NIODA understands God to work within natural processes while still making space for miracles, prayer, and special providence.
What is the Theology?
Christians’ commitment to a God who acts in the world is often a stumbling block to those who desire to reconcile science and Christianity. NIODA provides a way to understand God’s work in the world while simultaneously exercising a strong commitment to science. It can be a tool to dialogue with the scientific world while simultaneously recognizing God’s work in the world. In sermons, pastors might integrate NIODA into a sermon on God’s creating or sustaining roles in the world, using the creation narratives in Genesis 1:1-2:4 or Genesis 2:4-3:24, or Psalm 33. They can also look anew at prayer, miracles, and special providence and help congregations see a new way to understand divine action that bypasses the liberal-conservative divide.
What to Consider
- What terms and concepts have you and/or your tradition used to understand the ways God works in the world?
- How do you view the relationship between science and Christianity? (Check out this post to see the different ways of understanding this relationship)
- What is the role of prayer in divine intervention?
How to go Deeper
- Hold a healing service. Depending on your tradition, you might try introducing the time of healing with a story of Jesus healing (such as this one in Mark 10:46-52) and a synopsis of NIODA.
- Read Matthew 9:1-8 and Proverbs 8:22-36 and compare the different ways that God acts in both of these passages. Connect these passages to modern day miracles and different ways of discussing divine intervention. Talk about the different ways that God works in our lives and in all of creation as the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
- Preach a series or teach a class on prayer. Use NIODA (as well as the other ways this article understands God to work) to show how prayer might transform both those who pray as well as the people and things that are being prayed for.
Cosmology: From Alpha to Omega by Robert John Russell
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