[asa] Bob Russell on miracles and intervention

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Thu Apr 30 2009 - 12:57:33 EDT

In a sense, this is old business, but in another way it isn't.

Some time ago when "Timaeus" was sending me things to say on the ASA list,
and one of us (probably me) brought Bob Russell's views into the
conversation, I inquired with Bob about his views on miracles and
intervention. Bob has many things to do, and he didn't respond right away,
but he did later get back to me. With his permission, I forwarded his
comments to Timaeus in a private exchange. However, as Bob understood, his
comments could also be sent to the list. I did not do that then, since
there was a fairly large time gap and the topic was no longer being

Since however it has come up again, this time with Cameron raising similar
issues about miracles and intervention (no surprise, given how often those
issues come up in conversations about origins), I thought that I would now
share at least one of Bob's comments on this.

This are Bob Russell's own words:

As a Christian interested in one particular version of TE, I also believe
many of the miracles reported in Scripture, and I take very seriously the
possibility of faith healing, etc.. Now, my approach to divine action in
the context of TE is to presuppose that God's involvement in the world
a difference in the way biological processes happen, from small
(such as a specific genetic mutation) to huge differences (such as when
a mutation eventually has an affect on a biological population as part of
biological evolution). What I want to be clear about, however, is that
latter do not require the concept of miracle, i.e., they do not come about
by God's suspending or breaking into natural processes or the laws of
that describe them. So we now have two distinct categories of divine
action: miraculous (parting of the Sea of Reeds, for example) and
non-interventionist objective (mutations that influence evolution). The
latter is what quantum mechanics allows for in ways that classical,
Newtonian physics did not. Finally, I tend to refer to the Resurrection of
Jesus as "more than a miracle," because it involves a change, by God, in
whole fabric of nature with the dawning of the New Creation as evidenced
the NT recordings of the events surrounding and following Easter.


That's one of Bob's statements on this topic. I don't expect Bob to follow
this thread and I won't try to speak for him. I'll just leave this clear
statement of his where it is, as a point of information.


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Received on Thu Apr 30 12:58:07 2009

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