Divine Intervention vs Divine Involvement

Today’s guest post comes from AnnMarie Vennerstrom, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science.

Often times in our Christian circles we talk about God’s interaction with the world. Sometimes we’ll talk about it in terms of the little things, like how we feel him working in our lives, answering prayers, etc. And sometimes it’s on a much grander scale, like a beautiful sunset, the amazing earth we live on, or a supernatural miracle you’ve either heard about or experienced yourself.

But what do we really mean when we talk about God’s interaction with us? Sometimes I think we get caught up in the out-of-the-ordinary miraculous interventions and forget about the daily involvement. One of the reasons many Christians shy away from science and (hope you’re sitting down here) the possible concept of evolution, is because we think if we allow the idea that things may have evolved, we’ve completely taken God out of the equation and now border on a Deistic faith. But this doesn’t need to be the case. We can’t fall into the trap of thinking that if there’s a miracle, then God is present and if there’s not, then he’s absent. We should praise him all the more for being present all the time. (Heb 1:3, Acts 17:25, 28, Neh 9:6)

Take the concept of new life and birth, for example. We think it is this incredibly miraculous thing (and I don’t disagree), but it is also an incredibly natural, common occurrence in our world! God does not need to divinely intervene and interrupt his natural laws to do something miraculous. (The Language of Faith and Science, pg 115)

God is not absent once you add a scientific explanation. In fact, we are in awe of things that have scientific explanations all the time. Things like beautiful sunsets, the life of a new baby, the intricacy of a snowflake, the majesty of mountains, and so much more. Simply because we can explain it doesn’t render these things any less beautiful. God does not have to constantly intervene and tinker with what he’s put in place. His presence alone sustains everything! Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” Deborah Haarsma reminds us in her blog post Framing the Conversation, “God created, sustains, and governs this universe.”  So if God were not there to sustain matter, energy, space, time, it would all fall apart.

This does not mean that God never breaks into and interrupts his natural laws, rather it emphasizes that we shouldn’t think we need something more. God’s daily involvement within the boundaries of his natural laws is enough. Not only is God intimately involved, he is a competent creator that has allowed our natural laws to develop in a complex way.


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