No need to Dispute God's Design... the Goal is

I wanted to turn one of my posts into the start of a new thread!:

Feel free to discuss something OTHER than disputing whether God has a design… :smiley:

Here we go. Now we have two different types of creation - miraculous creation and natural creation. Ok, how do we distinguish between these two types of creation? Was the Big Bang miraculous creation or natural creation?

I think this is what the language of Genesis 1 is saying. This would narrow the point of dispute to humanity itself, where God’s role gets more direct and the creation’s role lessor. Unfortunately instead of bringing the two together it seems to have the opposite effect. Those who see natural forces as sufficient to explain everything dismiss the hand of God acting more directly as the text says and those who de-emphasize nature’s role in executing God’s orders resist seeing just how much creation is a participant in its own fashioning in Genesis chapter 1.

@Patrick (@swamidass):

  1. I have asked you not to comment on my postings.

  2. If you don’t behave better, I will insist that you be put in time out.

  3. This thread is intended as an EXPLICIT explication of Joshua’s goals … of which you have said (more than once) … that you understand.

  4. The point of bringing BOTH kinds of creation into the discussion is to show we don’t have to Dispute that God used both… and that sometimes there is no way of knowing one from the other. @Ashwin_s, I believe you are fond of this interpretation.

So, Patrick, your comment about the Big Bang is the kind of point that I intentionally sought to be beyond the scope and intention of this discussion.

It’s not that I am fond of this interpretation. It’s an obvious interpretation from the text of Genesis.
Creation definitely had a “natural” component.

But then, what we call nature itself is created by God.
So ultimately I am careful to give Glory to God for creation. I don’t address evolution until and unless someone brings it as a counter narrative… showing nature’s power to create life/diversity in life.

I don’t like the juxtaposition of “miraculous” and “natural”, but let’s put some flesh on the terms, understood under the umbrella of God as Creator, and at least for the moment assuming that God desires specific ends (for example, Homo sapiens), and achieves them.

“Natural” means something along the lines of “the usual outworkings of the powers given to secondary causes in nature.”

If that were the only factor at work in creation, then nature would have to be pretty deterministic, or God would have to reduce his aims to general ones. Only Israelites can toss jewellery into a fire and have a calf idol happen to come out!

“Miraculous”, I take it here, means something beyond the “usual outworkings of the powers given to secondary causes in nature.”

That allows a lot more leeway in the degree of indeterminacy our scientific model allows, because God could somehow direct an imprecise process to his desired ends - just as we can turn unshaped bits of wood into finely crafted shapes. In fact, it’s arguably the case that many key points of nature are unstable systems “on the edge of chaos”, which would require relatively little effort to direct. Examples are the solar system and living things.

On the other hand, this model means that we are likely, at some stage, to find probable gaps in the causal chains that we’d expect from “the usual outworkings of the powers given to secondary powers in nature.”

That’s on the assumption that God were not playing hard-to-get by hiding his personal activity, for reasons having nothing to do with the means of creation itself.

I would suggest that such “gaps” might come under the category of “chance”, since ontological randomness really has no place in a theistic system, and (as I’ve often said before) “choice” is formally indistinguishable from “chance”, both involving events improbable “in the usual outworkings of the secondary powers.”

In that case, God’s work in nature is not hidden at all, but attributed by many to a non-existent cause, ie ontological randomness.

Footnote: a quick justifcation for the last point. “Random” means (a) unpredictable and/or (b) of unknown cause. As for (a), nothing is unpredictable to the classical Christian God, and for (b) God knows the cause of all things, and, definitionally, that cause is his own power and will. Ergo, every cause in nature arises from God, is known to God, and is directed towards ends that he predicts.


At least a Calvinist one!

What’s the difference between “miraculous” and “natural”? I would say miracles are natural and nature is miraculous.

Just like natural/supernatural, science/religion, organic/inorganic, artificial/natural, etc. these distinctions are fake.


How about this: “Nature is a miracle. God can do other miracles within nature that come from outside of it.”

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@jongarvey would agree the line is very very blurry.

Ultimately this question is not fundamental.
The fundamental difference is in world view.

On one hand a so called “scientific” world view is presented where mind itself is a product of material interactions.

On the other hand we have the theistic world view that all creation originates from and is sustained by a mind… i.e God.

In such a scenario, the dichotomy between natural and supernatural disappears into a dichotomy between what is accessible to scientific enquiry and what is not.
The fact is that only a part of reality/Gods domain is accessible to human beings… And an even smaller part of this domain is accessible to science. As it is, we have a blinkered view of God limited by our humanity when we do theology… Do we want to further blind ourselves by restricting ourselves to only what science can find out?

The more we think in terms of “nature” doing things… the more we have a tendency to view nature as having qualities that belong solely to God.

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20 posts were split to a new topic: The Language of God, Mind, and Logos

It’s fairly clear if people use more careful definitions than is usual!

But I agree with if he’s pointing out that we’re talking about different aspects of God’s activity.

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What do you mean “counter-narrative”?

Does learning that some rain is produced through cycles of evaporation and condensation … does that mean this information COUNTERS the idea that God can choose to use more mysterious methods to cause rain?

Are you saying there isn’t a counter narrative among people (for example athiests) that all things came to exist through natural means and God is just an idea made up by man to explain nature.
I have come across such a narratives fairly often…


Then PeacefulScience.Org should be particularly useful to you… yes?

Here there is less worry over the specific line drawn between what people call Miraculous … and what people thinks are the more “orderly” aspects of the natural world!


Why do you bring up the views of Atheists? I know we have a few walking around here in their underwear. But im speaking about Christian world views… and I’m speaking about them SPECIFICALLY in connection with

PS: Here us where we are trying to avoid an either/or world view… but pioneer a more inclusive dualized apptoach!


If an atheist insists on categorizing God’s activity as ontological randomness… I would think he was more than average clever.

And if a Christian working in science field wanted to use that term… I could understand that.

But if two Christians wanted to have a theological conversation… This phrase doesn’t seem appropriate for that discussion.