Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Dark Side of the Bible: "wipe them out" passages.

I was recently conversing with an atheist, who for lack of anything better to say, pulled out the old bit about how oppressive the Bible is. Of course he had to multiply examples with quote after quote about stoning the women and killing others and making slaves obey, yada yada yada, like I haven't thought about this. Like I was a political organizer in the central America movement for years and a seminary student in a very liberal seminary, and I never gave a thought to the social relations in the Bible!

I said the verse about the slaughter of the Amalektie infants was an interpolation. He responds with bo'd coup verses, one after another, all supposedly saying the same things (of course they really didn't say the same thing, just many things that offend the twentieth century sensibility). Since there are just way too many verses to respond once for one, and it's all just multiplying examples, I will list some general principles that I think answer the overall situation viz God and social oppression, especially as it relates to the OT.

(1)But first, it's important to recognize the objective.

The atheist has to show that belief in God, specifically the Hebrew God, made the situation worse. If it didn't worsen the lot of the people of that era, then where's the blame? To do that they have to do two things:

(a) compare to surrounding culture

(b) show that the problem comes directly from belief in the kind of God the Hebrews had, as opposed to other types of the day.

(2) Can't hold up ancient world people to modern standards.

We can't expect people in the ancient world, who lived prior to the modern western concepts of autonomy, individualism and democracy and expect them to have learned better at Woodstock. They didn't have Woodstock to learn from and they weren't hippies, they had no sexaul revoltuion and they couldnt' go to a corner drug store and read about it in a teen magazine or a tabloid.

(3) Social Evolution not Revoltuion

Christ didn't explain to people how to build nuclear power plants or the theory of germs and antiseptic surgery, he didn't write medical books to make their lives better. He did some religious thing and went away again. That's because his mission was primarily spiritual. He was not a social revolutionary, even though what he said would be very revolutionary if it were practiced.

But basically God keeps pace with the understanding of people. The atheists seem to think that everything should be a vast revelation, unfolding of the new world before everyone's eyes. I've already sketched out my theory of soteriological drama in which God wants an individual search in the heart, and that's why he doesnt' pull back the veil of the sky, reveal heaven and set up shop on earth.

God allows us to make the journey. He allows us to set up our own society to apply the principles we learn to internalize on our spiritual search as part of our ethical understanding concerning living in the world. Thus God allows Society to evolve at its own place and allows the understanding of people to guide social reform and revolution.

Naturally things will look a lot rougher at the beginning than at the end. The ancient world will be a lot more primitive and barbaric than the modern world. That's just the concept of social evolution.

(4)The Bible is personal revelation not a guide to social utopia

What throws a lot of people off is that God seemed to be leading a nation in the OT. One would then expect that he would introduce that nation to the proper social enlightenment. We forget a lot of those texts were political propaganda. The basic function of the OT is to form a cultural background so the mission of the messiah makes sense. The real nature of Biblical revelation is the dialectical relationship between the reader and text. In other words, don't be suckered by ancient nationalism.

(5) The God led society was progressive

When you compare those barbaric practices of the Hebrews with those of surrounding cultures they were better. They were more progressive. Consider the nature of war; most slaves were captives taken in war, for most nations around that day a woman captured in war was just a thing to be used as the captor saw fit. She would never again have any kind of rights or consideration and in many cases be killed. In Hebrew culture she was protected form rape and in seven years had a chance to free herself.

*poor people could glean parts of the harvest for themselves

*everyone got land *women went to Moses and demanded their fair share and it was given them

*Women takne in slavery protected from rape

*in Jubilee year the captives could free themselves.

*court system setup to hear complaints of people

Actually most of this stuff is more progressive than Trump's social agenda.

(6) Christian principles led to modern concepts of personhood and human rights.

the slave owners in the American south followed their econimic interest. But the workers int he underground RR who tended to be christains, and quakers and abolitinoists over all followed their reilgious princples,and they oppossed salvery, and closed down the slave trade in the 1820's before the civil war, and latter supported the union and helped end the insittution of slavery in the Confederacy and went on to push for women's rights as well.

