Friday, March 26, 2021

Nature and Supernature

From David Schindler, I learned that "matter" and "form" are both relative terms. Now from Peter Kreeft, I learn that "natural" and "supernatural" are also relative terms:

The life of a human being, body and soul, material and spiritual, visible and invisible, is natural life, life that is natural to us. The word for natural life in Greek is bios. Zōē, in contrast, means supernatural life, more-than-natural life. Since different kinds of things have different natures, what is natural or supernatural is relative. Life is supernatural to rocks but natural to plants; sensation is supernatural to plants but natural to animals; reason is supernatural to animals but natural to us; God is supernatural to everything else but natural to Himself. He has a nature: He is good, not evil or indifferent; wise, not foolish; living, not dead, etc. This does not make Him finite, because each of His attributes is infinite. But they are positive attributes. He has a nature, a character.

Peter Kreeft. "Three Philosophies of Life" in Doors in the Walls of the World: Signs of Transcendence in the Human Story (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2018), 7-25, at 20.

David L. Schindler, "The Problem of Mechanism" in Beyond Mechanism, ed. David L. Schindler (University Press of America, 1986), 1-12 at 3-4.