Re: asa-digest V1 #1308

George Murphy (
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 17:21:04 -0400

John W. Burgeson wrote:
> Friend George Murphy wrote:
> "N.B. - I am not saying that one has to _accept_ such approaches in order
> to be theologically informed. "
> Fair enough. I see your point.
> Here is how I see it (part of the issue):
> Assume for argument that there are only two positions
> available, TE and PC.
> What I see is a great lack of data to select from among these positions.
> What I also see is a great desire on most people to select one of these
> positions and defend it. (I include myself in this).
> What I am coming to think is that, on the basis of the lack of data,
> that claiming and defending one of these positions, at least
> dogmatically,
> is both a waste of time and ultimately self-defeating.

I've noted previously that PC is observationally indistinguishable from TE if
one makes the creative interventions small enough. In fact, one can construct a model
of PC in which God does everything directly but acts in a continuous fashion so that
it _looks_ as if natural processes are doing everything. I.e., it really comes down to
a distinction between Barbour's "monarchical" theology of divine action & his
"Neo-Thomist" plus "kenotic" ones. I.e., it is a theological distinction. But that
doesn't mean that making the distinction is a waste of time & self-defeating, for one
approach seems to me much more coherent with God's character as revealed in Christ than
the other.
I'm speaking here of relatively sophisticated versions of PC, not naive ones
which insist that God had to "leave his fingerprints all over the evidence" &c.

George L. Murphy