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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Natural versus Supernatural

I have enjoyed exchanging ideas with Cranky Old Fart recently concerning evolution versus creation. How each of us view the Bible has come to the fore, and I quote Cranky's last comment:

"Point me a friggin' story you accept as allegory other than Jesus' parables.

I see 'em all over the Bible (as anyone over 10 would) but you apparently see real people in the belly of real whales, real snakes (sorry, serpents) talking to real people, real seas parting etc...."

I see the divided in our respective thinking here is the acceptance of the Supernatural. Cranky is a believer in evolution. The means by which he believes life has come to be in its present form on this planet is evolution through natural selection.

There are those who do not accept the idea of the supernatural. They believe any accounts of supernatural occurences are actually mythological. They are fantasy, they are stories with little or no basis in truth. All that is can be observed and measured by man. This is a philosophical viewpoint that has been applied to science and hence we have Darwinism. I suppose Cranky equates any other viewpoint with having the outlook of a ten-year-old or even a five-year-old is because he believes anything supernatural must be a "fairy tale".

Then there are those that accept the supernatural, like myself. Jesus Christ, a known historical figure, was witnessed doing supernatural miracles, miracles that were recounted by multiple witnesses. He actually did heal the sick, bring sight to the blind, even raise the dead. A Christian must believe, obviously, in Jesus in order to be a Christian. So those who do not believe in the supernatural reject the evidence for Christ and consider Christians to be childish or misguided.

There is more. As a Christian, I believe that the natural world that we can taste, touch, hear, see and smell was created by supernatural means. That God, created all natural things and the supernatural is greater than and the cause of the natural. Believing in the supernatural is simply an acceptance of the truth and some of the most brilliant men in history have had a firm belief in both God and the supernatural. That includes men of science like Sir Isaac Newton, not just philosophers and clergymen.

It is therefore not amazing to me that God through Moses could have parted the Red Sea or that Jesus could have walked on water. God made the world and should therefore have command over it. Much as I compose this post and can erase and substitute words as I see fit, God composed and has editorial oversight of the natural world.

We know that there are orderly laws that regulate all processes in the world and that there are detailed sets of instructions held within every living thing to be passed on to the next generation. God created the natural world and rarely interferes in the processes he began. Therefore someone who does not wish to see God in the world around him will likely find that wish to be self-fulfilling.

John Morris, Ph.D. wrote "Natural" selection versus "Supernatural" design from the point of view of a creation scientist. I, like Dr. Morris, believe that the weight of evidence seen in the natural world confirms the existence of a Creator God and also confirms His account of beginnings as written in the Bible. But aside from any scientific evidence is the matter of faith. I have faith in the God of the Bible and I believe the Bible is true. Those who believe like me number in the many millions. I am willing, in deed, I find it compelling to believe in that which is greater than myself. I am unwilling to believe that life and the universe just happened. I see that evidences all around me confirm my beliefs.

I disagree with Cranky but I respect the consistency of his viewpoint. One thing that puzzles me is the Christian who acknowledges Christ but then begins to cut and paste which portions of the Bible he will believe and which he will not. Would God inspire a Bible that was part fable and part fact? I don't think so! It seems to me that intellectually honest individuals either accept the Bible as truth or reject it as fable without trying to have it both ways. A supernatural God has no problem causing a donkey to talk or creating starlight along with the stars. A believer in God should have no problem accepting the Bible as truth from beginning to end.

7 comments:

oriolebird38 said...

A few things. Before I start, I will mention that I am a Catholic at a Catholic school, but am skeptical about the historical accuracy of parts of the bible (particularly the Creation). However, I would argue that debate over the factual nature of the Bible is immaterial, and it's a waste of effort. Because the true merit of the Bible is not as a history textbook. The Bible would be a poor textbook indeed because it doesn't really describe very much. But the true usefulness of the Bible is as an allegorical book. The point of the Bible and religion as a whole is for us to draw meaning from it, change our life, and change our society for the better. It is there to derive lessons for life. Maybe it's all true, maybe it isn't. And we won't know until we die. But who cares? True or not true, it shouldn't affect the way we look at Scripture or Christianity.

Mark K. Sprengel said...

except that Christianity is very much based on a claim that an actual historical event occured when Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead.

Juggling Mother said...

If you are happy to accept that the whole garden of eden story is a parable (no real talking snakes etc), why can't you accept (as many faithful christians do) that perhaps the creation of life on earth is also a parable, and didn't actually take 6 days of 24 hours each? The fairly standard take on this is that God created life, and evolution took it from there. That still gives you an "old" earth, and is compatable with all the evidence the carious scientific diciplines have discovered over the past 500 years or so. I wouldn't personaly agree with that view, as you know, but I would not have any argumnt with it being taught in school as one of the many, many theories as to how life started.

Just one other thing: "Those who believe like me number in the many millions" And those who don't number in the billions!

radar said...

Mrs. A! Welcome!

Okay, guys, my contention is that even if you ignore the Bible that the physical evidence we find in the rocks, etc., reflects an earth that has been here thousands rather than millions of years.

I will continue to address that in future posts.

cranky old fart said...

Shall we get to the star question?

To recap; we see stars that well over 6,000 light years from earth. How is this possible if the universe is a mere 6,000 years old?

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Sumit Mehra said...

sumit mehra

supernatural science is a vast subject.current era science is infant in front of supernatural science.i don't hesitate to say current science is branch of supernatural science.
supernatural is full in it's totality,but current era science is dependent on sources and is limited.
everything is possible in supernatural science.when we combine physics, chemistry and biology then supernatural activities happen.
basically this is important study.
as mentioned in bible,such things are also mentioned in hindu holly books.
in holly books it also shown how to understand the supernatural facts.
for this one has to explore one's mind with the extreme levels of yoga.