Keep The Reason wrote:MH wrote:I've said I'm not committed to the idea of supernatural intervention in the sense of events happening that have no possible natural explanation
If they have a natural explanation, then a supernatural explanation is unnecessary. If the explanation is supernatural, then no natural explanation is possible.
Seriously, do these words "natural" and "supernatural" have any meaning to you at all?
I think they have several different meanings which I am trying hard not to conflate. So.
1. Supernatural as belief that nature is not all there is. What this means depends a lot on what we think nature is. Is it just matter/energy and whatever other properties emerge from that or can it include noetic aspects like numbers conceived as distinct extants, platonic forms, propositions, Jungian archetypes, morphic fields etc. etc. Are human minds part of nature or in some sense supernatural? Would ghosts be supernatural or could they be a part of nature we don't yet know about? (stone tapes?)
2. Supernatural as the belief that beings who are part of nature such as God can in some way causally interact with nature in order to produce results that have no natural explanation. If this happened what we would generally expect to happen is that we would find otherwise inexplicable gaps in the causal sequence. We would always have the problem that such events might have a natural cause we did not know about so we could not be sure in any case that a supernatural event could had happened.
However it is also possible that a supernatural being could causally interact with nature in a way that did not leave such gaps. For example there is a story in the Bible where Jesus tells his disciples to go and catch a fish and they will find in its mouth a coin to pay their taxes and they do. But we know that there were types of fish in that part of the world that did sometimes swallow coins. So here is a miracle (in the sense of surprising thing) where the disciples see God as intervening but there is no gap in the causal sequence of the natural world. The virgin birth is explicable as a miracle of this kind and it is conceivable that if we knew more about the workings of nature all miracles would turn out to be of this kind. They would be attention grabbers but not supernatural events.
Hence while I am a supernaturalist according to sense 1 I am agnostic with regard to sense 2. I hope that makes sense.
The concept of the supernatural cannot be found in the Bible it is very much a modern idea though I think it grows out of the late medieval idea of nature and grace which has its roots in Hellenistic dualism.