“Natural” is indeed the weasel word, and I agree with your assessment of its utility in science.
Common descent is of some use in theological discussion, so long as it is not seen as describing a “natural” process - Jewish priests were all descended from Aaron by common descent, and John the Baptist likewise - but John’s birth was also a direct act of God.
In my view it would help us to avoid the trap of taking “natural” as in some sense meaning “autonomous,” or “at a distance from God.” It becomes, then, only a description of one manner in which God works, the other aspect being “contingence.”
Theologically, what we call “natural” demonstrates the faithfulness of God (and so the reliability of the physical world was always interpreted theologically) in creating things with natures that behave predictably and reliably. What we call “contingent” demonstrates God’s providential care moment by moment.
Both, as in the conclusion of the excellent N T Wright lecture that I linked elsewhere and highly recommend, makes the whole creation a demonstration of the love of God in Christ. No small gain from the arid territory of naturalism.
George… you are reading things into my comments.
As to ID… it may be a political issue in America… however for many outside America… it’s an interesting idea that should be explored. That’s my stand on this.
Sure, why not hear his perspective? We certainly haven’t followed it flawlessly. Instead, we are a bit blind to our most glaring hypocrisies. I don’t call giving feedback a matter of “lecturing,” as I’m sure you don’t either. Fair enough?
Well that sort of describes the result of a view of creation I have, so I’d like to throw this out there. Genesis chapter one describes things happening in two realms at once. The realm above is being separated from the realm below (where we are) and the realm below was subjected to futility from the beginning. As a fellow OEC I figure you believe that last part already. So when God starts filling the two realms there is one realm where His command is fulfilled quickly, perfectly, and without His further intervention. He just speaks something and “it was so”. But those same commands are done very haphazardly and slowly in the realm subjected to futility, and like us, nature couldn’t fulfill them at all without God’s more direct intervention at some point. In other words, a creation fit for beings like us!
So if you slow down what is happening in the land above, where God commands THE Earth to bring forth living creatures, then that looks a lot like TE when you slow it down. It was almost like it was meant to be TE but the creation subjected to futility couldn’t quite pull it off. God had to come make templates, called “kinds” and nature then operated on that. So that’s why it “looks like” evolution. In an ideal world it was supposed to be like that, where God speaks and the earth brings forth. But down here, God had to intervene personally and “make” or “create”. It takes 350 pages to lay it all out and the proofs and specifics are a lot more detailed than that, but that’s the gist of it.
As far as the detectable part goes, I think its going to be very subtle given this view of the text. I wrote an article about gray areas between special creation, Evolution and ID. There may be a link here somewhere on it but I have the one to my blog handy…
(S. Joshua Swamidass)
split this topic
I heard you, I think. Are you seeing the point I am trying to make about being natural theologians that articulate for all of those around us just how God is revealed in nature? It is not enough to just ask why God is apparently hidden. Do you understand why I’m saying this? Your question is a theological question entailing sin. Mine is a question about the role of nature/creation in making God known.