Re: [asa] natural laws and God

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Sat Dec 09 2006 - 19:15:54 EST

>>> "Don Winterstein" <> 12/09/06 11:25 AM >>>writes:

Ted wrote: "The order of nature is therefore contingent, with
observed regularities reflecting God's faithfulness in upholding the
creation as expressed through God's ordinary power, rather than any rational
necessity arising from the nature of things."

This is what I call the religious view of nature and natural law; it implies
that nothing is supernatural, just that God at times suspends the usual
regularity of nature, which usual regularity is contingent on his will from
femtosecond to femtosecond. This is perfectly acceptable, of course, for
religious people, and I myself accept it with the understanding that
evidences such as those of the fossil record suggest that God is reluctant
to suspend the usual regularity. That is, he seems unwilling to manipulate
nature in such a way as, for example, to make the trajectory of evolution
appear other than haphazard. In other places I've referred to God's
apparent unwillingness to manipulate things as his granting the world as
much independence from himself as possible: He establishes his usual rules
and lets the world run more or less freely under them. (This view
eliminates most theodicy problems.)

Ted comments:
I can indeed imply that nothing is supernatural. If so, however, then
nothing is contingent unless nature itself is contingent. This is IMO a
weak view of contingency.

It can just as easily imply that nothing is natural: that God's will is the
active cause of all things in the creation, but that God's faithfulness
regulates God's activities, so that we can understand nature and use it for
our benefit. Neverthelss, b/c God is active always and everywhere (this
would have been Newton's understanding of the universe, including God as
active direct cause of plantary motion, summed up in what we call
gravitation), we cannot always be sure that "nature" (what we somewhat
idolatrously call the creation) will do what we think it "must" do, since
God is not bound by those constructions of our minds that we call "laws,"
which are actually descriptions of God's ordinary activity.


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Received on Sat Dec 9 19:16:37 2006

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