Does God “Intervene?”

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism by Alvin Plantinga has been in my Amazon queue and on order since I first learned of it. Well, it finally arrived and there is so much packed into this volume. It’s not an easy read but is accessible to most and has the usual Plantinga flare of being whimsical at times.

Among the many things I’m learning, one question is raised that really got me thinking. In what sense can it be said that God, the creator and sustainer all that exists, “intervenes” in the universe? On challenging the notion of “intervention,” Plantinga notes:

The suggestion is that God would display a sort of arbitrary inconsistency if he sometimes acted contrary to the regularities he has established for his world. But is this really true? There would be arbitrariness and inconsistency only if God had no special reason for acting contrary to the usual regularities; but of course he might very well have such reasons (p 106, emphasis mine).

You can listen to lectures cosponsored with Biola’s graduate and undergraduate philosophy departments and Talbot’s Philosophical Society delivered by Plantinga in May, 2011.

6 thoughts on “Does God “Intervene?””

  1. Thanks for commenting on this book. My copy arrived in the mail yesterday and I’m looking forward to getting into it. It was on my wishlist the second I read the preface on Amazon (and was salivating over it).

    He certainly pulls no punches concerning Neo-Atheists. In the preface he writes, “They propose to deal with their opponents not by way of reasoned argument and discussion, but by way of ridicule and “naked contempt”. Why they chose this route is not wholly clear. One possibility, of course, is that their atheism is adolescent rebellion carried on by other means. Another (consistent with the first) is that they know of no good reasons or arguments for their views, and hence resort to schoolyard tactics. In terms of intellectual competence, the new atheists are certainly inferior to the “old atheists” … We may perhaps hope that the new atheists are but a temporary blemish on the face of serious conversation in this crucial area.”

    Ouch!

    Anyhow, looks like an excellent read.

    1. Hey Carl thanks for reading/commenting.
      Though not a beginning read it is well worth the time and effort. There is so much here and I feel smarter after finishing every page!
      Yea … that quote you added was harsh (though not off target by any stretch). I would say this is as harsh as it gets. Plantinga deals squarely with the new Atheists on dignified, civil, and logical terms but never engages in ad homonym attacks. He’s not only the Christian’s scholar but the gentleman’s scholar. May his tribe only increase!

      Let me know if you review or comment on your blog regarding.

      Cheers!

      1. Sadly, I will not get a chance to read his book for a while as I’m embroiled in divorce and remarriage in the bible, which I hope to be posting on soon. Too much to read, too little time.

          1. Thank you for directing me to this. When I get there, I’ll take time to go through your posts (and the comments – holy comments Batman!) and I’ll probably purchase the book. I currently have Instone-Brewer’s and Keener’s so thank you for alerting me to this one. At this point, I think I may be reaching some slightly different conclusions about the text than your posts but with essentially the same results.

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