Re: phil johnson and charles hodge

David H Eby (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 08:59:25 PST

Ted David writes:

> Where I get off the ship is with Phil's apparent (stated somewhere?) views
> on the role of chance as a creative process under divine sovereignty.
> Forget biology, let's talk about physics. It certainly looks like quantum
> theory is true and, if it is, then God really does appear to play dice with
> the universe. Granted, one could interpret this in more than one way, but
> it seems difficult to me that one could interpret this in a way that denies
> entirely the role of stochastic processes in the creation. Quantum events
> have "real world" consequences -- i.e, we can observe things that have no
> "causes" in the mechanistic sense (recall "formal" causes, as Aristotle
> would have put it, meaning that the quantum equations function as formal
> causes but not as efficient ones).

I'm a lurker who just joined the list a few weeks ago and have been following
the discussion with much interest. I was raised YEC (and the church I am
currently attending is also YEC), but rejected it long ago, without much to
replace it with other than TE.

Ted raises an interesting point in the above comments. Quantum theory has
never looked to me like "God playing dice with the universe". On the
contrary, it is the only way I am aware of for God to have an active role in
managing his creation without violating its physical laws in the process. I'm
not saying that God can't bend some law of physics temporarily to effect his
purpose, but if this were common place, we'd need some way to factor this into
scientific experiments ("let's see, God intervenes in this particular process
0.0001% of the time, so we can reject these anomalous data points on that

I found it interesting that Hawking, in "A Brief History of Time", put forward
the hypothesis that God was the determining factor behind the results of all of
the quantum events, but he rejected that hypothesis on the basis that he didn't
see any patterns in the events that would indicate that level of control.
Perhaps those patterns have shown themselves in the development of life, as
subtle nudges in the right direction as needed.

Referring to the formal "causes", the quantum events need no formal causes from
within the limits of our universe to be under God's control, since God exists
and operates outside those limits, but can reach in and manipulate undetected.

David Eby
Electrical Engineer
Tektronix, Inc
Beaverton, OR