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Naturalism, Nature and Supernature is a fascinating study. I'm attempting to articulate from the mind and the writing of CS Lewis, as he made the contrast between nature and supernature in order to make the argument for the reality of miracles..........
Miracles are basically an interference with nature, by supernatural (supernature) power. In addition to nature, unless there is the existence of something else, which is referred to as the supernatural: there can be no miracles. And since all we know in the natural is nature, without the supernature, what would be the point of something supernatural?
Naturalism is not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of miracles. But that is the perspective from which CS Lewis approaches the subject, which provides for a more complete and a more relatable understanding.
Nature is extremely interesting when taking a deeper in depth look into it. On the one hand, it's the entire universe and everything that we can see. On the other hand, it encompasses natural actions. Though natural, they can be considered appropriate or inappropriate. Vegetation and plant life that flourishes without the intervention of man, or a natural state or the behavior that would be exhibited if the proper care is not given, or if there is nothing to alter the behavior if deemed nesscesary. In other words, nature is also what happens in and of itself. It's what will happen when left to itself, and appropriate and beneficial measures may or may not need to be taken.
But, there is.... something outside of and beyond nature. There are events and elements that feed into nature--supernature. Interestingly, CS Lewis wrote is his book "Miracles", "Since I am presented with colors, sounds, shapes, pleasures and pains, which I cannot perfectly predict or control, and since the more I investigate them the more regular their behavior appears, therefore there must exist something other than myself and it must be systematic." From these things we make inferences, but true knowledge depends on the validity of our reasoning. If our human reasoning is merely a feeling not based on genuine insight into realities beyond it, the knowledge we have is not real--our human insight must be valid.
We attribute our reasoning of the supernatural to God. Understanding that what exists on its own, existenced from all eternity. If something else could bring it into existence, it can't be that it exists on its own, because it was brought into existence by something else. It also must not cease to exist, because if it does, it cannot recall itself into existence again; and if anything can recall it into existence again, that would make it a depend.
Naturalism refers to the idea that only nature exists..... And that it exists as a whole interlocked-dependent system of events that react according to the characteristics and boundaries of the total system, and that everything is explicable. It works on the probability that the whole system being integrated, at a particular place in time and space, is likely to take a certain course. But, a departure from naturalism takes place when something occurs that is not interlocked within the system, and is an event of its own. The occurrence is not a part of nature; it's something other than nature as we know it. Within the concept of naturalism; there's no other reality outside of nature and no means for something outside it to encounter it, or interrupt the system.
God can bring two natures together and allow selected events in one to produce results in the other, and that divine act which caused the events; that contact--interruption of the normal system is what is identified as a miracle. If we go beyond naturalism as our perspective and understand that nature is not the only thing there is; and the fact that it is subject to an encounter with the supernatural at any given time: is a reality. However, that's God's decision. He's the creator who exists within and outside of nature. When the supernature transcendences nature it takes beyond naturalism, (the interlocked system that exists in time and space), and nature interestingly, responds to the eternal, self-existent and rational being acting upon it--God.
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Posted: March 22nd, 2010
Resource: Miracles, by CS Lewis