*First Women's suffrage group in America Phoebe Palmer and Methodist Women's Association

* first organized Abolition group in America, very same people, Methodist women

*Chrarles Finney crusaded against slavery and supported the abolition movement,and brought the entire second great awakening into the cause. He said "revolution is of God when the intelligence and understanding of the people exceeds the oppression being done to them."

* *Pesant revolts in south Germany for rights of the poor

*Olympia, Deaconess of Constantinople gave her personal fortune to free slaves. St. John Crysostom led a social reform movement that was headed by man Deaconesses of his diocese.

*Christians for Socialism in 20th century chile

*CLamb Central america

*Snadinistas printed bibles tought Bible in literacy campign

*Father Ernesto Cardinal in Nicaragua, Father Camillio Tores in Bolivia, all over Latin America Priests and nuns lead social and poltiical revolution against US cold war poltiics and social oppression.

*1930s America Christians for socialism and industrial action

*Dorothy Day supports christian socialism and starts comminites to bring soup kitchens to poor and share all goods in common.

In every time and place, in every social setting some chrsitrians have wored against the oppression to be the salt and light.

It's a journey of the individual heart but it plays itself out in the way we relate to each other.


Monday, January 15, 2024

Are All Cosmologists Atheists?

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In the previous post I commented on Sean Carroll, astro-physicist and atheist soldier who wave the banner of scientism. He writes an article:"Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists" [1]Actually, he offers no data on the views of cosmologists. I offered reasons in the previous post as to why I think the title here is hyperballe. Good data shows that the majority of scientists believe in God [2]  While it may not be true of cosmologists I have no reason to believe it is not. But this is not the real issue. he real issue is that Carroll's arguments are merely ideological/ all he's doing is imposing a naturalistic ideology upon epistemology and then insisting that he has the mystique of science to back  it up. In other word it's just propaganda.

Let's start with his conclusion:

The question we have addressed is, ”Thinking as good scientists and observing the world in which we live, is it more reasonable to conclude that a materialist or theist picture is most likely to ultimately provide a comprehensive description of the universe?” Although I don’t imagine I have changed many people’s minds, I do hope that my reasoning has been clear. We are looking for a complete, coherent, and simple understanding of reality.
That seems ok so far but here's where he wants to wind up:

 Given what we know about the universe, there seems to be no reason to invoke God as part of this description. In the various ways in which God might have been judged to be a helpful hypothesis — such as explaining the initial conditions for the universe, or the particular set of fields and couplings discovered by particle physics — there are alternative explanations which do not require anything outside a completely formal, materialist description. I am therefore led to conclude that adding God would just make things more complicated, and this hypothesis should be rejected by scientific standards. It’s a venerable conclusion, brought up to date by modern cosmology; but the dialogue between people who feel differently will undoubtedly last a good while longer.

The problem is "what we know" means what we know by the methods that I choose, those methods are chosen because they yield the results I want; other forms of  knowledge I do not have to regard. He argues for a self contained paradigm and true to Thomas Kun's theory he absorbs anomalies into the paradigm so as not to admit that they are contradictions and he defends the paradigm like a political regime. My overall argument is that his rejection of theism is ideological not scientific.

In his abstract to the article he makes his purpose clear, that purpose I to rule out belief in God by moving it of the map as an issue. The way to do that is to assert science's role as the only form of knowlege:
Science and religion both make claims about the fundamental workings of the universe. Although these claims are not a priori incompatible (we could imagine being brought to religious belief through scientific investigation), I will argue that in practice they diverge. If we believe that the methods of science can be used to discriminate between fundamental pictures of reality,we are led to a strictly materialist conception of the universe. While the details of modern cosmology are not a necessary part of this argument, they provide interesting clues as to how an ultimate picture may be constructed. [emphasis mine] [3]
Why would we be led to be led to a meticulously materialist view just because we believe that the methods of science can be used to discriminate between fundamental views? It sounds like he is saying that science can determine the truth between differing views. He actually says ifwe believe that it can He's aware that it can't. He knows all he's really doing is just advocating an ideological view point that blinds itself to other possibilities.

