Re: Seeking God's will in physical phenomena

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Dec 09 2005 - 13:22:27 EST

>>> <> 12/09/05 12:32 PM >>>Karl writes:
  The traditional concept of providence indicates that God can and does
work in nature. So while nature and supernature can be distinguished, they
are interrelated (which is probably no better a word that artificial, but
hopefully you get my drift). If I understand them correctly, Eastern
Orthodox especially emphasize the closeness of nature and supernature. Thus
I find it astounding that Dembski claims to feel close attachment to
Orthodoxy (as per a quote that someone posted on this list a few weeks

Ted comments:
I have it on good authority (Bill Dembski himself in an email that I have
on file) that Bill's involvement with Eastern Orthodoxy was short-lived. He
regards his present association with the SBC as much closer to his present
views, and also to the views he held before briefly being involved with the
Orthodox communion.

As for Orthodoxy, I've been learning a lot about that tradition lately, b/c
I recently completed a lengthy essay giving the intellectual and spiritual
biography of a leading Serbian Orthodox scientist, Michael Idvorsky Pupin.
He was president of the AAAS in the year of the Scopes trial. I would never
say that I know a lot about that tradition, not even a lot about how
Orthodox thinkers view science and the theology of creation. But there is a
certain "closeness" of nature and supernature in that tradition. Here's an
example: the liturgy performed at every Orthodox church every Sunday, has as
a primary purpose the reenactment or envisioning (not sure which word is
more accurate to their understanding) of what is going on in heaven, right
now. That is the reason for the stress on the beauty of the
experience--aetherial music (think here of the great Russian anthem,
"Salvation is Created" or the church music of Rachmaninoff), pleasant aromas
(from incense), and lots of gold all over the place (gold in icon painting
indicates that the icon is literally a window into heaven, through which the
believer perceives the heavenly glory as an aid to worship).
Heaven/supernature is right here, right now--or at least just around the

The Pupin essay will be published sometime next year, in an encyclopedia
called "Eminent Lives in Twentieth Century Science and Religion," ed.
Nicolaas Rupke, an historian of science at Gottingen. (I hope also to have
one on Robert Millikan in the next volume, but I'm not making a lot of
progress on that right now.) Pupin is not well known today, but 80 years
ago he was literally a household name--his Pulitzer prize winning
autobiography was abridged for use in American schools, and people thought
of him every time they made long distance phone calls--he invented
"pupinisation" as they called it in Europe, the theory and practice of
loading transmission lines with inductance coils to make it possible to call
more than a dozen miles away. They used to say that Bell invented the
telephone, but Pupin invented long distance calling.


Received on Fri Dec 9 13:24:06 2005

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