Grey Thoughts
Miracles and the Laws of Nature
Sorry for the light blogging, I am helping to prepare an apologetics talk for sunday night. As part of the talk, I have had to do some research on miracles, and a theme I have been coming accross again and again is that miracles are not against nature or violations of nature. C.S. Lewis said he agreed with this as he felt they are so readily assimilated into the fabric of the natural
If I knock out my pipe I alter the position of a great many atoms: in the long run, and to an infinitesimal degree, of all the atoms there are, Nature digests or assimilates this event with perfect ease and harmonises it in a twinkling with all other events … if God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break any laws. The laws at once take over. Nature is ready. Pregnancy follows, according to all the normal laws, and nine months later a child is born. If events ever come from beyond nature altogether, she will be incommoded by them. Be sure that she will rush to the point where she is invaded as the defensive forces rush to a cut on our finger, and there hasten to accommodate the newcomer. The moment it enters her realm, it will obey all her laws.

Providentially, Macth over at Prosthesis also has a post on miracles and the laws of nature. We he provides a slew of quotes from people such as Calvin and Augustine which show that the idea that miracles do not violate the laws of nature has been around for a long time.

Macht provides some good illustrations as to why this is the case
Second, if we understand miracles to be acts of God that are not contrary to laws of nature, then miracles belong to a class of variables that a scientist couldn't control. This means that miracles, along with many other variables, could be covered by ceteris paribus clauses. An example that Clouser gives is that of a book falling towards earth. A book will accelerate - ceteris paribus - towards the earth at a rate of 9.8 m/s2. But if a book doesn't fall because I am holding it, this isn't a violation of the law of gravity. The ceteris paribus assumption doesn't hold in this instance. But now suppose that I remove my hand but God suspends it in mid-air. This would no more be a violation of the laws of nature than me holding it up with my hand. It would certainly be scientifically unexplainable, but there's no reason to think that a law of nature has been broken.

Third, it seems appropriate to say that miracles are instances of God intervening, as long as it is understood not as a violation of the laws of nature. We have no problem saying "The book would have hit the ground if I had not intervened" and I see no reason we couldn't say similar things about God. This intervention should always be understood in light of the purpose of miracles given near the beginning of the post. This intervention is to make himself known in an unusual way, to prepare or confirm us in faith, or to call attention to his covenant dealings. Miracles aren't for fixing mistakes or making corrections or anything like that.

I guess that is why God, who is spirit is consider supernatural not anti-natural.
"I guess that is why God, who is spirit is consider supernatural not anti-natural."

I just wrote basically this same thing in the comments of my miracle post. Synchronicity?
Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger Weblog Commenting and Trackback by