Jeppo, on 23 September 2010 - 05:51 AM, said:
This was on the BBC news last night, one of the 'curious' end pieces. I quite like this kind of stuff, but I do wonder if it actually serves any benefit for christianity. Are all Christadelphians pleased that miraculous events are being reduced to accidents of nature? Is it even necessary that miracles should have some sort of scientific hypothesis?
Don't make the same mistake PZ did. There's a difference between saying 'This study shows that a strong wind could have done what the Bible says a strong wind did', and saying 'This study shows that the crossing of the Red Sea did not involve a miracle'. The author's case is the former, not the latter.
Any time God uses a natural force, such as the wind or rain, it is possible to argue that the origin
of the natural force was natural rather than divine, and the timing was just very convenient. But this is typically not the atheist's first response. The atheist's first response is to deny that natural forces can even produce such an effect; there's not enough water in the atmosphere to flood the Mesopotamian basin for Noah's flood, wind doesn't make water split into two halves so that land is exposed. This response is intended to deny that even if God had caused the rain to fall or the wind to blow, it wouldn't have, couldn't
have, done what the record says it did, and that some kind of magic was required in addition to the natural force. And of course, if God is just going to use magic then what on earth is He bothering with forces of nature for?
From the believer's point of view, it is important to demonstrate that when God says He used natural forces He actually used natural forces
, not 'magic', and that when God says He performed the act through miracle X, it doesn't mean that we have to explain the event through additional miracles Y and Z
which God said absolutely nothing about.
The idea of a global flood is a case in point. The Biblical record says that God used natural forces to flood the earth. The global flood view says God something
with natural forces which made it look like
they were contributing significantly to the flood, but in reality God did the actual real work of flooding using undetectable magic rather than natural forces. This is the 'God who pretends', the God of magic, indiscernable from the gods of the Egyptans and Canaanites.
If God says that He used a natural force, then the miracle immediately falls within the magisterium of science and can be investigated, at least insofar as certain practicalities relating to its credibility are concerned (if not the actual verification of the event). That's important for both believer and non-believer.