Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Naturalistic Supernaturalism...

Parablemania has piggybacked off of the God's Will posts that I and Jollyblogger have done with a post titled, God's Will and Naturalism. He addresses two concerns he has with Naturalism's influences on Christian thought: 1) that Christians will expect God not to intervene in supernatural ways and, 2) that Christians will expect God to intervene in supernatural ways. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it? Well it's not. What he's addressing in the second point (the first one being pretty self-explanatory) is that we sometimes put up a wall between the natural and the supernatural when there really shouldn't be one. Parableman (aka Jeremy) states,
It places a distinction between the natural world and the supernatural world and assumes that the presence of the supernatural involves a breaking of the natural order. It requires an assumption that the natural world continues on its own as much as possible, and then God breaks in with various things from time to time. Thus it minimizes God's role in everyday life, in ordinary events. It thus gives up too much to naturalism. The Christian view, as developed in the Bible itself, is that God ordains events even on the level we would be tempted to describe as natural. All along in this post I've been influenced by naturalism even in describing them that way and in making a distinction.
C. S. Lewis had a lot to say about this in his book Miracles. Part of our problem is that we tend to think of our world - our natural realm, if you will - to be reality and, therefore, any intrusion into that realm, via means that are not abiding by the natural laws, to be supernatural. While this is true in a certain context, we need to be reminded that God exists not only outside our reality but within it as well. Therefore, any act that He performs is, from His perspective, a natural act. That such an act is an intrusion on the realm we are confined to does not invalidate it from being perceived by us, nor does it mandate questioning why God would perform such an act (as opposed to letting things happen naturally). Additionally, although we know that God can speak to us through supernatural means, we must remember that if He is sovereign over both the natural and the supernatural, then He is free to use both to accomplish His Will.

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