As further evidence of his commitment as a solider of atheism he opposes any sort of peaceful coexistence between science and religion:

One increasingly hears rumors of a reconciliation between science and religion. In major news magazines as well as at academic conferences, the claim is made that that belief in the success of science in describing the workings of the world is no longer thought to be in conflict with faith in God. I would like to argue against this trend, in favor of a more old-fashioned point of view that is still more characteristic of most scientists, who tend to disbelieve in any religious component to the workings of the universe.[4]

He disavows any claim to statistical accuracy in the title saying, "The title ''Why cosmologists are atheists'' was chosen ...simply to bring attention to the fact that I am presenting a common and venerable point of view, not advancing a new and insightful line of reasoning." [5] That's a new one, I can make false claims about support because I don't mean them and somehow the fact that I'm advocating traditional views guarantees it's veracity. Talk about propaganda! This "common and venerable view" is outmoded and has been left behind by many in scientific circles. Stpehen J, Guild with his non overlapping magisteria found peace with religion by recognizing that religion and science have different purposes.[6] The National Science Teachers Association echos the same concept that science and religion cover differing domains of knowledge. “Explanations involving non-naturalistic or supernatural events, whether or not explicit reference is made to a supernatural being, are outside the realm of science and not part of a valid scientific curriculum.” [7]

"Essentially I will be defending a position that has come down to us from the Enlightenment, and which has been sharpened along the way by various advances in scientific understanding. In particular, " No scientific understanding has ruled out God. He's appealing to tradition and the emotional investment he's made in enlightenment thinking. "Since very early on, religion has provided a certain way of making sense of the world -- a reason why things are the way they are." I suspect that what he means by that is that religion offered an explanation of the workings of the physical world, such as the river floods because God is mad at us. I have a hard time thinking that Carroll really has a conception of what religion is about.  part of what I base that upon is the the things he thinks beat it out:
In modern times, scientific explorations have provided their own pictures of how the world works, ones which rarely confirm the pre-existing religious pictures. Roughly speaking, science has worked to apparently undermine religious belief by calling into question the crucial explanatory aspects of that belief; it follows that other aspects (moral, spiritual, cultural) lose the warrants for their validity. I will argue that this disagreement is not a priori necessary, but nevertheless does arise as a consequence of the scientific method,

Of course before one can say "X has overcome Y" she/he must know what Y is about. Since science doesn't talk about existential or phenomenological matters one cam only conclude that he must think religion is about explaining where the sun came from and why it rains. This especially so since view he is juxtaposing is cosmology. So he must think that understanding the nature of reality is jus a matter of understanding the cosmic layout, planets and stars.
The essence of materialism is to model the world as a formal system, which is both unambiguous and complete as a description of reality. A materialist model may be said to consist of four elements. First, we model the world as some formal (mathematical) structure. (General relativity describes the world as a curved manifold with a Lorentzian metric, while quantum mechanics describes the world as a state in some Hilbert space.
Complete as a description of reality? That assumes of course that your methods are up to the task of probing all of reality. He speaks of a complete description and yet look at all that he leaves out/, First I refer the reader to my recent essay "can science prove the basis of modern physics?" [8] How can he claim a complete description when it can't tell us what the basic building blocks are made out of? Materialism has to rule out miracles. It will rule them out as a matter of course. That is an ideological imperative. Then in a move of pure circular reasoning it will appeal to it's own authority in declaring miracles to be scientifically disproved. All that really means is that they conflict with the ideological scheme of things. Miracles are a part of my reality. They are paert of other people's observations and have been documented scientifically.[9] [10]Any description of the universe that rules them out without genuinely disproving them is incomplete. Then of course there are issues of phenomenological and existential import.


[1] Sean M. Carroll, "Why (Almost All) Cosmologists are Atheists;" On line resource, Prepared for God and Physical Cosmology: Russian-Anglo American Conference on Cosmology and Theology, Notre Dame, January/February 2003. Published in Faith and Philosophy 22, 622 (2005). See also the pdf version. URL:  accessed Feb 12, 2016.

Carroll is at the California Institute of Technology.

[2] Neil Gross and Solon Simmons, “How Religious Are America's College and University Professors.” SSRC, (published feb. 2007), PDF URL, accessed 9/4/15 The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. 

They present a bar graph that show about 35% professor's ar elite research universities believe in God with no doubt. About 27% believe but sometimes have doubts. About 38% are atheists. That actually means that 60% are not atheists. True that's not cosmologists but there is good reason to think the majority of cosmologists are not atheists. The most atheistic groups in the study were psychologists (61%), biologists (about 61%), and mechanical engineers (50%), not physicists (among whose ranks cosmologists number).  “Contrary to popular Opinion, atheists and agnostics do not comprise a majority of professors..."

