Lutherans/Special Divine Action - Pat G
I am performing a research on Special Divine Action as defined in various religions and very much appreciate your valued input.
- General Divine Action are realised entirely through the natural order, and there is no conflict with what the sciences tell us about the law-governed processes constituting that natural order
- Special Divine Action (SDA), however, appears to require that God intervenes with physical effects within the natural order to turn events in a direction they would not otherwise have gone. Miracles in relation to natural order are an example of SDA.
- SDA can be construed as having occurred currently (e.g. 21st Century) given the following categories:
1) Scientific laws have not changed, however the phenomena cannot be rationally explained using probability and statistics.
2) Scientific laws cannot provide an answer for the phenomena. There are two aspects where SDA can be inert or in harmony and synergy with other factors:
a) SDA as an option is possible or favourable with regard to other options which explicably explain aspects which science cannot explain, despite scientific observation, analysis, or experiment.
b) SDA changes/suspends scientific laws.
Can you please answer questions 1, 2 and 3 by selecting a, b or c.
1) To what extent does the above SDA categories represent SDA within Christianity?
(currently as oppose to in the past or future)
2) To what extent can all SDA within Christianity be understood in terms of human technology that needs to be in place to recreate the SDA?
(currently or in the future)
For example do you believe there will there always be an unknown factor with SDA.
3) Have you personally observed or experienced SDA?
a) Yes (can you provide examples)
b) Not sure
If relevant can you please provide explanations for your answers.
This question contains no personal information about you, and other people may appreciate my answer, so I have made the question public.
I'm not at all sure what you are expecting of me. This looks like some kind of guidelines for a research paper, or even a test. Are you asking me to do your homework for you? We're not supposed to do that. So I won't be answering the questions you have outlined for me.
SDA as you have described them can be either a result of God acting within natural laws, or God suspending them for a moment. Obviously, in the Bible, when the sun stood still during a battle, that was a suspension of natural laws. I would hold that SDA are basically miracles. It is considered acceptable, by Christians and otherwise, to try to find a natural cause for the event. For example, studying the Red Sea has resulted in some possible explanations for the occasion when God parted the waters and let the Israelites through, while allowing them to rush in on the Egyptian army. In most cases, if God acted within natural laws, investigation is just as likely not to come up with an explanation as to do so.
Obviously, rising from the dead is a violation of natural law. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Some people arose out of their graves when He died on the cross. And then a few days later, Jesus Himself rose from the dead. No matter how hard you try to come up with explanations for that which fit within natural law, you won't be able to do so. Jesus demonstrated His power and the power of the Father, and we know that because of this, those of us who are reconciled to God through Jesus' sacrifice for our sins will also rise from the dead and join God in heaven forever. Every time a person becomes a Christian, that is a miracle. We're not naturally inclined that way. We are slaves to sin. Jesus must break our shackles, and that requires divine intervention.
Christianity is different from other religions (except Judaism, which is the beginning of Christianity) in that God is the creator of the universe, all powerful, and can do anything He wants with the natural laws He designed in the first place. All other religions embrace gods that lack this kind of power, and must operate within natural laws. They may be able to generate "miracles", and they often do signs and wonders to entrap people. But it's simply not the same thing. To study these other religions for their SDA and then compare them with Christianity in this regard simply isn't a viable thing to do. All you can accomplish is learning WHY Christianity is different. That's worth doing, but it's not quite what I think you are trying to do, if I read your question correctly.
God is the creator of the universe, and He created it out of nothing! Such a powerful Being can do whatever He wants with the natural laws He designed in the first place. The mistake science makes is when it looks at phenomena with a strictly materialistic mindset. This closes off the possibility of coming up with a correct explanation.
The Bible is the source of knowledge about God that boes beyond the general knowledge imparted by nature. It has been shown to be completely reliable, and without error in its original autographs (the original copies of each manuscript). We don't have the original autographs, but we have so many copies that were made with extreme care, even counting each letter as a numeral and adding them together and comparing original with copy, that we know with a high degree of certainty what the original autographs said. Should there be an occasional spelling error (which is about the most you will find), it doesn't come close to changing the basic message, which is Christ, or even disturbing its historical and scientific accuracy. And yes, the Bible makes certain scientific statements, and they are accurate. Your best bet is to go to the Bible as your source and read about the various SDA that are described in it, and that will be all the information you will have available with respect to the SDA which were committed by God.
When reading other materials from other religions, or listening to eyewitness or second hand accounts, keep in mind that what you read or hear may not be accurate. It gets very difficult to study SDA in other religions, simply because there is no way to verify most of the claims. You have your work cut out for you, figuring out which accounts to trust, if any, so that a comparison can even be made.
And that's just how I see it. Take care.