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Science, Miracles and Christian Theology (III)
September 23, 2008, 10:56 am
Filed under: Christian Doctrine, Epistemology, Science | Tags: , , , ,


Has modern science shown traditional belief in miracles to be irrational, impermissible, unsightly, or otherwise unacceptable?


So much depends on precisely what we mean by this.  Surely some kinds of superstitious beliefs and practices have been called into question by modern science.  Take, for example, superstitious beliefs about the sun being a divine personage of sorts. 


But we didn’t have to wait around for modern science to call beliefs like that into question, did we?  Basic beliefs about nature (or beliefs in nature), which logically (and historically) precede science, were already set in place to call these kinds of superstitious beliefs into question, right?  Some ancient people disbelieved in that kind of stuff, right?


It seems to me that sometimes we confuse our basic beliefs about nature, and in nature, with the content of science.  Science did not teach us that the world is natural.  Our belief in the naturalness of the world came first, and then we became scientists.


Suppose we accept all the results of scientific investigation.  These results do not logically entail that the world is natural, was natural or will continue to be natural.  It could be that, if we step back from the natural we will see it in a larger context of the unnatural, non-natural, or super-natural.  And so what seems like a natural order will dissolve into the unnatural, non-natural, or super-natural.  Do we exist in a tiny pool of merely apparent naturalness surrounded by the unnatural, non-natural, or super-natural? 


In any case, we wouldn’t engage in scientific investigation if we didn’t already believe in the naturalness of the world.  Our initial grasp of the naturalness of the world is pre-theoretical and pre-scientific.  Science can only expand and refine our knowledge of the naturalness of the world.


Science has expanded our awareness of the extent of the naturalness of the world, right?


Should Christians be worried about this?  Are Christians committed to belief in the non-naturalness of the world?  To the super-naturalness of the world?  Does this leave less ‘room’ for Christianity?  Less ‘room’ for God?


Given my previous post, obviously no.


Some folks seem to think that belief in God doesn’t make sense anymore because science has explained (or will eventually explain) everything.  There is nothing left for God to explain, so we don’t need that hypothesis anymore.  Those who say things like this betray their ignorance of theology and probably also physics.


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