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  • Does supernatural imply non-naturalistic

  • Benjamin Frederick

    February 2, 2021 at 12:37 am

    Honest question.

    One of the things I noticed about the movies is that there is a black and white line drawn between naturalistic and supernatural. For instance, the water parting in the Egyptological view seems to assume that just because it could be done naturally that no miracles were involved. Would there be a problem to say that a miracle caused the waters part in a miraculous way far beyond what the naturalistic explanation could achieve even though the naturalistic explanation was plausible in the first place?

    Just to be fair to everyone, this is a drive by post. I will be checking the responses but not in real time.

  • Deborah Hurn

    February 2, 2021 at 7:30 pm
  • Deborah Hurn

    March 9, 2021 at 6:47 am

    I will post this over here from @thomas-donlon ‘s update, who asked if a meteor strike might have triggered Noah’s Flood.

    Thomas, this idea also speaks to the issue of natural mechanisms for supernatural events. Did God cause the Flood by meteoric impact? Did He use the hamsin wind from Arabia to blow in the locusts, and create the plague of darkness? Did he use the prevailing wind from the Mediterranean to blow out the locusts? Did he use the hamsin to part the Red Sea? Did he use the seasonal quail migration and wind to provide meat? [yes, of course] Did he provide manna from the tamarisk bushes in the Sinai? Did He use an electrical storm and earthquake to create special effects on the mountain for the delivery of the 10 Commandments? Did he use the karstic system of the Central Negev to provide water from the rocks? Did he use the large aquifer and a fault line to provide water throughout the year at Sinai? Did he use a fault line to swallow Korah and Co? Did He use an earthquake in the Rift Valley to part the Jordan? Did He use an earthquake to flatten Jericho? And many other similar questions. Prof Sir @colin-humphreys offers many of these suggestions in his Miracles of the Exodus book.

    This is similar to how I experience miracles in my life, that is, through ‘naturally’ explicable events which are nonetheless divinely planned and timed to bring about a specific outcome or provide a need. Yes, it is necessary to interpret them with the ‘eye of faith’. If the activity of the Spirit were so spectacularly obvious, there would be no room for faith. This is not to deny the inexplicable miracles of the Bible, even while recognising that some of these may also have had ‘natural’ mechanism, ‘nudged’ along by God. The Almighty Creator has an immense system of natural laws and phenomena at His disposal… why not use them on every level to bring about his purposes?

    • Thomas Donlon

      March 9, 2021 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Deborah, I appreciate you putting this thread somewhere.

      From this NASA website the likelihood of Billions of comets in reserve can be considered.

      The overview is so short and government work is public domain in the US, so I’ll just paste it here. Though I’m afraid the format might get scrambled.


      Comets are frozen leftovers from the formation of the solar system composed of dust, rock and ices. They range from a few miles to tens of miles wide, but as they orbit closer to the sun, they heat up and spew gases and dust into a glowing head that can be larger than a planet. This material forms a tail that stretches millions of miles.


      Comets are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that orbit the Sun. When frozen, they are the size of a small town. When a comet’s orbit brings it close to the Sun, it heats up and spews dust and gases into a giant glowing head larger than most planets. The dust and gases form a tail that stretches away from the Sun for millions of miles. There are likely billions of comets orbiting our Sun in the Kuiper Belt and even more distant Oort Cloud.

      The current number of known comets is:


      • Thomas Donlon

        March 9, 2021 at 12:48 pm

        And this can be tied it with the scripture:

        "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? (Job 38:22-23 NIV)

        I wouldn’t have thought of that scripture in the context of comets except for the excellent work of Jeffrey Goodman, Ph.D. who wrote the book The Comets of God: New scientific Evidence for God.

        The book had advance reviews from three people who also had Ph. D’s. But I’ll let the material from the book stand on its own. He certainly believes comets will be God’s primary weapon deployed in the prophecies of Revelation and elsewhere. One of the reviewers of Goodman’s book wrote this: “You make an ingenious case for your belief that [almost] all large-scale phenomena described or prophesies in the Bible can be explained as a consequence of known physical phenomena, notably comets.”

        • Thomas Donlon

          March 9, 2021 at 1:02 pm

          But the second part of this article in particular (I think the PDF was formated to be a chapter in a nice book) deals particularly with newer (or better presented) evidence supporting Burckle Crater as an impact site. The article is titled (sorry about the formatting.)

          Mega Tsunami of theWorld Oceans: Chevron Dune
          Formation,Micro-Ejecta, and Rapid Climate Change
          as the Evidence of Recent Oceanic Bolide Impacts
          Viacheslav Gusiakov, Dallas H. Abbott, Edward A. Bryant, W. Bruce Masse,
          and Dee Breger

          It too can be freely downloaded without registering or anything like that.

          (Non-Christian) Disaster and flood expert of North America Randal Carlson thought this was a major event.

