[asa] Spiritual Warfare (Was: Random and design)

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Fri Dec 08 2006 - 09:53:06 EST

Here is a related question: how do angels and demons fit into this picture
of nature? A friend of mine is a missionary. She served with tribal people
and now serves with people who blend a modern faith with a tribal faith.
She was home recently and was describing rituals and practices she observed
that she believes clearly involved demon possession. The missions
literature on spiritual warfare in non-western societies is fascinating
(see, e.g., "Spiritual Conflict in Today's Mission," Lausanne Committee for
World Evangelization, Occasional Paper No. 29). The New Testament, of
course, is explicit about the reality of spiritual conflict.

On 12/8/06, Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net> wrote:
> At 04:04 AM 12/8/2006, Don Winterstein wrote to Karl:
> You're using "natural law" in a religious sense, whereas *my usage was in
> the scientific sense*. (This is, after all, a forum for *scientists*.)
> *Some of the "wonders" recorded in the Bible clearly violate what
> scientists call natural law*. Such wonders simply can't happen naturally
> according to our current understanding of nature. ... *Turning Lot's wife
> into salt*...* require transmutation of elements ...* we want to talk
> about something that might be of interest to *scientists*. ~ Don
> *@ *But this is one so-called "wonder" that doesn't violate what
> scientists call natural law:
> "Gen. 19 is written in a narrative format (*though the language of the
> pillar of salt, actually, I do not take to be a metamorphosis, but a case of
> being covered up like the victims of Vesuvius*). .." J. P. Holding
> http://www.tektonics.org/tsr/tillpfft03.html
> *
> * Lot *In Bible versions: NET AVS NIV NRSV NASB TEV
> http://net.bible.org/dictionary.php?word=Lot
> "..From the words of warning in Luke 17:32<http://net.bible.org/dictionary.php?wordverse.php?book=Luk&chapter=17&verse=32>,
> "Remember Lot's wife," it would seem as if she had gone back, or tarried so
> long behind in the desire to save some of her goods, that *she became
> involved in the destruction which fell on the city, and became a stiffened
> corpse, fixed for a time in the saline incrustations. *She became "a
> pillar of salt", i.e., as some think, of asphalt. (See *SALT*<http://net.bible.org/dictionary.php?worddictionary.php?word=SALT>.)
> http://net.bible.org/dictionary.php?word=SALT
> "..The end of Lot's wife is commonly treated as one of the difficulties of
> the Bible; but it surely need not be so. It cannot be necessary to create
> the details of the story where none are given. On these points the record is
> silent. The value and the significance of the story to us are contained in
> the allusion of Christ. ( Luke 17:32<http://net.bible.org/dictionary.php?wordpassage.php?passage=luk+17:32>)
> *Later ages have not been satisfied so to leave the matter, but have
> insisted on identifying the "pillar" with some one of the fleeting forms
> which the perishable rock of the south end of the Dead Sea is constantly
> assuming in its process of decomposition and liquefaction. *From the
> incestuous intercourse between Lot and his two daughters sprang the nations
> of Moab and Ammon.
> "..The principal thing to observe is the vagueness and the simplicity of
> the story in Gen. For *it does not necessarily imply the "metamorphosis"
> popularly attributed to it*, in the *strict sense* of that word. And it
> lacks, even in a narrative like this, where the temptation would be
> greatest, all indications of that "popular archaeology" or curiosity, which
> according to some critics, is alleged to have furnished the original motive
> for the invention of the patriarchal narratives. *"She became a pillar of
> salt," and "Remember Lot's wife": this is the extent of the Biblical
> allusions. All the rest is comment, or legend, or guess, *or "science."
> ~ Janice
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: cmekve@aol.com
> To: dfwinterstein@msn.com
> Cc: asa@calvin.edu
> Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 2:06 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Random and design
> And just why would we want to define miracle as an act that violates
> natural law? Scripture itself never uses the term. It uses "signs"
> [semeia], "wonders" [terata], "mighty works" [dunameis], and "works"
> [erga]. For most of the history of the church, "miracles" were not
> considered violations. Augustine considered miracles not to be "contrary to
> nature" but rather "contrary to our knowledge of nature". And:
> "Isn't the daily course of nature itself a miracle, something to be
> wondered at? Everything is full of marvels and miracles, but they are so
> common that we regard them as cheap and of no account."
> (Perhaps we could paraphrase by saying the ID shouldn't look for
> fingerprints --it's ALL fingerprints?!)
> Historian Peter Harrison points out that it was only at the Reformation
> and beyond, especially with the "voluntarists" that miracles were given an
> independent status as evidence -- and thereby opened the door to Hume's
> critique. [See his "Miracles, early modern science, and rational religion"
> in Church History, 2006, v. 75, p. 493-510].
> Karl
> *****************
> Karl V. Evans
> cmekve@aol.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: dfwinterstein@msn.com
> To: asa@calvin.edu; mrb22667@kansas.net
> Sent: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 4:37 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Random and design
> Among the several limitations of science is its inability to monitor more
> than a negligible fraction of what goes on in the world. If we define
> miracle to be an act of God that violates natural law, it is not
> inconsistent with science to believe there may be miracles going on all the
> time. That is, the number of possibilities for miracles exceeds Avogadro's
> number by a large factor, and the number of measurements that scientists can
> do is negligible in comparison. This means the chance any scientist would
> happen to measure one of these hypothetical miracles is close to zero. If
> he did happen to measure one, and it gave him a wild result, the usual
> practice would be to throw it out as unexplained bad data.
> Science relies on averages, and a miracle almost by definition would lie
> outside the expected range and hence give unusable data. What we can say is
> that the world is consistent enough to allow science to be useful; in other
> words, the averages practically speaking can be counted on to work all the
> time. Nevertheless, to conclude as scientists commonly do that all parts of
> the world must always behave in accord with their averages is unwarranted.
> The point is that miracles could be far more common than scientists
> think. In random conversations I've found many people who sincerely believe
> either they themselves or close acquaintances have witnessed miracles. (And
> none were in the category of the Virgin on a piece of toast.) If I can
> extrapolate these conversations to the rest of the world, a large fraction
> of people must believe they've witnessed miracles. Are they all wrong?
> Probably most are, because miracles make life exciting and meaningful, so
> people are motivated to experience them even if they aren't real. But some
> of the miracles may have been real. In most cases science can't say they
> weren't.
> (Of course, if you carefully investigate, as RCs do at Lourdes, for
> example, you may be able to say they weren't.)
> Don

David W. Opderbeck
Web:  http://www.davidopderbeck.com
Blog:  http://www.davidopderbeck.com/throughaglass.html
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Received on Fri Dec 8 09:54:06 2006

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