The “supernatural,” as that term is traditionally used in theology, is that which is beyond the power of the natural order to produce on its own. Hence it can be produced only by what has causal power superior to that of anything in the natural order, namely the divine cause of the natural order. Insofar as the natural order depends on this supernatural cause, the supernatural is metaphysically prior to the natural. However, the natural is epistemologically prior to the supernatural, insofar as we cannot form a conception of the supernatural except by contrast with the natural, and cannot know whether there is such a thing as the supernatural unless we can reason to its existence from the existence of the natural order. A proper understanding of the supernatural thus presupposes a proper understanding of the natural order and of the causal relation between that order and its cause. This chapter offers an account of these matters and of their implications for theological issues concerning causal arguments for God’s existence, divine conservation and concurrence, miracles, nature and grace, faith and reason, and the notion of a theological mystery (viz. what is beyond the power of the intellect to discover on its own).
Each of the editors contributes an article to the volume. The other contributors are John Marenbon, David Oderberg, Stephen Boulter, Timothy O’Connor, Janice Chik, Daniel De Haan, Antonio Ramos-Diaz, Christopher Hauser, Travis Dumsday, Ross Inman, Anne Peterson, Alexander Pruss, Simon Kopf, and Anna Marmodoro. The essays cover a wide variety of topics, including quantum mechanics, evolution, the hierarchy of being, free will, non-human animals, logic and mathematics, life after death, angels, hylomorphism, and much else. More information is available at Cambridge University's Faculty of Divinity website, and at the Routledge website, where you’ll see that a couple of the chapters are available via Open Access, and that the volume is available in an affordable eBook edition.