A Call to Theology of Nature

The “hiddeness” of God is linked, Biblically, with the refusal to acknowledge Him and thereby revere Him. Nature, according to Paul, is an entirely clear witness even by itself. So, I don’t think I’m advocating for anything less than what you present, and are contending for, @AJRoberts. Perhaps a difference here to take into account is Josh’s daily experience at a “secular” university, where he usually encounters such unbelief? Cheers!


And the next post in the Hump series here. It reviews the “cleared building site” for a theology of nature by summarising the last 4 posts, and lays out the three general classes of causation in the universe to be examined (God acting regularly through “laws of nature”, sentient agents acting within the world, and contingent divine action.)


Here’s my last post of the week on this subject: A health warning on theology of nature: Theology can seriously affect your science.

1 Like

OK - a series of three posts starting here on the tricky question of the centrality of language to a prospective new theology of nature.

It leaves the heavy lifting of of application to any new way of doing science to the scientists themselves - but all that shows is that our current science is one limited way at looking at certain aspects of nature. It could be that science doesn’t have to change, but only its claims about itself.

On the positive side, consider that old problem of the academic divide between “science” and “humanities.” To a large degree that revolves around the specialised language of science, which seems to scientists to make the humanities nebulous and subjective. But if the language of God is - well - language, then nature itself dissolves the difference between the the arts and the sciences - and even points to human thought as an integral part of nature, rather than the Cartesian idea of the human mind as radically separate from physical reality.

It gets a bit simpler for hereon in, I think.

I quote from your article:

"One of the more stupid, though understandable, rhetorical questions that skeptics ask about design in nature in particular, but also about divine action in nature in general, is “What mechanism does God use?”

It’s stupid because it presupposes a mechanical view of reality, and God is not a mechanism (and neither is design, even in human terms). "

This is one of the reasons I always try to use “way” or “method”. I used to use the term “tool” more.

But ultimately, no amount of naturalism will convince most Christians to abandon the miraculous!

1 Like

And the next in the series here.

Back on to the relatively well-trodden ground of three modes of divine action. Note (as the article points out) that “lawlike change” (“natural”, if you must) is a fourth mode of divine action, not the antithesis to it.


And a detailed look at the possibility of “miracle” in nature. It’s an inappropriate way to think of divine action in creation - but paradoxically has to be taken into account in a theology of nature because it’s a part of the new creation that has been irrupting into the world over the whole of salvation history.


Seems a little complex!

I think you can segregate everything into LAWFUL vs. MIRACULOUS!

And I think that’s misleading, for reasons both that I’ve explained in previous posts, and that I will explain as the series proceeds. But one consideration is that the Church has considered it appropriate to distiguish categories of divine action for 2000 years, and I take their wisdom over yours!

1 Like

How come hardly anyone stops to consider that the law-likeness in an Anthropic Universe is, itself, a miracle???!!!


First, I think some people do.

But secondly, if eveeything is a miracle, then you have just ruined the word miracle as a qualifier… and you STILL need a word to make the remaining distinction

Thus proving my point of the limitations of “miracle” as a word for divine action. Indeed, the consistency of a universe as big as ours is a wonder. Given that what it means is, in effect, that all those laws are directed towards particular ends, it’s a re-expression of one of Thomas Aquinas’s five proofs of God.

1 Like

“Miracle” works adjectivally and as a noun. It is not thereby ruined; I have not thus labeled everything a miracle; I’ve just pointed out the astounding unlikelihood of chance alone explaining things.


I really want to agree with you on your typologies.

But once we have a box labeled Miracles… it is almost impossible to persuasively apply criteria to whatever is in the box. Any devoted Christian could say: no, that’s not what I see in there.

However… in the non-miraculous category… I can see a valid need to arrange the different lawful categories to help people arrange nature into helpful groupings.

Next episode - all you ever wanted to know about special providence in nature.

Universal providence is not only taught in Scripture, but arises logically from the lImitations of creatures and the love of Christ for all he has made.


I don’t understand this sentence.

Nature’s regularity is not a miracle (thouygh to be fair Guy was only speaking colloquially). But neither are creation, creatio continua, divine conservation, or special providence miracles - saying they are spoils “miracles” as a qualifier for those actions of God that are properly so termed.

1 Like

2 posts were split to a new topic: Is Earth a Privileged Planet?

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Welcome Greg to the Forum