Miracles and the natural/supernatural distinction

Started by peter_speckhard, April 03, 2024, 05:58:25 PM

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Charles Austin

#180
Pastor Preus:
I don't think a Lutheran can be a fundamentalist.  This constricts the essentials of the faith so as to exclude the sacraments from them.  And, I can't be a literalist, because that would require me to reject the clear Scriptures that require that we interpret Old Testament promises to Israel as being spoken to the Church.  Literalists fall into various millennial errors that I as a Lutheran am bound to reject.
Me:
That made me laugh, as I realized that you would find that anyone outside your narrow circle must be excluded as wrong on at least one point.
We use the word in various ways, and if you believe the Genesis creation story is "history," you are, sir, a literalist. "Millennial errors"? O! No! Not that!
I'm done, I think. Would love to see you tussle with fellow Missourians on this, but we know that's not going to happen, for either you aren't important enough to them or they fear you may have some clout with the people who have the dogs.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

John Mundinger

Quote from: Dan Fienen on April 17, 2024, 02:55:10 PM
Quote from: John Mundinger on April 17, 2024, 02:37:15 PM
Quote from: Dan Fienen on April 17, 2024, 02:11:14 PMI would also suggest that in critically examining the national origin stories we should be careful not to simply create competing myths. The myths about our noble founding fathers and greatness of America as an ideal nation are false in significant ways and to live as Americans as though those myths were accurate history distorts our view of the reality of America and what we as Americans need to do. Those myths need to be debunked. But, to simply replace those myths with counter myths that say that there is nothing good about the founding of America and what we are today is to replace one distortion with another and to use that distortion as a basis for how we regard America and what we should do as Americans is wrong.

I have not seen evidence to suggest that those who have credibly challenged the American founding myth have dismissed our founding as "nothing good".  Nor have they offered an alternative distorted myth.  Rather, they have challenged the country to live up the ideal embedded in the traditional founding myth.


Are you familiar at all with Project 1619?

Yes. 

Are you familiar with all of the lies that we have told ourselves about slavery vis a vis our founding?
What would our economy look like if slavery and the slave trade been integral with its foundation?
How do you explain that fact that descendants of slave owners are disproportionately represented among wealthier Americans while descendants of slaves are disproportionately represented among our nation's poorest?
How do you rationalize the fact that slavery persisted in this country for almost a century after the end of the Civil War?
How do you rationalize events like the Tulsa massacre?
How do you explain efforts to undo the civil rights legislation passed in the 1960's?
etc. etc. etc.?
 
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

John Mundinger

Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

SomeoneWrites

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMNo, you're wrong.  The Bible does not contain myths.  You were wrong the first time you said it did, every subsequent time, and yes, you will be wrong the next time you say it.  The Bible does not contain myths.

I appreciate your convictions, but no matter how strong they are, they remain your convictions.  We can demonstrate our common ancestry with other primates, and we can demonstrate that the Earth has gone without a period of global flooding.  We can demonstrate that the ancient near east did have a sizable flood in a time that would be appropriate for those narratives.  It's neat how it all plays out. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMWe know that the Bible does not contain myths because the Bible is God's written Word. 
These ideas don't follow.  You have not established or demonstrated your position.

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMThe written Word points us to the incarnate Word.
Nothing I've stated is in conflict with this.  Moreover, one is a collection of narratives, myths, poetry, prose, hymns, etc.  And one is a person. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMThe historicity of God creating man in his image points forward to the historicity of the incarnation of God.
No. The narrative points to the incarnation of God.  That's all it has to do.  It has to communicate an idea, and the completed idea for Christians is found in the Gospel.  It does so regardless. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMWe are made in God's image.  Jesus Christ is God's image. 
I'm not disputing this.  This still happens regardless of the historicity of Genesis. It still works with if God is the creator, regardless of process.  you can cut paper with scissors or a knife or with miracles.  All God has to do is communicate in his written word that important ideas for people to understand.  He can also continue to reveal what He does.

