Re: Answer to Eugenie Scott's views

George Murphy (
Fri, 20 Mar 1998 07:47:51 -0500

William B. Provine wrote:
> Dear Keith,
> Thanks for your email. I have waited a long time to have a real interchange
> with a true working and religious evolutionist.
> > On what possible basis can you determine if God is a god worth having. You
> > are both presuming the character of God (a "paper tiger" god) and then
> > saying you will have nothing of such a god. Well, I would have nothing of
> > the kind of god you presume Christians to believe in either - and neither
> > would the Biblical writers. You seem to think that God either intrudes
> > into an autonomous creation, or starts it up and then leaves it alone.
> > Both of these views are far from the one presented in scripture. God is
> > declared to be intimately involved in _all_ of creation at all times.
> > Nothing is outside of God's providential action. The God I worship is most
> > cetainly a God worth having.
> I have said the same thing to others. A god that merely works through all of
> nature all of the time is hardly worth it. My church telling me this about God
> is precisely why I left. A god who starts off the world is a paper-tiger god
> (good word). A god that is intimately involved with every single thing is a
> paper-tiger god, unless the god really gets into the act and does something
> that can be detected, like making some genuine miracles or answering prayers
> and telling us what is right and wrong. But if what the god does can be
> detected, then methodological naturalism can be applied.

You assume that only a God who insists on recognition for
his/her work in the world can be a God worth having, & reject any God
who works behind the scenes as a paper tiger. If we were to match
polemic, we could say that the only God you are willing to accept is a
A genuinely Christian theology which starts with belief that God
is present in the crucified Jesus insists precisely that God is willing
to be considered unnecessary - because the cross means the apparent
absence of God. (There are few more god-forsaken scnes in literature
than Mark's narrative of the crucifixion. Mark 15:32 might be
paraphrased, "Let him show that he's not a paper tiger, that we may see
and believe.")
With Isaiah 45:15 ("Truly you are a God who hides yourself") in
mind, Pascal said, "What meets our eyes denotes neither a total absence
nor a manifest presence of the divine, but the presence of a God who
conceals Himself. Everything bears this stamp." Pascal knew something
about science as well as theology, but this issue predates modern
science. The Psalmists who spoke of God providing food for people knew
that we generally don't get food if someone doesn't get out & plant &
The positive side of this as far as science is concerned is that
we can understand the world. A show-off God, who worked by continual
miracle, would deprive creatures of that ability.

George L. Murphy