Quotes of the Day (Arthur Peacocke and Howard J. Van Till)

“The processes revealed by the sciences, especially evolutionary biology, are in themselves God-acting-as-creator. There is no need to look for God as some kind of additional factor supplementing the processes of the world. God, to use language usually applied in sacramental theology, is “in, with, and under” all-that-is and all-that-goes-on” (Arthur Peacocke, “Biological Evolution – A Postivie Theological Appraisal”, reprinted in God and Evolution: A Reader, ed. Mary Kathleen Cunningham (New York: Routledge, 2007) p.254).

Howard J. Van Till (in “The Creation: Intelligently Designed or Optimally Equipped?” reprinted in the same volume) writes: “The kind of divine action we pray for is discernable only by those who have eyes (of faith) to see it. The natural sciences have no instruments with which to measure the level of effectiveness of God’s blessings” (p.247). Throughout this helpful study he notes the irony of Christians presuming that the inability of that which has been created to organize itself in remarkable ways into material, living and ultimately intelligent things, is assumes to point to a creator more than evidence that matter has such a potential in itself. He asks “Has our concept of divine creative action been unduly affected by the “special effects” industry? Perhaps so” (p.248).

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04018824090441668781 ntWrong

    I’m relatively comfortable with the first quote; not so much with the second. If Christians are mistaken to think of God as “super”natural, then it certainly isn’t because we have been misled by the special effects industry! It comes from the Bible’s depiction of God.Are we to assume that Jesus’ resurrection was a natural occurrence? Alternatively, must we deny the resurrection, on the grounds that such things do not happen naturally?Although we can’t get back to an objective account of biblical miracles, it remains an article of faith that some sort of extraordinary event lies behind the accounts. Jesus utilized the power of the Spirit to heal: which is at the very least a radical speeding-up of a natural process.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    I don’t always post things because they represent my own viewpoint – sometimes it is just because I think they are interesting, thought-provoking and (hopefully) will engender discussion. For instance, I must confess I’m not too sure whether robots can have the Buddha-nature – at least the robots we have now! :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17131154882107531113 Qalmlea

    I’m not too sure whether robots can have the Buddha-natureMu. `/^

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    That is, of course, the answer to the famous koan “Can a cow have the buddha nature?” 😛