechanistic
in nature). As I noted recently, perhaps traditional Christian theology
suffers from having a severely underdeveloped concept of non-coercive divine
action. (In place of 'non-coercive' I prefer the positive term
'contributive,' in contrast to 'determinative' divine action.)

Once 'natural' action has been equated with 'material' action (devoid of
divine influence or participation), the only way to get divine creative
action into the universe's formational history is to break the chain of
natural action and insert occasional episodes of form-imposing supernatural
('coercive,' or better, 'determinative') divine intervention (perhaps to
introduce a new species or to add a flagellum to an E. coli bacterium).
(sorry for the lack of > quotes -- comcast's webmail is handy but lacks some
of the niceties)

This has been something that has bothered me about the YEC community for some time. They seem to divide nature into "natural" processes that proceed without divine supervision, and the miraculous, where God reaches into nature and disrupts something. I prefer to think of nature -- the entirety of it -- as God's creation that responds to His oversight. It seems to me foolish to posit that God would create nature He didn't want to interact with. It also seems foolish to posit that in order to interact with nature God must disrupt something. Rather nature is a mechanism designed to respond to the creator's direction at all times. The response is totally governed by natural laws. But the inputs (which are designed for, and which probably take place at the quntum level, or may be hidden in chaos) come from God. It mystifies me that YEC's can't -- or won't -- understand this view.

Bill Hamilton
Received on Tue Jun 15 13:17:41 2004

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