RE: Kline article in PSCF

jeffery lynn mullins (
Mon, 1 Apr 1996 14:06:55 -0500 (EST)


On Mon, 1 Apr 1996, Peter Vibert wrote:

> I'm looking forward to reading Jack Collins' article...
> meanwhile...
> on 3/23/96, Jack wrote:
> >Professor Kline's view is explicitly non- (or even anti-) concordist, at
> >least for Gen 1 (I think his last footnote makes it clear that his
> >position is more concordist for Gen 2-3). My own conclusions, though they
> >could perhaps be construed in a non-concordist (e.g. complementarian) way,
> >lend themselves more >to a mildly concordist mode.
> I continue to think about the 'right' mode. I mentioned earlier that I had
> used with young people John Wiester's "The Genesis Connection", which is
> strongly concordist. His main conclusions are that:
> 1. "the order of events in Gn 1 and the scientific record are in
> substantially the same sequence"
> 2. "all major explosive adaptive radiations correlate with scripture's
> creation commands"
> 3. " each creation command in Gn correlates with a scientific puzzle or gap".
> While point 1. is debatable, and 2. may be overstated, I have felt for a
> long time that point 3. is a fair description of where we are today in
> science, and have been for a long time despite eg. the past 40 years of
> 'origin of life' studies or findings from paleo-anthropology. I
> occasionally tell HS students that it's worth remembering that among the
> best people in the field of 'abiogenesis', there is no longer any consensus
> that *"even in principle"* can the (earthly) 'origin of life' be claimed to
> be understood (no matter what HS textbooks may say).
> To say this of course means stepping onto that infamous slippery slope,
> the "God of the gaps" approach... Although this view is in one sense
> philosophically disastrous (if it is taken to mean that God is not
> constantly "upholding the universe by His word of power..."), what if it's
> true in the sense that God did something very "unusual" at certain points
> during the history of the universe?? Is is ok to be (as Jack calls it)
> "mildly concordist"?? Is this a position that is 'faithful to science and
> Scripture', even if it's philosophically vulnerable??
> Peter
I don't see anything either philosophically or theologically vulnerable about
God being able to interact in special or miraculous ways with the
creation. God certainly did something very unusual during the history of
the universe when he incarnatated as a man in the person of Jesus. Jesus
certainly broke natural law when he turned water to wine and raised a
body that had been dead and decaying for 3 days from the dead. I don't
see how this is any different from interjecting in nature to create new
life forms scientifically or philosophically; theologically, the miracles of
Jesus being signs to point to his divine nature might place them in a
different theological category, unless God wanted the origin of life to
be a physical impossibility and thus use it to point to himself once man
achieved enought scientific knowledge to be able to examine it.

The position that I think is dangerous philosophically is just the
reverse: that God cannot interject into the natural order and that
natural law cannot be violated. I am uneasy about talk of a "seemless
web" of natural law in science that cannot involve God in any way other
than in secondary causation. I see no problem with having God have
providential oversight and secondary causation and also having the
ability to interject via primary causation whenever he wants to.

As for the "God of the Gaps" concept, perhaps there are some things that
are in principle impossible for science ever to do, that God has to be the
direct agent of if it is to be done. I think that it probably is
impossible for natural processes to revive a 3 day old decaying corpse or
turn water to wine without some intellect behind the process. It may be
impossible to get life from non-life or complexity in life, or diversity
in life via purely natural processes without direct intelligent input of
a supernatural kind as well.