bionic eyed sheep
Bionic-eyed sheep (photo credit: Heather McCallum)

Dunans, Flodigarry
Part of Dunans township, Flodigarry, Skye (Photo credit: Heather McCallum)

The following are snippets from the Diary for the period 25th December last year to the 10th January with a longer piece I wrote on the 14th January. I wrote longer pieces which are far too long and involved for a blog. One was a long poem about our experiences. Perhaps they will see the light of day sometime, perhaps not. Over this period Margaret continued to get stronger and we were more or less back to normal. It was time for reflection on all that happened, hence the longer entry below for the 14th January. I mention Alvin Platinga, who has been called by Time Magazine ‘America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God’.

Thursday 10th January 2013

Today Margaret got word from the hospital. She is to see the surgeon who did the operation . She might find out then whether she will require further chemotherapy. We had lots of visitors over the last week. Margaret got her blood test result yesterday. It was fine; it showed she wasn’t anaemic.

Monday 14th January 2013

Another letter from the hospital. Margaret has to see the oncologist this coming Friday. She will find out then what further treatment, if any, she will need.

Platinga on evolution and miracles

I’m reading a book just now by Alvin Platinga titled Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism. He finds only superficial conflict between science and religion. For example, when it comes to evolution he sees no conflict except when it comes to unguided evolution. There is no reason why God can’t use evolution or any other means he wishes to create spiritual beings who can be in relationship with him. He has also interesting chapters on miracles. He notes that many modern-day theologians reject any form of supernatural intervention. This he thinks reflects a reaction to Newtonian and Laplacean science. The latter is a closed system of cause and effect and everything can be explained from within the system. Fair enough, but what is there to prevent something from outwith the system, for example, God, the creator of the system from effecting a change in the system.

Evidence that the ‘system’ isn’t a closed one

Plantinga’s arguments were particularly interesting for me because of what has happened to us. I can say, hand on heart: ‘I know that the system of cause and effect is not closed. I know that the so-called ‘laws of nature’ can be broken, because I have seen it with my own eyes.’ I reflect continually on this: that it should have happened to me, a person who put the question so many times. I also wrote about the regularity and consistency of the world and how everything followed an inevitable pattern. I had said in the poem ‘Sùil air Ais/Looking Back’, written when I was forty: ‘What I wanted was a trumpet, a fire,/which would prove there was something intelligent/beyond the veil./The world/or God (whatever kind of being it is)/doesn’t work like that. Nothing but silence – /and a feeling that cannot be expressed/that there are things that want to speak,/and that do, and do not quite reach us/because they don’t speak our language.’

An answer came repeatedly

How extraordinary that the answer has come – repeatedly – to someone who has put these very questions. I can honestly say that what has happened has completely changed my life. As I’ve said before, it isn’t just that any old thing has fallen. I created a table ‘shrine’ in the hall as a mark that something sacred had happened to us a few years ago. The framed Turin Shroud representation of Jesus, which was on the table, fell three times – on the 28th May, 5th July and 13th October, as I’ve recounted already. All I can do is reflect on these things with awe and total amazement. Liberal ‘modern’ theologians will reject such happenings as impossible. Others might reject them as works of the Devil! Is the witness of the Holy Spirit in the heart and soul not much more important than such nonsense? And of course the witness of the Holy Spirit is important …

Should we ignore what happened?

But should we ignore what has happened to us as being of no importance at all! I don’t believe we can or should. The spread of the Gospel in the early church was accompanied by powerful signs and wonders. There is no reason to believe that the same cannot happen today. One thing I do know is that for me personally the trans-physical events that have happened to us have been hugely important. Why? Because, being such a sceptical person, I needed these events to make me truly believe.

Knowledge and science

Science, of course, doesn’t accept anecdotal evidence, only evidence which can be repeated. So much the worse for science. Nevertheless, many scientists will accept that there are areas of knowledge which fall out with its domain, such as knowledge of other minds, a priori intuition and the immediate knowledge involved in the I-thou relation. I think one day ‘mainstream’ science will also be forced to acknowledge that there are effects which can come from outwith the closed system of cause and effect.