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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Does God Intervene in the World? (Keith Ward)

Thinking about the shooting tragedy makes me wonder, as usual, about if and how God acts in the world. I came across a series of interview bits with Keith Ward, and was listening to the bit entitled "Does God Intervene in the World?" It's here, for those interested.

He actually doesn't talk about whether miracles are possible in this interview, but in an over-view of the topic .... Does God 'Act'? by Professor Gwen Griffith-Dickson .... Ward's ideas about that are mentioned ...

Keith Ward speaks of ‘the death of the closed universe’; and in the light of modern physics, he rejects the view of the world as a self-contained system closed to the presence and action of God. The ‘closed universe view’ is not even tenable nowadays on purely scientific grounds, he argues. The understanding we now have of how we use scientific models holds that no single model fits the world exactly; nor is a complete explanation ever possible. It is false to suppose there is a complete model with a few gaps in it in which God might work. Rather, ‘there is no consistent and complete model at all; so gaps do not become apparent in the model.’ They lie outside it. God’s action may be invisible in way that laws of physics are, Ward suggests. God’s action is not, however, completely invisible and impossible to detect or assert; aside from the visible fact that the universe exists at all, God is also continually bringing new states of the universe into being, leaving many alternatives open to our free choice. Ward suggests that there are at least five kinds of divine action:

1. The act of bringing universe into being
2. Particular acts of imaginative development which shape the universe in contingent ways
3. Acts in response to ‘chance’ permutation of natural forces and creatures’ free choices.
4. Acts by which God relates in a distinctively personal way to created persons, in revelation, etc.
5. Acts of redemptive shaping of good out of evil to achieve a final consummation.

The acts of God in nature will be those hidden but all-pervasive causal influences which shape the emergent processes of physical reality towards goals which take specific form only in the process itself, but the general character of which are laid down as archetypes in the being of God.

In the case of actual events, I don't find this very helpful (or understandable) - maybe I need Theology for Dummies ;)


Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Hi Crystal --

I like the list... this is worth a lot more thought... I hadn't considered a lot of this.

4:28 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Me either :)

4:41 PM  

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