    • Deborah Hurn

      March 10, 2021 at 8:43 pm

      I will copy @colin-humphreys ‘ reply here on the discussion thread because it also will just sink on @thomas-donlon ‘s profile update.

      “Deb, many thanks for your helpful reply about miracles of timing, where God works with the nature and natural mechanisms he created to achieve many miracles at just the right time. And, as you say, God still does this today to bring about his purposes.”

      Hello Colin. Yes, I learned a lot from your Miracles of the Exodus book. I am most grateful for your wind-setdown material as this is the best explanation I have seen for the Red Sea crossing, fulfilling both biblical specifications and physical indications.

      • Thomas Donlon

        March 10, 2021 at 10:30 pm

        Hi Deborah, I’m not intending to add any thoughts here just some Biblical data, in case people don’t get the picture. These are just some things that the Bible records God has done that generally aren’t always considered miracles. And this is from memory, unverified, so take this list accordingly if anyone wants to cite anything.

        • Levi and Simeon slaughtered the men of Shechem, but God saved the lives of Jacob’s family by putting fear in the inhabitants of the area so they would not join forces and attack the family.
        • God spoke to Laban in a dream (to keep Laban and his family from doing injury to Jacob).
        • God helped Esau to chill out so that he didn’t attack Jacob. Whether or not through the wisdom of Jacob’s gifts to Esau.
        • Jordon splitting and waters piling up elsewhere. (Ok often considered a miracle.)
        • David was protected from Saul’s approaching forces when the word came to Saul that the Philistines were invading the land, just as he was closing in on David.
        • Saul went into a cave where David was hiding.
        • Saul and his men were put into a deep sleep when David penetrated the encampment of Saul and borrowed Saul’s spear and water jug.
        • Peter caught a fish with a coin in its mouth.
        • The disciples met a man who had a room Jesus could use for the last supper.
        • The disciples found a donkey that no one had ridden on.
        • God had helped frustrate the cunning counsel of Ahithophel both by coincidence (Ahithophel asking to also get Hushai’s advice) as well as David foreseeing the necessity of sending Hushai to thwart Ahithophel’s advice.


        And then there is the book of Esther. Doesn’t even mention God in it. The whole book has a few remarkable happenings. Timing that is incredible, and incredibly bad for Haman.

        Gideon routed the Midianites but God had to do several real miracles just to encourage Gideon. Yet the miracles involving dew on fleece and not on fleece were rather low scale miracles. Gideon still was scared and God arranged for Gideon to hear a dream being interpreted on the outskirts of the Midian camp. David somewhere in the Psalms praised God for giving him songs. David praised God writing he “trained my hands for war” and David praised God for knitting him together in his mother’s womb. And God is praised for making clouds and sending rain. We don’t have a separate Christian discipline of biology and meteorology. And a Proverb says “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.” And God through a prophet gave Ahab advice on how to battle the Arameans. Replace the commanders with young commanders. And the scripture indicates the King that had a group of (from memory, and possibly wrong) there was something like 31 Kings arrayed against Ahab’s forces. But they were in their tents getting drunk according to scripture. Ahab’s forces were greatly outnumbered. The result was miraculous and even Ahab’s enemies had attributed their loss to the power of Israel’s deity or deities as they thought.

        Yet another battle which by appearances Ahab thought he had the upper hand and the assistance of Jehoshaphat, but God had determined to destroy Ahab and a “random” shot by an archer hit between some armor plates that Ahab was wearing and so Ahab died. This though is the kind of analysis that a materialist can be confident that “random” forces were at play to take out Ahab. the Bible even uses the word “random” so it is correct. Yet God also decreed Ahab would die. Ecclesiastes says “time and chance happen to them all.” Yet Jesus also talked about God knowing the number of hairs on our head and that a sparrow would not fall apart from the will of God. David in a Psalm wrote that “all my days were written in your book before any of them came to pass.” So was God dictating all circumstances or was time and chance playing a role? Or do we fail when we try to limit God according to our thinking?


        • Deborah Hurn

          March 11, 2021 at 2:44 am

          Thomas, this is a good list of biblical events that show evidence of God working through natural causes. These are actually the kinds of miracles we pray for… a change of heart, a ‘coincidence’, a revelation, an unforeseen provision. If we have faith in God’s activity in the world, we will see these for what they are, the Spirit manipulating events to help us, teach us, encourage us, even rebuke us or humble us. There will always be room for doubt, even as there was in biblical times.

        • Deborah Hurn

          May 3, 2021 at 10:35 am

          This discussion was down a page or two… bumping it here because Thomas made a good list of miraculous but not spectacular events in biblical history. See ^ up. There are innumerable such divine interventions in human history that have achieved the desired outcome. We experience them today, but most of the time we do not recognise them as acts of God.

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