[3] Carroll, op. cit.

[4] Ibid. "Introduction."

[5] Ibid. all further quotes by Carroll are from this article.

[6]  Stephen Jay GouldRocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life. New York: Ballantine Books. ,2002,

[7] Statement on Teaching Evolution, National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). Adopted by the NABT Board of Directors on March 15, 1995. no page given, in Three Statememts in Support of Teaching Evolution From Science and Science Education Organizations, A National Science Teachers Association Position Statement (see fn 4) online URL (accesed 1/26/2016)

[8] Joe Hinman, Can Science prove the basis of modern Physics?" Metacrock's blog,Feb. 1, 2016, URL: accessed 2/14/16.
[9] Bernard Francis et al, “The Lourdes Medical Cures Re-visited,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (10.1093/jhmas/jrs041) 2012 pdf downloaded SMU page 1-28  all the page numbers given are from pdf

Bernard Francis is former professor Emeritus of medicine, Unversite Claude Bernard Lyon. Elisabeth Sternberg taught at National Institute of Mental Health and The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Elisabeth Fee was at National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

[10] Jacalyn Duffin, Medical Miracles: Doctors, Saints and Healing: Medical Miracles in the Modern World. Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 21, 2008

from Bio on
 Jacalyn Duffin, M.D. (Toronto 1974), FRCP(C) (1979), Ph.D. (Sorbonne 1985), is Professor in the Hannah Chair of the History of Medicine at Queen's University in Kingston where she has taught in medicine, philosophy, history, and law for more than twenty years. A practicing hematologist, a historian, a mother and grandmother, she has served as President of both the American Association for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine. She holds a number of awards and honours for research, writing, service, and teaching. She is the author of five books, editor of two anthologies, and has published many research articles. Her most recent book is an analysis of the medical aspects of canonization, Medical Miracles; Doctors, Saints, and Healing in the Modern World, Oxford University Press, 2009. It was awarded the Hannah Medal of the Royal Society of Canada...

See also Doxa. miracles pages


Sunday, January 07, 2024

Three best arguments: answering Skeptical

I.Fine Trining. Skeptical argues:
- How is order an indication of God? Order occurs spontaneously. You would need to argue that order can only happen as a result of a conscious mind. But we know that's not true. The "laws of physics" are the product of human minds observing and abstracting the behavior of physical things, but they don't govern that behavior.
First of all, the fine tuning argument does not say order implies God. It does not turn on order. I have no idea where he got that.It's about the specific combination of factors that allow for life to develop that is not the same as infuring God from order in the universe.

Secondly,when he asserts that major structures in the universe,such as natural law, do not require mind or ordering he's begging the question. He's assuming his position as a guide to settle the argument. -
And the universe is not fine-tuned for life. Rather, life is fine-tuned by evolution to exist in its environment. If your assertion were true, we should expect to find more of it, everywhere we look.
   That doesn't follow,"life is fine tuned by evolution..." means nothing, come on what does it mean? Saying that the universe is fine tuned means circumstances are arranged such that life can develop. What does it mean to say life is fine tuned by evolution and why is that not the same as saying the universe is fine tuned to produce life?

 But as far as we know life doesn't exist in most parts of the universe. Our planet is one place out of many that is an exception, because it happens to be conducive to life.
Fine tuning would mean small adjustments not sweeping change. So a fine tuned universe would be very similar in many respects to a non life bearing universe. So what does that do to the argument, to say Earth is a little corner where life is possible? So what? Then he harps on my major source of information: -
...Paul Davies is paid to put a religious spin on science, making it sound as if his religious views were legitimate scientific conclusions, which they are not. Nagel, too, is a religious-leaning philosopher who makes his living peddling religious ideas to a religious audience. You can't put much stock in these guys as sources of unbiased information.

Notice he doesn't document anything. Who is paying him and why? My disposition is that Skepie is assuming the Templeton prize is payment, Davies is a highly respected scientist who teaches at Arizona State and other places: He was a popular atheist apologist. Ye already won the Templeton prize so the money is his He doesn't have to earn it.

