Re: [asa] Miracles and God of the Gaps

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Jan 24 2009 - 10:20:12 EST

On Merv's below -

1st, the issue is not simply God's "upholding" of creation but God's action in & with creation. In the traditional doctrine of providence God preserves creatures, cooperates (or "concurs") with them in their actions, and governs them toward God's desired goals. It's the 2d that's in question here. Traditionally cooperation was often subsumed under preservation but that reflects a fundamentally static view of creation. If anything their significance should be reversed. (I.e., God preserves precisely by interacting with the world.)

Then should we "investigate ... just how the "upholding" might happen and intersect in some observable way with science?" There has been a good deal of discussion in the science-religion community about a "search for the causal joint" between God and the world but I think this is misguided. The analogy of God as a worker making use of creatures as instruments to accomplish tasks is helpful but it's an analogy. An attempt to describe "the causal joint" (i.e., just how God's "hand" grips and manipulates the "tool") sounds like an attempt to make theology part of physics. In the latter field we study the interaction between an electron and an EM field (e.g.) by looking for a mathematical expression for the interaction energy (Hamiltonian for specialists) to add to the expressions for electrons & the EM field separately. Such a procedure isn't going to get anywhere in theology unless we think we've got an equation to describe God.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Merv Bitikofer" <>
To: "Keith Miller" <>; <>
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 9:45 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Miracles and God of the Gaps

> Most of us have grown comfortable with this characterization of TE. (I
> only use those initials out of deference to popular usage --and not
> because I defend the adequacy of the label --I agree about its
> shortcomings.) But such discomfort as exists seems to zero in on the
> end of the phrase: "that God ordained and *continuously upholds*."
> (emphasis added). John, is it fair to say that you (& Timaeous here
> before you) are just wanting to investigate (or at least hear TEs
> speculate) just how the "upholding" might happen and intersect in some
> observable way with science? My guess is that theists in this camp will
> repeatedly deny anyone this pleasure. The theism simply isn't rooted at
> all in science.

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Received on Sat Jan 24 10:20:45 2009

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