An argument as to why God does not intervene in his creation in the popular understanding of "miraculous" ways


For millennia, back to Old Testament times, our "model" or "paradigm" within which we (the human family) have tried to understand all this was that God somehow "reached down out of the heavens" basically in the picture that was painted for us in the Book of Genesis. It was quite possibly one of the very first stories ever told and passed down to future generations.

What scientists have been coming to realise in the last century, and more particularly in the last half century, is that the story of "creation" is even more fantastic than anything that is told in Genesis. Some of the scientists who have a bit of theological knowledge twigged on to the fact that it's actually more like the story told at the beginning of St John's Gospel.

Embryonic LifeWhat is "mind bogglingly brainsnapping", and simply gzillions of light years in advance of any "miracle-like" imaging of God "fixing Aunt Bessie' carbuncles", is to be found in this whole "Creation" story. Just as when we (human beings) have sexual intercourse and two tiny seeds come together that are so small that you can only see them through a relatively powerful microscope yet those two seeds, between them have the whole code for one complete human being. God doesn't have to "add anything later"! It's ALL there from the very beginning. That code basically will determine what you'll look like at the age of 90 or whatever time you live to. Nothing extra has to be added.

Can you see where this is heading yet before I tell you?

Yes, it is true, from that not "microscopic", but "nanoscopic", beginning at the moment of "the tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, little bang" that led within millionths of a second to the BIG BANG the whole "code" of Creation was there. Not only were "length, breadth, depth and time" created at that instant but ALL the laws of science and nature that "shape the entire Cosmos until the end of time" — just as our genes contain the "entire code" that shape our entire personal cosmos until the end of our lives.

The BIG Miracle of Creation is not the "physical stuff" that was created, it was "the Laws" that determine how the physical stuff is created and how it will act. In other words, the writer of St John's Gospel saw it before everyone else. "In the Beginning was 'The Word'" - the "set of instructions for literally everything!". Just as with us human beings, God didn't have to "add anything later". From "time zero" the instructions were there for the creation of the earth; the creation of water and the oceans; the creation of stars to give us light, heat and energy; the creation of the chemical reactions which hold it all together – and gravity; and eventually the instructions were in it all (right from the very beginning as Grahame Fallon and Teilhard de Chardin keep telling us) for the emergence of higher and higher forms of life and eventually the birth of human beings. Who was this "dude" who thought it all up and then "compressed it all down into "a Word"? WHO NEEDS ANY MIRACLES IN COMPARISON TO ALL THAT?

Big Bang cyberechos.creteil.iufm.fr/cyber16/Invitation/finmonde/big-bang.jpg

The "special cases"

Resurrection, Piero della Francesca, 1463

I do accept as "a statement of faith", and absolutely, the words of the Creed that we profess at Mass. I do believe "God became man, through the Virgin Mary, and that after his passion and crucifixion he was resurrected from the dead and eventually ascended into heaven" I also accept as a "faith belief" that the Mother of God was "assumed" bodily into heaven. I do not necessarily accept those things as scientific realities though.

There is excellent evidence, even from the raw words of the witnesses to the Resurrection that the Risen Christ was different in character and nature to the pre-Risen Christ. This was not a resuscitation. I do not know what it means though in a scientific frame of reference. These matters, to me, remain in the province of "Mystery" as I accept concepts like "The Trinity" as matters that reside in the realm of Mystery and are most probably ultimately "unknowable" this side of "the end of time". These are part of this corpus of absolutely Absolute Knowledge reserved to God Himself which, as Christ tells us, will be revealed to the faithful at "the end of time".

Nothing therefore of what I write about "miracles" and "special divine action" applies to these "special cases" which I do fully accept as both matters of "faith" and "Mystery". I am not necessarily arguing I accept either way that God used some kind of "Wizard of Id" type interventions in these matters. I do have a suspicion they are "allegorical rather than factual and, from my thinking through these matters over many years, if they are "allegorical" rather than "scientifically factual" that does not "diminish" my faith. I do appreciate that some people do believe they have to be accepted as "scientific facts" in a similar sense that the Resurrection was form of Resuscitation and that belief in these things in that way is an essential otherwise the whole "deposit of faith" falls away to nothing. I do not accept their reasoning. I believe these things can be accepted as "factual" in the realm of faith and Mystery but the scientific reality is not necessary to "the deposit of faith" or my personal salvation. The foregoing words do need to be read very carefully and studied to understand them. They contain many qualifications and need to be read in the context of this entire paragraph. I know some people will endeavour to take one or two sentences out of context. That cannot be done in a meaningful way although some undoubtedly do believe they have "divine powers" to be able to do so and to be able to read my mind and beliefs.

The only place where "miracles" seem to occur in the entire Universe are in two places. (This is discounting and assuming that all the natural phenomenon-type "miracles" in Scripture are now accepted as being explainable within modern scientific understanding as explained in my earlier post and the argument to this point.)

Those two places are:

  1. the "special cases" of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, and, the Assumption of the Mother of God bodily into heaven; and

  2. the instances of "miracle cures" applying to human beings where there appears to be no medical or scientific explanation other than that "the hand of God" must have effected the "cure". The formal term used by the Church for these interventions is "Special Divine Action" and we popularly refer to them as "miracles".

The main thrust of this article is exploring the ordinary meaning of "miracles' described in (ii). I have outlined as honestly as I can my understanding of the "special cases" in (i) in a separate boxed article to the right. You might like to read that before returning to this main argument.

What I am postulating and arguing…

I am postulating that God does not intervene in his Creation, even for the so-called effecting of human cures, in ways that defy the laws of creation that God imbued into creation. In other words God does not use extraordinary or "Supernatural" means for his interventions. It will be these matters that I will be principally addressing in this post. I am not arguing my case by endeavouring to "prove" or "disprove" particular miracles but by approaching this entire subject from an entirely fresh perspective through trying to understand the relationship God has endeavoured to establish with us and which he calls us into. I repeat again, this is not an argument designed to "prove" or "disprove" particular miracles. There are many, many things I cannot explain in life. I am not prepared though to attribute them to some "Wizard of Id" intervention by God. I trust you might begin to understand why by the conclusion of these arguments.

CONTINUED [use navigation below]...

©2005Tom Scott/Brian Coyne/Vias Tuas Communications
Written: 22Mar2005

Tom Scott

"In spite of all that might be said against our age,
what a moment it is to be alive in!" James McAuley