Re: Process problems from Re: Evolution: A few questions

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Date: Tue Jun 29 2004 - 11:20:45 EDT

Terry wrote:
> That's why I've often argued that there
> is no such thing as "natural"--I much prefer to speak in terms of
> God's regular and irregular manner of governance.

Steve P. responded:
This is my view as well. In fact if a term is helpful, I think "anomalism"
could be a ready and science friendly replacement for "supernaturalism".
The divinely created regularities we see in nature form a stability for
life. The irregularities or anomalies represent divine change. Both the
stability and changeability are part of the divine telic process of life.

To which I comment:
It seems to me that there is still a way to have it both ways, i.e., to
have a miracle-working God without him being coercive with regard to
overpowering free will. Why can't we allow that miracles (even Vernon's Gen
1:1) are part of God's work to communicate his presense and will (i.e., to
persuade), while understanding that the physical and biological evolution
of creation is not something God has ever bothered to coerce? For example,
suppose Jesus did literally turn water into wine; surely that act neither
changed the course of evolution, nor trumped the free will of the observers
(the disciples then, or us now). It was coercive only at the water-wine
level, not at the formative history and contingency of Creation level. It
was not coercive at the human-divine relational level either; it was

I'm sure that this picture glosses over many difficulties that could be
raised, but I think that it plots a course that seems more "reasonable" and
consistent with the totality of human experience with the divine than that
represented by Howard and Griffin on one end (no special miracles) and
Vernon or Phil Johnson (regular form-conferring intervention) on the other
end. One of the things that strikes me as particularly troublesome about
Howard's view (despite his claims to take seriously the knowledge acquired
about the God-World relationship through human recorded history of the
God-World interaction), is that it contemplates a God who is very different
than what thousands of years of human theology has practiced and understood
in its experience. Although I side with Howard with regard to the robust
formational economy principle, I must admit that I side with Vernon in
believing in a God who can and does interact with his creation in regular
and super natural ways. I realize that for Howard the "God can act
supernaturally" view equates to a unacceptable theodicy problem, but I just
don't see it that way. The difference between "God can, but chooses not to
control evil by constant form-conferring intervention" and "God initiated a
God-World relationship in which he cannot intervene to control evil" seems
so minute to me that it does not make the latter sufficiently more
attractive to convince me to take that process view.

Received on Tue Jun 29 11:48:29 2004

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