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and best-selling science author. He has published about 30 books and hundreds of research papers and review articles across a range of scientific fields...Among his many awards are the 1995 Templeton Prize, the Faraday Prize from The Royal Society, the Kelvin Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics, the Robinson Cosmology Prize and the Bicentenary Medal of Chile. He was made a member of the Order of Australia in the 2007 Queen's birthday honours list and the asteroid 6870 Pauldavies is named after him. This is all courtesy of that highly biased religious source Arizona State University.[1]

The idea that he's being paid to make pro religious arguments is ludicrous.

  II.The religious experience argument:

Skep says: "Religious or mystical experience is a natural function of the human brain. It occurs with a broad range of intensities and associated mental imagery." Actually, mystical experience is supposed to be beyond images so that statement is a direct contradiction to any real knowledge of the subject.

He then demonstrates the poor state of his knowledge of Hood's work. "Ralph Hood can try to categorize it as 'legitimate' or not, but his position would be challenged by millions of people who have had these kinds of experiences induced by means other than what Hood would allow." What he means by this is a real puzzle. Where does Hood say anything about what means mystical union is allowed? Clearly he has never read Hood and pieced together his own version of what Hood probably says being a fundamentalist christian. But Hood is not a Christian of any sort.Skeptical does not know the basics of his work. Hood has devised a means of controlling for a true mystical experience based upon British philosopher W.T. Stace who studied the great mystics of the world. He says nothing about disalloying meaning or obtaining the state.

Skeptical says:
In many cultures, they use drugs to induce it, but Hood can't tell them that their experience is not legitimate. In our own culture, churches use psychological manipulation to induce religious experiences. The fact is that mystical experience is pretty easy to trigger, either in your own mind, or in someone else's. There is zero real scientific evidence that God is behind it.

Drugs do not induce mystical consciousness, I talk about this in detail in my book.[2] His argument is begging the question. Hood's M scale is validated as a means of determining if one has actually had the kind of experiences the mystics of the world have called "mystical union." Why would people who really have the experience express indignation at Hoods work when he's merely showing them they have it? Fir those who have not really had it shouldn't they face the truth? Skep has no evidence that there would be a conflagration.

- "You might want to claim that atheists are threatened by science that supports a religious conclusion, but you would be wrong. Just show us legitimate science to support your religious conclusions." Obviously they are. I have shown legitimate science that supports my view, the work of Ralph Hood.

Despite the fact that you have written a book, we are still waiting. If your conclusions were valid, it would certainly draw attention, but that book hasn't made even a tiny ripple in the scientific community.

That's a really childish understanding of the way academic publishing works. I don't have a big publishing company behind me and this was my first book, I am not in the PhD club.Here is Randel Rouser's interview with me on that book. Also reviewed by Lantz Miller is an academic journal.that's not bad for a first effort.[3]My life is a failure in that I did not achieve any of the goals I set for myself. God wont see me that way because I led people to him, One soul snatched from the jaws of hell matters more than the Nobel  prize.

III.Laws of nature.

   He omitted the title hoping to confuse this with argument I. That's clear from the point below:"How is this argument distinct from the first one?"

  - "mind is the most efficient and dependable source of ordering we know". That's pure hogwash. Order occurs as a result of thermodynamics, in scales ranging from subatomic to stellar. And there is no valid reason to think that there must be a mind behind it. Simple observation provides prima facie evidence that order is spontaneous.
I talk about the most efficient source of ording he asserts any king of ordering means we don't need to think about that, He's just ignoring the issue I raise and putting in own straw man. He clearly confused this with a design argument. He asks "How is this argument distinct from the first one?" Argument I is fine tuning it asserts that success inproduciglife implsy devine hel since life is so improbable. This argument asserts the mind is implied in order. Clearly not the same even though they use similar ideas.
[1] Arizona State University, "Paul Davies Regents Professor (FSC), Department of Physics Regents Professor (FSC), The Beyond Center."  no Date given.
[2] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God, A Rational Warrant for Belief. Grand viaduct, 2014,61, 296,    
[3] Searching ffir God In Mystical Experience, An Interview with Joseph Hinman, January 8, 2019 by Randal Rauser.
Review by Lantz Miller,    

