Re: Johnson's assumptions

Bill Hamilton (
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 16:03:35 -0500

I sent this earlier but it bounced from an unknown subscriber address and
it never showed up on the web page (nor do I believe I got a copy) My
apologies to anyone who got this twice.

At 9:08 AM 1/29/97, Paul Arveson wrote(I've rearranged what he said a bit):

> The point is that God doesn't need any kind of mechanical causes or
>explanations to work in history. God is simply -- by both transcendence
>and immanence -- sovereign over natural and human history and its outcomes.
>This is by virtue of God's eternal decree and providence. This is a
>'mystery' of the faith -- John 3:8.

This is where I believe many Christians fail epistemologically -- and their
churches fail them. Too many people seem to believe that certain
scientific discoveries, if true, would rule out God's sovereignty. This
gives too much credence to the power and finality of the means we have
available of gathering facts and interpreting them to produce knowledge.
It seems to me that the very first thing any Christian ought to do, when a
reported scientific discovery seems to contradict his mental model of how
God works in nature, is take a deep breath, pray and acknowledge that God
is sovereign. His understanding of precisely _how_ God governs may be
about to be ashcanned, but _God_ is _sovereign_. The very idea that any
human discovery could show that the sovereign God, who teaches that His
ways are higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth, does
not exist or is not sovereign puts inordinate confidence in man's ability
to gather knowledge of the spiritual. Next he should be willing to study
the new knowledge in the light of his convictions, expecting that someday
this new knowledge, if correct, will fit into a better model of nature that
will cause believers to give glory to God from a firmer understanding of

>1. EVEN IF we do not observe any evidence of gaps in the record of natural
>history, God could still be completely sovereign over its outcomes.

I would change "could be" to "is"
>2. EVEN IF there were no evidence of 'intelligent design' in the universe
>(whatever that may mean), God could still be completely sovereign over
I would change "could be" to "is".
>3. EVEN IF there were no 'stochastic processes' of quantum mechanics,
>God could still be completely sovereign over its outcomes.

Much as I'm intrigued by these ideas, I would still change "could be" to "is".
>4. EVEN IF we discover that the Big Bang was not a singularity at the
>beginning, God could still be the sovereign Creator of all things.

I would change "could be" to "is".
>5. EVEN IF people who believe in God are not rewarded in this life, even
>though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Thanks, Paul

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr, Ph.D. | Staff Research Engineer
Chassis and Vehicle Systems | General Motors R&D Center | Warren, MI
810 986 1474 (voice) | 810 986 3003 (FAX) | (home email)