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMBut the latter cannot be true unless the former is true.  There could not have been the incarnation absent God creating man in his own image in the beginning as Moses teaches us.
These are your assertions.  These are your articles of faith.  They do not necessarily follow.  God can do what he wants. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMMythical writings arise from the people.  Now the Bible is written by men and often reflects the struggles, anxieties, and fears of men.  In the Psalms in particular, we have the exchange between the psalmist and God taking place before our eyes. 
No dispute here.  Humans have had a hand in writing the Bible. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMBut the Bible is always God's Word.  If it says something happened that the reader finds hard to believe really happened because it is at odds with what "science" (that is, whoever speaks for "science") says, he may not ascribe to the Bible an attribute that belongs to heathen writings.  Myths don't belong to the Bible.  Traditions?  Creeds?  Liturgies, hymns, and other forms of worship?  Of course.  But no myths.

God can use myths.  God can use bad people to do good things.  God can use whatever and whomever he wants.  You don't have to believe it.  But you still have the tools to see what's happened.  You are convinced that what you believe is how it works.  But you haven't demonstrated anything. 

My apologies to Pr. Austin - I see and hear your confession of faith as well.  You get it.  It (your confession) still has the Gospel and the Bible as the Word of God.  Zero conflict.  Most of my Christian friends fall into that category.    But like I've said elsewhere, it's not a choice.  I was able to be convinced.  It is possible for others. 
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Dan Fienen on April 17, 2024, 05:15:42 PMEven such relatively recent events like the January 6 riots, the 2020 or 2016 presidential elections, or the assassination of JFK, with all the witnesses and evidence available there is no single agreed upon narrative that is so proven that everyone accepts it. History cannot be proven. What we do is assemble evidence and decide what we consider the most likely, reasonable, or believable narrative. I can state with near 100% confidence and accuracy that for every historical narrative of any event further back in time than about 10 minutes, someone will believe an alternate narrative. That is just the nature of history.

Which suggests that getting a clear, accurate account of what really happened historically becomes nearly impossible. Even eye-witnesses of the same event can report different details.

QuoteI don't know how much you know about extra-Biblical evidence for Jesus or other Biblical events and personages, but I suspect that there is more than you give credit for. Since you seem quite uninterested in Biblical history, perhaps you are relying on what is generally known and reported, especially from the state of knowledge and "scholarly consensus" years or even decades old. More is being discovered all the time. Scholars are as prone to fads and easy assumptions, especially when outside of their narrow fields of specialization, as the rest of us. It's been faddish among scholars for over a hundred years to downplay Biblical history, even to denying that Bible and history should be used in the same paragraphs. Also, adherence to the current intellectual orthodoxy is part of the price of admission to the ranks of reputable scholarship.

From what I know, Josephus and Tacitus are 1st century writers who mention Jesus.

QuoteIn short, Jesus was and is much more than just an historical figure, but He is also not less than an historical figure. For my faith, a large part of His significance for my life comes from Jesus being an historical figure who did and accomplished great things for me in the history from which I arose. He would have far less significance for me if I were to conclude that He actually did nothing for me because He did not exist or was not at all what I believe Him to have been. Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter are inspiring characters and my life has been enriched by having them in it. They have taught me much and inspire me. But Jesus did not just teach me much and inspire me significantly, He actually did much for me. And that makes all the difference.
For Lutherans, the "for me" aspect of Jesus' life, death, & resurrection is what constitutes faith. It is like the Jewish re-presenting the Exodus story as "our" story for this generation at every Passover.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 05:25:51 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on April 17, 2024, 04:45:07 PM
Quote from: RF on April 17, 2024, 04:38:22 PMI think Pastor Preus and I have drunk from the same rock that brought forth living water. I sure hope y'all receive some too. Thanks be to God for the gift of belief in His Word.
It might do you both some more good to just read the Bible. Note how many times a story is told to explain the name of something - a definition of myth.

Do myths contain historical errors?
Maybe, maybe not. The purpose of a myth is to explain something (at least according to the first definition). 
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

RDPreus

Quote from: SomeoneWrites on April 17, 2024, 06:49:19 PM
Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMNo, you're wrong.  The Bible does not contain myths.  You were wrong the first time you said it did, every subsequent time, and yes, you will be wrong the next time you say it.  The Bible does not contain myths.

I appreciate your convictions, but no matter how strong they are, they remain your convictions.  We can demonstrate our common ancestry with other primates, and we can demonstrate that the Earth has gone without a period of global flooding.  We can demonstrate that the ancient near east did have a sizable flood in a time that would be appropriate for those narratives.  It's neat how it all plays out. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMWe know that the Bible does not contain myths because the Bible is God's written Word. 
These ideas don't follow.  You have not established or demonstrated your position.