Joe HinmanPhone: 469-601-7946Website: The Religious A PrioriBlog: Metacrock's Blog My book, The

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

for im-skeptical

from a fried of mine for I am skeptocal: "This is a kind of appeal to authority. The religionist claims to be an atheist or a former atheist. Therefore, the audience is expected to believe his theistic or religion-friendly assertions. It works for Nagel. Joe does it. You do it, too." So how is Nagel a "religionist" or "religion-friendly" exactly? By not being a thorough-going scientific-reductionist? Because his theories can be interpreted in such a way that religionists can use them to support their claims doesn't make him "religion-friendly". The bigger issue, I think, is science; how much epistemic scope do we assume that science has? To me, that's an even more fundamental question than religion. That's the kind of question that Nagel is asking, and why he's gotten the scientific community so angry, and the kind of question Russell was asking when he proposed neutral monism, before he abandoned it.

Monday, January 01, 2024

what is the supernatural

By Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) - September 10, 2017 Mathias Joseph Scheeben

The Supernatural was something very different than it is now. This is important because that original meaning, which Christian spiritually was predicated upon, is empirically provable and and can be shown to be real by simple scientific means. We have to understand the original concept, there are two thinkers who tried to restore the concept to it’s original form and we need to listen to what they tried to say. The first one was Matthias Joseph Scheeben (born, 1 March, 1835; died at Cologne, 21 July, 1888.) His major work was Nature and Grace. [17] Scheeben was a mystic who contemplated and studied divine grace and hypostatic union. He was also a greatly accomplished academic and was a fine scholar of scholastic theology. He studied at the Gregorian University at Rome and taught dogmatic theology at the Episcopal seminary.

at Cologne. Scheeben was the chief defender of the faith against rationalism in the nineteenth century. The generation after his death ( in Cologne in 1888) regarded him as one of the greatest minds of Catholic thought in his day. He left three major works: Nature and Grace (1861), The Mysteries of Christianity (1865), and the massive yet unfinished Handbook of Catholic Dogmatics. Among his major accomplishnents were defense of Vatican I's defense of infallibility, defense of religious freedom against Bismark's attempt to control the Catholic Church.

His books were repeatedly republished in Germany up into the 1960s and translated into other European languages, including English (the Dogmatics, alas, only in highly truncated form). Since the Second Vatican Council, though, he has mostly been neglected by theological teachers and students who have wrongly imagined the nineteenth-century Catholic tradition to be a period of anti-modern darkness….The Catholic world of a hundred or more years ago was quite right, I think, to see the Cologne seminary professor as perhaps the finest modern Catholic dogmatic theologian. His writings not only yield rare insight into the mysteries of Christian faith, they draw the attentive reader ever more deeply into the mysteries themselves. Scheeben is more important now than he has ever been. He can teach a theological generation that has sold its inestimable birthright how to restore and renew dogmatic theology.[18

The other thinker is Eugene R. Fairweather (2 November 1920-) an Anglican scholar and translator of Church fathers from Ottowa. MA in Philosophy form University of Toronto (1943) Ordained priest in 1944 and became tutor at Trinity college Toronto same year. He studied theology at Union theological seminary and earned his Th.D. in 1949. He had an honorary doctorate from McGill University. At the time he wrote his article “Christianity and the Supernatural” he was editor of the Canadian Journal of Theology and professor of dogmatic theology and ethics at Trinity College, Toronto.[19]Fairweather quotes Scheeben and bases part of his view upon Scheeben’s.

Fairweather’s view of the supernatural is contrary to the notion of two opposing realms, or a dualism. He uses the phrase “two-sidedness,” there is a “two-sidedness” about reality but it’s not a real dualism. The Supernatural is that which is above the natural in a certain sense but it is also working in the natural. There are supernatural effects in the natural realm that make up part of human life. Essentially we can say that “the supernatural” (supernature) is an ontology. Fiarweather doesn’t use that term but that’s essentially what he’s describing. Ontology is a philosophical description of reality. Supernature describes reality in that it is the ground and end of the natural. What that means is unpacked by Fairweather : an ordered relation of means to immediate ends with respect to their final ends. “The Essential structure of the Christian faith has a real two-sidedness about it, which may at first lead the unwary into a dualism and then encourage the attempt to resolve the dualism by an exclusive emphasis upon one or the other [side] of the severed element of complete Christianity.”[20] He explains the ordered relation several times through paring off opposites or supposed opposites: human/divine; immanent/transcendent; realm of Grace/realm of nature. All of these he refers to as “ordered relations.”[21] If this was Derrida we would call them binary oppositions. In calling them “ordered” he is surely saying one is ‘above’ the other in some sense. They are not necessarily oppositions because that’s his whole point, not a true dualism.

