Can God Be Known From Nature Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1313 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

God and Nature

Jesus performed His miracles to reveal God's truth and to inspire faith. Thus, the miracles recounted in the Gospels provide ample testimony to the numerous ways God acts in the world. McGrath outlines and explains several different ways God acts in the world. The most fundamental way God acts in the world is also the most primordial: through the act of creation itself. God also acts in the world by not acting at all: as explained by the philosophy of deism. McGrath also explains how God acts through secondary causes, indirectly as with "double agency," (p. 96). Finally, Dog acts also through what McGrath describes as "persuasion," or "process thought," (p. 96). Process thought suggests that God acts not only decisively but persuasively in the world while still allowing for the free will of individual actors. As McGrath points out, "the God of process thought seems to bear little relation to the God described in the Old or New Testament," (p. 98). Nevertheless, process thought, secondary causes, deism and multiple types of generative power can all be used to explicate New Testament miracles performed by God's Son.

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Described in John 2, the miracle of water into wine illustrates at least four of the ways God acts in the world. First, it is important to point out that the miracles Jesus performs in the New Testament cannot be considered outside the context of Christianity. In other words, the very fact that God's son performs miracles like turning water into wine is an emblem of the way God acts in the world. God deliberately acts in the world through Jesus, acting as both demiurge and as redeemer in Christ. McGrath notes that both concepts of God as demiurge and as redeemer explain how God acts in the world at the moment of creation. Christ can be conceived of as an emanation of God in a poetic way, but not in a literal way because as McGrath points out, "that the act of creation rests upon a prior decision on the part of God to create," which emanation "cannot adequately express (p. 115-116).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Can God Be Known From Nature Assignment

The miracle of water into wine is performed by God indirectly through his only Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus is considered as Lord, the miracle can also be conceived of as a direct action of God in the world. The multifaceted and complex analysis of the miracle of water into wine demonstrates the efficacy of God acting in the world through secondary causes. Even when Jesus is considered to be a divine actor, there are intermediary causes involved in the miracle. For example, the family holding the wedding invites Jesus. Their decision to invite Jesus might have come from some inner prompting from God. Jesus's mother attends the wedding too, and intervenes by nudging Jesus. She tells him, "They have no more wine," thus suggesting to Jesus that He should do something about it (John 2:2). Until that point, Jesus had not intended to act; it was his mother who prompted him to act. The reader knows this because of Jesus's reaction. He talks back to his mother, saying, "Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come," (John 2:4).

Jesus's mother therefore initiates the water into wine miracle, in conjunction with the seeming coincidence of their both being at the wedding together. God is therefore acting in the world through several different secondary causes even before Jesus actually performs the miracle. Jesus's mother speaks directly to the servants too, as if she intuits what Jesus is about to do. She tells the servants to "do whatever he tells you," even though they are not her servants (John 2:5). In any other situation, the order would come across as being presumptuous on the part of Mary, but it is God who inspires her to act. The servants in the parable do not think anything of Mary telling them what to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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