Re: The die (er, lot) is cast...

Chuck Noren (
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 08:11:46 -0500


Thanks for this interesting conversation. I am greatly enjoying this.

-----Original Message-----
From: Berger, Dan <>
>Let's remember (I realize that this is an evangelical group and I am a
>catholic...) that St. Paul spoke in terms of the science and philosophy he
>knew. While the philosophy is largely still valid, a lot of the science is
>not. St. Paul (and St. Augustine, not to mention Jean C) had no knowledge
>either macroscopic chaos (in the formal sense) or of quantum indeterminacy.
>brief, Polkinghorne's contention is that God created a universe with true
>indeterminacy built in, from the quantum level all the way up to human
>to do not only evil but things which make no sense even to the one doing

Let me express a concern with the view that St. Paul was wrong in his
particular statements about forknowledge and predestination. I think it
is one thing to state that Scripture expresses things, as Berard Ramm
would say, from a phenomenalogical point of view, such as the expression
that we use today, "the sun rises this morning", but it is quite another
to say that the recorded meaning and intent at that particular point in
Scripture is wrong. If Paul, in his attempt to encourage believers, got
this view wrong, what about the other areas he wrote, such as there is
therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? Could
not Paul, because of his framework he was in, be blinded to what the
real truth was? How do we evaluate which of his statements are true
and which are not?

>And epistemological inability to know the future means inability *even in
>principle.* The contention is that God can no more know the future (of
>He can plan better than the rest of us) than create a 4-sided triangle or
>the exact position and the exact momentum of a particular electron at the
>moment. In other words, Polkinghorne is taking quantum and chaotic
>indeterminacy seriously.

But is Polkinghorne correct to bring this quantum and chaotic indeterminacy
into the unseen spiritual world? Do we have any scientific means to
the properties of God the Father, the Holy Spirit, or the Son? Can we
analyze their
composition scienfically. I don't think so. If we cannot, how can
say that God is bound to those conditions? The only source I know of for
information would be what God specifically reveals to us through Scripture.

What are your thoughts?

>> So in your definition of freedom, there must be an element
>> of unpredictability, even to God.
>A comment: now I understand why Dorothy Sayers spent a number of pages in
>introduction to "The Mind of the Maker" railing against those who don't
>properly. In reference to her essay, "Creed or Chaos," she consistently
>"the Church says" this, "the Church believes" that. Invariably, reviewers
>talked about _her_ beliefs, which had in no wise entered into her
> The position I am explicating is John Polkinghorne's, to the best of my
>and ability. Whether it is mine in its entirety is something else again...
>though I certainly *like* it.

My apologies. I was attempting to see if you would own those ideas.
Again, my apologies.

Again, I find this a very stimulating discussion with you. Thanks.