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Home Forums Evidence for Biblical miracles Naturalistic vs. spectacular supernatural Reply To: Naturalistic vs. spectacular supernatural

  • Thomas Donlon

    January 9, 2021 at 1:20 am

    Hi Deborah. So far everything you wrote has been thought provoking and this is no exception. Quoting from your response above,

    “The maths, the physics, and the chemistry required for life are all
    amazing. God constantly manipulates those laws in ways both invisible
    and visible to us, usually invisible and (it seems) only occasionally
    visible in the present moment.”

    I’m trying to learn the fancier features here in the reply box. Ok regarding what you said, it gets even more amazing understanding how God operates out of time. David wrote in a Psalm that all his days were written out before any of them came to be. Judas’s betrayal was prophesied in the Old Testament. There are incredible distinctions between things being pre-ordained and or just known before hand. I used to think about such things more than I do now. What did David go on to say/write? “Such things are too wonderful for me.” This is a very theological and philosophical topic (God and time). I remember hearing or seeing a response that Physicist Stephen Hawking made on the topic of whether we had freewill had or not. He didn’t think we did, but then he also thought it didn’t matter because for all intents and purposes we live like we do. I’m intrigued that Christians have the same questions about freewill and all that. The Bible even has some answers… but when you get into looking at all the scriptures some statements are simplified for human understanding. In Proverbs 16 it says stuff like “The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” And another in the same chapter goes something like this. “A man’s heart plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps.” And yet a few other scriptures in the New Testament speak of the Lord judging and interacting with us even through the word of God which like a sword interacts in our deepest being referencing things like bone and marrow and whatever else was written there.

    Science writer and now also semi-apologist Fred Heeren once compared the different creation scenarios this way. [Whether he came up with this description or passed it on — I don’t know.] He does believe in the theory of evolution though he didn’t always. He journeyed from a young earth creationist to an intelligent design advocate to a believer in evolution. The old earth Intelligent Design view (or at least a subset of that view) has God creating different animals from scratch throughout geological time. As he transferred to a fuller acceptance of the theory of Evolution he wrestled with the thought of God’s involvement in all this. The first thought people have is that if God creates new life throughout time via special creation miracles it shows his handiwork. So compare the scenario of God creating life regularly vs him not being involved and clearly what is called “Intelligent Design” better shows God’s handiwork. Fred compared that theory to a person playing pool who takes a shot and puts a ball in the pocket. And so one thing after another shows God’s handiwork. Now that he stepped back from that theory to fully embrace evolution (if I’m representing his viewpoint correctly) he now describes God’s amazing skill as being like a pool player who takes one shot at the setup balls and gets all the balls to go in pockets with that one shot. We are just coming on the scene as humans who were born just yesterday (borrowing a line from one of Job’s friends) and we see the pool balls moving around and they look all random to us. God’s purposes are sometimes clear to us. Sometimes we are blessed physically by him. Sometimes we are bewildered as well. Listening to the Bible on CD I’m coming across some verses where God says “I am going to sweep away the righteous and the wicked.”

    God’s destructive power is also miraculous at times. I think it is the Book of Lamentations where it is written something suggesting that among the nations or among the Kings of the world no one believed that the Babylonians would be able to take Jerusalem. On paper it didn’t add up. They might have remembered Hezekiah’s time when the Assyrian army took over Judah yet didn’t even get around to shooting an arrow at Jerusalem (if I’m remembering correctly). God told Jeremiah though that even if the inhabitants of Jerusalem fought bravely and defeated the entire Babylonian army and only wounded men were left that the wounded soldiers would still come out and take Jerusalem. Later Babylon was destroyed. At another time the city of Nineveh was destroyed. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory comes from the Lord.”

    One of things we find in scripture is that Jesus asks us to pray for “our daily bread.” James warns us not to trust in our riches but in God. Paul even urged us to pray for leaders. He was preaching during the time of Nero, if I understand this correctly. All these things are requests for God’s provisions and not to trust our riches. David who wrote that God trained his hands for war (or wrote something like that) also said he didn’t trust in his sword. In Ecclesiastes it says something like we don’t know whether good or bad awaits us. And it says something like God doing this so that we will fear him. Wisdom is good according to scripture. Yet even so bread isn’t always to the wise. Nor the race to the swift etc. Time or chance happens to all … or you can also think of it as God’s hand. A random arrow shot by a soldier killed Ahab.

    I’ve veered well off from a simple description of a miracle. Yet I think of more now. George Washington participated in the French Indian War (If I’m getting all this correct). He tried to rally his losing troops by riding back in forth in the line of battle and with his vest and jacket flying open 13 holes or so were shot through them. (There may have just been four musket balls that did all this.) In the Civil War General Grant and a few other Generals who got distracted by the planning they were doing suddenly had to flee from the area as the enemy was advancing there. General Grant wrote that one of the Generals had a horse shot out from under him, another had to flee and not pick up his hat and General Grant later discovered the sword he was wearing had gotten shattered by a musketball (and it may have protected him). So weird things happen in war too that seem like miracles. One sword not worn that day could have meant the death of the Unions’ best general and hence cost Lincoln the war and American could be two nations today which get along like India and Pakistan. Or George Washington could have been picked off and history taken yet another turn. In Ecclesiastes it says no one knows all that goes on under the sun. One could talk about the weather on D Day. Or talk about the storm that blew the Spanish Armada off course. And I’m frightened that I’m writing so much. I believe I need to stop this.