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(Text as at 16/09/2007 17:22:34)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)

Spinoza is the classic test case here. He thought that there was just one substance, which he labelled “Deus sive Natura” (God or Nature). He’s variously evaluated as a “God intoxicated man”, a pantheist, or an atheist. His philosophy is all wrong, of course, but it’s a noble effort at escaping from Cartesian dualism. So, it may just about be possible to be a naturalistic believer, it you think the natural and supernatural coincide. (Sylvia’s Response1)

However, this is an unusual position. But it does raise a question about God’s relationship to the world. God is said to have created the physical (and spiritual) universe(s), and to be distinct from it/them. He is also said to maintain them in existence. (Sylvia’s Response2). What does this mean exactly? Is God intimately involved with everything that happens – so that he actually causes all the horrors deliberately, or has he set things in motion and then retreated to a safe distance, tinkering with things as and when necessary?

Do you think Christians ought to have a view on these matters, or is this a no-go area? (Sylvia’s Response3). Answers to such questions will affect what we think a miracle is. If the laws of nature a reflection of God’s faithfulness (as is sometimes said – though this is bizarre – are we supposed to imagine God thinking to himself, as the plane full of missionaries plummets out of the sky, “well I’m only being faithful …”?), then he’s just as involved in the ordinary run of things, which are all miracles, just ones we’re used to. But if God leaves the natural world to it, in normal circumstances, then we should see the particular hand of God in miracles.

The trouble with miracles is that we aren’t keen to believe those of other religions, or noxious variants of our own. Too many miracles are a bad thing, as are the wrong sort. (Sylvia’s Response4)

Things I’ve previously had to say on miracles are covered here5 and here6 (and probably lots of other places besides!).

Table of the Previous 3 Versions of this Note:

Date Length Title
14/09/2007 20:26:53 2036 Supernaturalism. T1
01/09/2007 14:21:07 1917 Supernaturalism. T1
12/08/2007 10:17:46 24 Supernaturalism. T1

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
16/09/2007 17:22:34 381 (Supernaturalism) Supernaturalist versus Naturalist World Views

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Miracles Problems - Bible Miracles Supernaturalism. T1S1 Supernaturalism. T1S2 Supernaturalism. T1S3
Supernaturalism. T1S4        

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.

Summary of Note Links to this Page

Supernaturalist versus Naturalist World Views        

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.

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