Re: [asa] intervention

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Fri Mar 06 2009 - 22:02:49 EST

I began a sermon on Mt.14:22-33 a few years ago by saying "There's a mistake in my Bible." I quickly added that it was not the text that was in error but the heading the NRSV had put on this passage, "Jesus walks on the Water."(NIV & in fact the UBS Greek do the same thing.) The text doesn't speak of Jesus walking on water but on the sea (Vv. 25-26 - epi ten thalassan.)

Does that make a difference? A huge one! The point of the story is not just that Jesus can somehow be supported by a water-air interface (as some insects are because of surface tension) but that Jesus is the presence of the victor over the chaotic forces that threaten creation - i.e., God. (Cf. e.g. Ps.89:8-10, Job.26:12-13, Is.51:9-10 & numerous other OT texts.) Like many of the other NT miracle stories its value is as a sign (the word consistently used in the 4th Gospel).

But if Jesus walked on the sea, doesn't that mean that he would have had to walk on water? Yes, but about 99% of the significance of the story is lost if we leave it at that.

Shalom
George
http://home.roadrunner.com/~scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----
From: "Merv Bitikofer" <mrb22667@kansas.net>
To: "Keith Miller" <kbmill@ksu.edu>; <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 6:55 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] intervention

>
>
> Keith Miller wrote:
>> Nothing prohibits God from doing whatever God wants to do. The issue
>> seems to me to be one of our understanding of God's character, not of
>> God's capability. So one question would be why would God create the
>> physical universe in such a way that God had to break chains of
>> cause-and effect in order to accomplish God's will? Why would God
>> create in such a way as to frustrate God's creative will.
> 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.
>
> --troublemaker Merv
>
>>
>> Another perspective is that God never acts in a way that violates the
>> created capacities of the creation. This may include events that seem
>> to us to violate patterns of cause-or-effect and look to us as
>> interventions. However, this perception may simply be an artifact of
>> our very limited perception of reality, and our profound ignorance of
>> some aspects of the nature of created reality.
>>
>> I think that the whole project of trying to define "intervention" is
>> an unproductive one. The practical reality is that some events and
>> observations in the natural world are currently explicable in terms of
>> known cause-and-effect processes, and others are not. The enterprise
>> of science is devoted to the effort of trying to expand the limits of
>> the explicable. If we keep attentive to the truth that all of the
>> natural world is creation and under God's direct providential control,
>> then this pursuit should not pose a conflict with Christian
>> theological claims.
>>
>> Keith
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
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>>
>>
>>
>
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Received on Fri Mar 6 22:03:23 2009

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