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMThe written Word points us to the incarnate Word.
Nothing I've stated is in conflict with this.  Moreover, one is a collection of narratives, myths, poetry, prose, hymns, etc.  And one is a person. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMThe historicity of God creating man in his image points forward to the historicity of the incarnation of God.
No. The narrative points to the incarnation of God.  That's all it has to do.  It has to communicate an idea, and the completed idea for Christians is found in the Gospel.  It does so regardless. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMWe are made in God's image.  Jesus Christ is God's image. 
I'm not disputing this.  This still happens regardless of the historicity of Genesis. It still works with if God is the creator, regardless of process.  you can cut paper with scissors or a knife or with miracles.  All God has to do is communicate in his written word that important ideas for people to understand.  He can also continue to reveal what He does.

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMBut the latter cannot be true unless the former is true.  There could not have been the incarnation absent God creating man in his own image in the beginning as Moses teaches us.
These are your assertions.  These are your articles of faith.  They do not necessarily follow.  God can do what he wants. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMMythical writings arise from the people.  Now the Bible is written by men and often reflects the struggles, anxieties, and fears of men.  In the Psalms in particular, we have the exchange between the psalmist and God taking place before our eyes. 
No dispute here.  Humans have had a hand in writing the Bible. 

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 04:30:40 PMBut the Bible is always God's Word.  If it says something happened that the reader finds hard to believe really happened because it is at odds with what "science" (that is, whoever speaks for "science") says, he may not ascribe to the Bible an attribute that belongs to heathen writings.  Myths don't belong to the Bible.  Traditions?  Creeds?  Liturgies, hymns, and other forms of worship?  Of course.  But no myths.

God can use myths.  God can use bad people to do good things.  God can use whatever and whomever he wants.  You don't have to believe it.  But you still have the tools to see what's happened.  You are convinced that what you believe is how it works.  But you haven't demonstrated anything. 

My apologies to Pr. Austin - I see and hear your confession of faith as well.  You get it.  It (your confession) still has the Gospel and the Bible as the Word of God.  Zero conflict.  Most of my Christian friends fall into that category.    But like I've said elsewhere, it's not a choice.  I was able to be convinced.  It is possible for others.


You surmise that God could have done it a way he didn't do it.  That's not how we do theology.  God could have done x, y, or z, and done it that way.  But that's not what the text says.  It's what you say.  It is your interpretation.  But it's not based on the text.  It's based on extra-textual considerations.  Now we may appeal to profane history to elucidate biblical history.  Sola Scriptura doesn't exclude that.  And we may appeal to how teachers of the faith have taught the Scriptures to support the correct interpretation of the same.  Sola Scriptura doesn't exclude that, either.  But to posit a mythical interpretation of the Bible requires an appeal to an extra-biblical norm that cannot be substantiated by Scripture.

SomeoneWrites

Quote from: RF on April 17, 2024, 04:38:22 PMI think Pastor Preus and I have drunk from the same rock that brought forth living water. I sure hope y'all receive some too. Thanks be to God for the gift of belief in His Word.

I thought I'd speak to this.  Myself and the only one other, to my knowledge, that has posted on this forum would be the only people not have the gift of belief in God's Word.  I'm actually glad you phase it as "the gift of belief" because it goes well with what I've posted recently.  Were that I were still in the faith, I wouldn't hope that they received some too - I would give thanks that they had. 
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

SomeoneWrites

Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 07:26:40 PMYou surmise that God could have done it a way he didn't do it.  That's not how we do theology.  God could have done x, y, or z, and done it that way.  But that's not what the text says.  It's what you say.  It is your interpretation.  But it's not based on the text.  It's based on extra-textual considerations.  Now we may appeal to profane history to elucidate biblical history.  Sola Scriptura doesn't exclude that.  And we may appeal to how teachers of the faith have taught the Scriptures to support the correct interpretation of the same.  Sola Scriptura doesn't exclude that, either.  But to posit a mythical interpretation of the Bible requires an appeal to an extra-biblical norm that cannot be substantiated by Scripture.

I would tell you that you're doing theology wrong.  You have your assertions, and the interpretation that comes from those assertions. 
The text has 2 creation narratives.  That alone should give one pause. 
The text doesn't have to say that something is a myth for it to be a myth.  We just have to know that Jesus used parables and Jesus appealed to people based on what they knew and what would make sense to them.  That's why we have the parable of the sower, and not the parable of the geneticist.

