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WHI-1172 | The God of the Ordinary

Posted by on in 2013 Show Archive
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There seems to be a false choice today in many quarters between a secular naturalism and hyper-supernaturalism. Conceived this way, either nothing is miraculous, or everything is. But in either case, God's ordinary providence gets sidelined and ignored. That's what's on tap for this program as we begin to wrap up our month-long series, Ordinary.There seems to be a false choice today in many quarters between a secular naturalism and hyper-supernaturalism. Conceived this way, either nothing is miraculous, or everything is. But in either case, God's ordinary providence gets sidelined and ignored. That's what's on tap for this program as we begin to wrap up our month-long series, Ordinary.


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  • I find confusing your definition of "natural," as in someway different from your definition of "ordinary." In other words Providence should include both natural and ordinary. God is the God of nature as well as the God of specific grace; Augustine's the difference between the City of God and the City of Man. Perhaps that City of Man rather than natural should be better defined as secular, profane, earthly and worldly.

    The creation account contains both ex nihilo creation, but more so, the provision of "Providential Information Science" or the natural law(s) that makes it all work. The seeds to grow when it rains and the sun shines and photosynthesis takes place and it become food for the diversity of critters.

    Secular, worldly, atheistic evolution is really a leap of faith into a "universe of irrationality" because to acknowledge the true complexity of nature, forces one to either acknowledge a Deity, create deity out of stuff, or flee into the shallows of secular atheistic humanism. There you can never ask the question, for there is no answer, "Why am I here and what am I to do with my life." In that universe the only action items are eat, drink, consume, attempt to show a happy face, pontificate and evangelize how smart you are, before you die and become worm food.

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  • I think one of the reasons for people who try to supernaturalize the ordinary is that they are seeking to prove their own state of being special by extension. So if what happened to them is special, then they are special.

    BTW, we can also see a variation of the supernaturalizing everything by the news industry as it magnifies the events that happen to the audiences.

    Finally, the points made on the show were good. However, I still don't think of childbirth being ordinary after I saw what the wife went through to give birth to our two children. Childbirth may not be miraculous but it is extraordinary.

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Curt Day,

    To your last paragraph, I'm finding it helpful to evaluate the hosts' several usages of "ordinary" in context; the bulk of these, including your example, use its technical sense found in WCF V.3 "God in his ordinary providence maketh use of means", which conveys the opposite of direct, miraculous intervention. This sense of "ordinary" communicates the reality that God created in such a way that the creation itself ordinarily perfectly carries out his determinate counsel apart from intervention on his part.

    In this technical sense, nearly all that most of us experience, including first birth but excluding second birth, is "ordinary".

    The semantic difficulty arises in our mundane usage of "ordinary" as a middle range on a continuum of values: in that sense, nothing that bears any faint echo of the once "all very good" creation can be thought of as "ordinary".

    That would of course include childbirth: "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made"; Psalm 104, the Lord's response to Job, and many other passages make it abundantly clear that the entirety of creation was incomprehensibly perfect in its calling to magnify the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness and mercy.

    So while I am continually blown away--and should be led to worship our Lord who upholds them all by the word of his power--by the hitherto-unguessed complexities revealed from astronomical to microbiological levels, and by the fact that you and I, two immortal souls, are able to transmit truth to each other via neural impulses to hands, contraction of finger muscles, closing of circuits, encoding, encrypting, transmitting, routing, decrypting, decoding of packets of electrons, glowing of pixels, emission of photons through lenses onto retinas, and conversion back into neural impulses... such knowledge is truly too wonderful for me, I cannot attain to it--but compared to their Creator and Lord, they will wear out like a garment, and in that sense, remain "ordinary".

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  • Paul,
    What I regard as extraordinary is determined by the degree of astonishment that thing causes. So while you regard an event or act that commonly occurs as ordinary, not all such events or acts provoke the same personal reaction and with good reason. Thus there are some ordinary, as you would use the word, events that stand above other ordinary events. And I call the ordinary events that cause more amazement extraordinary. And I would be dishonoring the wife for all that she went through if I didn't describe what she had to do when giving normal childbirth as extraordinary.

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  • Guest - Paul Swift

    Curt Day,

    No disagreement intended on my part; yours is clearly the most frequent (ordinary?) usage of the term. I was merely illustrating the fact that the word can be legitimately used in such varying senses as to validate both of the propositions "everything in life is ordinary" and "nothing in life is ordinary" depending on context; it was of course understood that the comparative sense is widely used as well.

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