Re: agreeing about a mere creation?

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Fri Aug 05 2005 - 15:34:12 EDT

As in this country religious education is compulsory in school some 400000
16 yr olds do a GCE exam in RE (We have exams at 16 7-10 subjects and at 18
3 subjects) This year they were asked to define miracle. The answer was
"events which seem to break a law of nature"

I am afraid many of us would have got zero marks for our answers.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <>
To: <>; <>;
<>; <>
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2005 8:12 PM
Subject: Re: agreeing about a mere creation?

>>>> "George Murphy" <> 8/5/2005 9:38:04 AM >>>wrote:
> In science-theology discussions we need to be careful in the ways we use
> the
> term "miracle." The root meaning of the English word is something that's
> wonderful &/or extraordinary - L. /mirabilis/. In that sense a baby saved
> in the midst of a tsunami, or for that matter the defensive play that
> Derek
> Jeter pulled off in the playoffs against Oakland a couple of years ago,
> was
> a "miracle." (I don't mean to compare the 2 in importance - & also note
> that I'm a confirmed NY Yankees hater.)
> Ted entirely agrees. Newton, among others, used the word "miracle" in
> this
> etymologically correct sense. There is in fact a Newton manuscript (I
> think
> at Lehigh University here in PA) in which he says *exactly* what George
> says. Thus, when people talk about Newton's belief in miracles, they
> should
> understand him to mean what George says above. His understanding of the
> "miraculous" was not limited to God acting outside the ordinary course of
> nature--although and of course it included some instances of God acting
> outside the ordinary course of nature.
> Indeed, IMO as an historian of this type of thing (ie, conceptions of God
> and nature), the main problems with deism and panetheism (incl. most types
> of panentheism and process theism that I have seen) can be illustrated by
> what I just wrote. Deism denies that the ordinary course of nature is
> miraculous (ie, God's miraculous sustaining of the creation is denied)
> whereas pantheism denies that God can act outside of the ordinary course
> of
> nature, so that no "miracles" in the vulgar sense of that word are even
> possible, let alone thnkable. To put this another way: a properly
> biblical
> theology, IMO, is done on a plateau (as it were) resting on divine
> immanence
> and divine transcendence together. Deists fall off the plateau on one
> side,
> by failing to articulate a doctrine of immanence; and panthests/process
> fall
> off on the other side, by failing to articulate an *adequate* doctrine of
> transcendence (they will sometimes say that God transcends us, or that God
> is a transcendent reality, but they will almost never say that God
> transcends nature in the sense of being its actual author).
> Ted
Received on Fri Aug 5 15:43:06 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Aug 05 2005 - 15:43:07 EDT