Supernature is working in nature. It’s not breaking in unwelcome but is drawing the workings of nature to a higher level. Fairweather describes it as the “ground and end of nature.” In other words it is the basis upon which nature comes to be and the goal toward which nature moves. Now it’s true that science removes the teleological from nature it doesn’t see it as moving toward a goal but that’s because it can’t consider anything beyond its own domain. Science is supposed to be empirical consideration of the natural realm and is practitioners often profess disdain for the metaphysical while inso doing keep a running commentary on metaphysics. Of course modern science become a form of metaphysics by infusing itself with philosophical assumptions and then declaring there is nothing beyond the natural/material realm. That is to say, when it is dominated by secularist ideology that is the direction in which science is cast. Be that as it may, theologically we can take a broader view and we see a goal oriented aspect to the natural. Supernatural effects draw the natural toward supernature. That is to say human nature responds to the calling of God in elevating humans to a higher level of consciousness. There is another example of the ground and end of nature. Fairweather doesn’t give this example, but I think it applies. This is Martin Luther King’s statement about the “arch of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” Nothing in nature bends toward justice, if by “nature” we mean rocks and trees but there is more to the natural realm than just those aspects that science studies. Humans are part of the realm of the natural and it is part of our social world that we understand concepts of justice. Due to our own purposive nature we bend the arch of the moral universe toward justice.

Long before Dionysius spoke of huper hamousios “From an early period the concept of 'that which is above nature’ had been seized upon by Christian Theologians as an appropriate means of stating the core of the gospel...” [22] Origen...[185-254] tells how God raises man above human nature…and makes him change into a better and divine nature.”[23] John Chrysostom (347-407) speaks of humans having received grace “health beauty honor and dignities far exceeding our nature.”[24] That view has persisted even in modern times. “In the West the most concise expression of the idea is to be found in the Leonine prayer ‘grant us to be partakers of his divinity who deigned to become partakers of our humanity.’”[25] “In these and a multitude of patristic texts the essential point is just this, that God, who is essentially supernatural perfects with a perfection beyond creaturely comprehension. Nevertheless, supernature elevates human creatures to a true participation in divine life an indwelling of God in man and man in God.”[26] The important point here is that human nature is being raised to the higher level of divine. We can see this manifests itself through the experience commonly known as “mystical.” That I will take up shortly, First, let’s turn to Scheeben to document further the nature of the supernatural. Supernatural is the power of God to raise us to this higher level.

The Trace of God, by Joseph Hinman, on Amazon. The 200 studies in this book prove that Mystical experience is real, this article just proved that the original concept of SN is mystical experiemce. Therefore, SN is real.


[17] Matthias Joseph Scheeben, Nature and Grace, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009 (paperback) originally unpublished 1856.

[18] Bruce D. Marshall. “Renewing Dogmatic theology: Mathias Joseph Scheeben Teaches Us the Virtues Theologians Need.” First Things. May 2012. On line version: accessed 11/8/2013 Bruce D. Marshall is professor of Christian doctrine at Perkins School of Theology.(c) 2012 Institute of Religion and Public Life

[19] Editor’s introduction to Eugene R. Fairweather, “Christianity and the Supernatural,” op.cit.

[20] Ibid, Fairweather,.237.


[22] Ibid.

[23 ]Fairweather, ibid (239).

[24] ibid

[25] Fairweather quoting Leonine prayer, ibid.

[26] Ibid

Here Fairweather seemsto contradict Saler who says there is no term in the writings of the so called “church fathers” that could be translated as “supernatural” until Cyril and Dionysius, here Fairweather says the Patristic texts God is suernatural. He is back reading the term based up the concept. The term isn't really used by his pre Crylian examples.