All the same, and this isn't me being snarky,
I'd suggest the rocks indeed do cry out, and they say the Earth is old, and there wasn't a global flood. rocks don't tell lies.   
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

peter_speckhard

Quote from: SomeoneWrites on April 17, 2024, 07:36:41 PM
Quote from: RDPreus on April 17, 2024, 07:26:40 PMYou surmise that God could have done it a way he didn't do it.  That's not how we do theology.  God could have done x, y, or z, and done it that way.  But that's not what the text says.  It's what you say.  It is your interpretation.  But it's not based on the text.  It's based on extra-textual considerations.  Now we may appeal to profane history to elucidate biblical history.  Sola Scriptura doesn't exclude that.  And we may appeal to how teachers of the faith have taught the Scriptures to support the correct interpretation of the same.  Sola Scriptura doesn't exclude that, either.  But to posit a mythical interpretation of the Bible requires an appeal to an extra-biblical norm that cannot be substantiated by Scripture.

I would tell you that you're doing theology wrong.  You have your assertions, and the interpretation that comes from those assertions. 
The text has 2 creation narratives.  That alone should give one pause. 
The text doesn't have to say that something is a myth for it to be a myth.  We just have to know that Jesus used parables and Jesus appealed to people based on what they knew and what would make sense to them.  That's why we have the parable of the sower, and not the parable of the geneticist.

All the same, and this isn't me being snarky,
I'd suggest the rocks indeed do cry out, and they say the Earth is old, and there wasn't a global flood. rocks don't tell lies.   

An atheist, by definition, is doing theology wrong.

Charles Austin

But not so wrong as someone who makes the words of scripture more important that the message of scripture. God did not dictate the words in the Bible to Moses or anyone else.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

SomeoneWrites

An atheist, by definition, is doing theology wrong.
[/quote]

Well that's demonstrably untrue as well. 
But I do think it would be disconcerting if an atheist was doing theology better than a theist. 
LCMS raised
LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
Atheist

RDPreus

Quote from: Charles Austin on April 17, 2024, 06:12:20 PMPastor Preus:
I don't think a Lutheran can be a fundamentalist.  This constricts the essentials of the faith so as to exclude the sacraments from them.  And, I can't be a literalist, because that would require me to reject the clear Scriptures that require that we interpret Old Testament promises to Israel as being spoken to the Church.  Literalists fall into various millennial errors that I as a Lutheran am bound to reject.
Me:
That made me laugh, as I realized that you would find that anyone outside your narrow circle must be excluded as wrong on at least one point.
We use the word in various ways, and if you believe the Genesis creation story is "history," you are, sir, a literalist. "Millennial errors"? O! No! Not that!
I'm done, I think. Would love to see you tussle with fellow Missourians on this, but we know that's not going to happen, for either you aren't important enough to them or they fear you may have some clout with the people who have the dogs.

You use words without understanding what they mean.  A Lutheran cannot be either a fundamentalist or a literalist for the simple reason he is a Lutheran.  Fundamentalism cannot be genuinely evangelical.  Without the sacramental word, neither the written word nor the oral word can remain centered in the gospel.  Chiliasm (especially dispensationalism) displaces the gospel by positing a Christless covenant that undercuts the gospel itself.  It is precisely because we Lutherans are evangelical that we cannot be fundamentalists or literalists.  If you want to argue with conservative Lutherans, you should at least learn what they really believe, and not ascribe to them positions they don't hold.  But trash-talking doesn't always accommodate such inconvenient things as accuracy and truth.  Concerning your personal attack about my alleged clout with "dogs" in the LCMS, I have none, want none, and want nothing to do with the Missouri Synod politics. 

JoshuaMc

In the midst of all this, I'd like to thank Pastor Preus for giving the me the incentive to go back to Luther's lectures on Genesis. I haven't read these in ages but I took some time this afternoon to dive back in. What a pleasure!

Peace,
Josh
Joshua McGuffie
"But if you're feeling sinister, go off and see a minister..." (1996)

peter_speckhard

Quote from: SomeoneWrites on April 17, 2024, 08:20:40 PMAn atheist, by definition, is doing theology wrong.

Well that's demonstrably untrue as well. 
But I do think it would be disconcerting if an atheist was doing theology better than a theist. 
[/quote]
Please demonstrate. Show in your scientific way how people who who not believe in God study God better than people who do believe in Him.

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