Re: [asa] intervention

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Fri Mar 06 2009 - 21:03:09 EST

Keith Miller wrote:
> Merv wrote:
>> Just to push you a bit on this, Keith: So was Jesus' little
>> constitutional on the water just a continuation of the created
>> natural course of things? We all agree that literal occurrences of
>> folks walking on deep water is not common or typical, whatever else
>> it may be. So didn't God create gravity and water to cause the
>> denser things to sink? While I agree with your sentiments and
>> response below, surely folks could be forgiven for thinking of such
>> events as "interventions", even if we don't fully understand nature
>> to be making judgments on what is 'out-of-bounds', (if indeed
>> anything is), and what isn't. (Your points below are well taken.)
>> But we do know enough, as they did then too, to recognize an
>> astonishing thing when we see it.
> By all current understanding of the natural world there are some
> events described in scripture that are miraculous in the narrow sense
> of breaking the continuity of cause-and effect processes (violating
> "natural Law," though I don't like that term). The greatest of these
> is of course the resurrection.
I share in your dislike over that phrase ----especially the word
"violating". But what other terms might there be? Bending? (still an
'interventionist' connotation) Transcending? Using more fully?
"Fulfilling" natural law? Even just the term 'natural' implies a
boundary that can't be well-defined and may be much less useful as a
category than one would guess given its common usage.

(A sign near our house says: "No Dumping Violators Will Be
Prosecuted". I guess punctuation is superfluous on street signs, but I
get a chuckle every time I see it. If anyone has any "dumping" to do
come on over. Sign guarantees you won't be harassed.)

> My point is that there is no way to know in any absolute sense when an
> event is outside of what is creatively possible in the universe and
> what is not. Perhaps there is an aspect of God's creation that makes
> resurrection a possibility, but our understanding of the true nature
> of physical reality is so impoverished that we have no ability to
> conceive of creation in its fullest sense.
> All we are left with is our current limited understanding. But that
> doesn't prohibit us from seeking to bring our understanding of created
> physical reality closer to what that reality truly is. So we are left
> with what we can explain from out current limited knowledge and what
> we still cannot explain. To claim that any of the current outstanding
> questions are in principle unresolvable (true gaps in the created
> order) would seem to require a rather presumptuous assumption that we
> already know most of what there is to know about how the physical
> universe works.
> I am more comfortable just saying that God is there in the midst of
> everything - both the mystery and the well-understood. We can probe
> the mysteries without fear of pushing God aside. If those mysteries
> yield ultimately to "natural" explanation fine, if they never do then
> that is fine as well.
> Keith
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Received on Fri Mar 6 20:58:50 2009

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