[asa] Hiding the miraculous?

From: Chris Barden <chris.barden@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Jun 12 2007 - 13:34:46 EDT

After watching the McGrath-Dawkins interview that Iain helpfully
provided the link for, I began to think of an issue tangentially
touched upon in their discussion about the tsunami. Many children
died in the tsunami, and those who did not were said some of their
parents to be "saved by God." Dawkins takes McGrath much to task for
agreeing with these parents, because of its (apparent) implication
that God chose not to save all those others. On the one hand, McGrath
argues for the fallen nature of the world accounting for natural evil;
on the other, he asserts it is God's right to intervene, which strikes
Dawkins as inconsistent.

A similar, though not quite parallel, case can be made concerning
so-called "terminal" illnesses. In certain infections or end-stage
cancers, the recovery of the patient is highly improbable, and so
those who do recover are often said to have been "miraculously
healed." To which Dawkins might ask: couldn't they just be lucky? A
probability of 0.001 is still greater than a probability of zero,
after all. This explanation is made stronger by the observation that
rate of spontaneous healings can be predicted to occur in, say, 1 in
1000 and remain constant. For example, if God healed more people of
pancreatic cancer in 2005 than in 2006, we should be able to see this
effect; yet it eludes us.

A possible answer: Could it be that, while God generally respects the
boundaries of the fallen world and does not intervene against the
process (e.g. the 1 in 1000), he nevertheless does directly choose the
1 who survives? Certain readings of Scripture might suggest that,
especially as regards remnant theology and of the Urim and Thummim.
But I haven't come across this particular answer in any apologetic
materials I've read. Does anyone know of any work grappling with this


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Received on Tue Jun 12 13:35:34 2007

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