Ann Gauger's latest salvo against Dennis Venema's arguments against an original pair of human beings

(Richard Wright) #579

Hello John,

If God miraculously healed someone, say Jon Garvey’s patient with the coronary obstruction that seemed to disappear relatively overnight, we wouldn’t be able to know if God did it miraculously, or if it was from an heretofore unknown physiological cause, or that God used a known or unknown physiological cause to heal him, unless He appeared on a monitor and said he did it (or something like that). So yes, the miracle, if that’s what it was is detectable as an event but not as event from God. There are miracles where God would be detectable, for instance Jesus appearing on every TV screen, computer monitor and cell phone at once telling people that He is real (though many still wouldn’t believe), or better yet Jesus caused a mountain to lift up in the air then go back down. But healings are by nature more esoteric since they can usually be thought to be due to a natural cause, even if unknown.

(Richard Wright) #580

Hi Jon

Thanks for the compliment!

I agree with the ~75% of your post, you were preaching to the choir if anything. The rest I mostly agreed with. To start, let me clear up the, “hiddenness” concept. I was referring to the theological notion of the, “hiddenness of God”, pre-Schellenberg. That is to say that God appears hidden from plain sight, or absent, silent, etc., as is often expressed in scripture, especially the Psalms.

Of course I don’t believe nature to be operating apart from God, as I’ve stated here many times, nor do I see God hidden (apart from in the classic theological sense). With your above points taken and agreed with, you simply cannot exclude the possibility that God, “initiated the physical paradigm to unfold, exploiting contingency, to create complex biological entities to exist in a habitat where they will necessarily endure physical, emotional and spiritual struggles which would cause some of them to reach out to Him so that they might, through His son’s sacrifice, become his adopted children”. Your usual way to explain my view of Nature with Leibniz’s, “clock-work” universe is woefully inadequate, theologically and scientifically.

Where we really disagree is in theology. Happily I don’t know enough to change my view! Also, our views of nature are really so close that I’ve not the motivation to spend the time and/or energy to do a study justice in determining if my view is inconsistent with proper biblical exegesis. That said I’ve read the passages you’ve put out to support your view of nature and I found them unpersuasive. Note that our operating theories or presuppositions are the same - that God works through His creation to accomplish his ends. I see God in nature and the workings of nature as much as anyone. I also see it with an inbred intelligence to evolve the universe and eventually man. I as well believe that God answers prayers by working through the creation in undetectable ways.

Some might ask, (and some here have), "Why would a Christian want to believe that God didn’t deliberately make a comet hit the earth or instantiate the first, “cell”? Firstly, I think our study of God’s creation supports my view of nature. In addition, I think my view of nature best takes away stumbling blocks and/or excuses for potential (usually young and knowledgeable) converts and phony Dawkins-esque reasons to not believe.

(Richard Wright) #581

Hi Jonathan,

Again, you’re misrepresenting my position. I didn’t state, “there was an scientifically unjustifiable disappearance of a coronary obstruction, therefore I believe God did it.” I believe God healed him since believers were praying for him and he recovered, whether miraculously or not. I didn’t, “make a big fuss” about the rarity of such events, I only mentioned the stats that Jon posted to show that maybe we can consider that God performed a supernatural healing, not that I think that all or even any of them were answered prayers.[quote=“Jonathan_Burke, post:549, topic:36790”]
But when scientists conclude otherwise, they do not do so by faith. They do so on the basis of scientific evidence.

I agree with that, but until scientists do discover a physiological explanation for how a coronary obstruction would suddenly disappear than it is by faith that you believe that science will be able to explain it. Of course, scientists discovering a clog-disappearing mechanism doesn’t exclude the possibility that God healed Jon’s patient.[quote=“Jonathan_Burke, post:549, topic:36790”]
Then it looks like you’re loading the dice; if there’s no known natural cause then God did it, and if there’s a known natural cause then God still did it. I don’t see how that’s logically coherent.

"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;" (James 5:15)

I’m not sure what you find so objectionable. God’s mystery, hiddenness and the scientific method are still intact with me believing that God heals in answer to prayers.

(John Dalton) #582

Thanks, I see your point. If I’m right, you’re saying the physical effects of the miracles could possibly be detectable, but the fact of God’s participation couldn’t be (although he could take action to make it obvious if he wanted.) I don’t see anything to quibble with with that.

I hope to take a look at the work of Craig Keener @Jon_Garvey mentioned. I looked at his books but didn’t notice anything on the topic. Is there a study or similar linked somewhere? If so thanks, it sounds interesting. Apologies if I missed a posted link or something.

(Jon) #583

So God either miraculously healed him or non-miraculously healed him (whatever that would mean), but either way God must have healed him because believers prayed for him?

Ok I guess I didn’t see any “maybe”. After all, you believe God did it, not that God “maybe” did it. I don’t see the need to mention the statistics if you didn’t think they were relevant.

No it is not by faith that I believe science will be able to explain it. It is on the basis of logic and rational thinking. It is the logical conclusion of valid premises. What you’re saying is like saying it is on the basis of faith that we believe modern surgery works, or vaccinations.

The lack of logic and the kind of reasoning which discredits Christianity. It’s the kind of magical thinking which results in this and this.

As I said before, you’re loading the dice; if there’s no known natural cause then God did it, and if there’s a known natural cause then God still did it. If that kind of logic is valid, then other religions can use it to validate their claims too. That’s obviously nonsensical.

(GJDS) #584

When we (or anyone) says they are healed, we mean a diagnosable illness, which has a detrimental effect on our physical makeup, has been negated, and the person is again his normal self. We are used to a cause-effect on this - infection is removed by antibiotics, surgery mended the required organ, and so on. This renders discussions of healing as something a medical person has performed.

It is this I think that becomes conflated with “God healed …” To me, it seems that we are removing “the doctor did it …” and replacing it with some other chap called god, and demanding this chaps tells what he did that the doctor could not. It is this that causes alarm when “faith healing” gets aired.

When Christ healed, He said, your faith has healed you, and this faith is in Him, and it was answered by Christ as faith, with compassion from Christ for our infirmities. In fact, He was accused by others, “Physician heal yourself”.

WE would add to the confusion if we extend this error into, “well how did Christ heal?” Did He rearrange molecules? Did He have super antibiotics? None of these statements are valid. Nor are arguments that imply a doctor has been removed, or people should not seek medical help.

Both doctor and patient are equally convinced of “something besides medical intervention” occurred. The rest is an expression from the relevant people - all we can do is discuss this.

(Christy Hemphill) #585

Miracles is the one I would assume.

(John Dalton) #586

That seems logical, thanks :slight_smile: I think I was thrown off by the subtitle.

(system) #587

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