Re: preposterous

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Thu Apr 05 2001 - 16:34:26 EDT

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    Does the "question of origins" fall within the scope of science's

    It depends, of course, on what the "question of origins" is. There is an
    abundance of sloppy talk on this topic. Results: Speakers mean different
    things by the same words. Speakers talk past one another. Speakers alienate
    one another. Speakers confuse other people. Babble perpetuates............

    In _The Fourth Day_ (Eerdmans, 1986) I made a distinction between questions
    of "origin" and questions of "formation."

    The question of "origin" is the question about the ultimate source of the
    universe's _being_, where "being" includes everything that the universe _is_
    (all of its resources, if you like), everything that the universe is capable
    of _doing_ (all of its capabilities for acting and interacting), and
    everything that the universe is capable of _becoming_ (all of the
    potentialities for physical structures and life forms that could be
    actualized by the exercise of its formational capabilities).

    The question of "origin" is, What is the ultimate source (or Source) of the
    being of the universe? Questions of "formation", on the other hand, ask, How
    did the resources of the universe use their formational capabilities to
    actualize some of the universe's potentialities for viable structures and
    life forms?

    Questions of _formation_ are within the competence of the natural sciences
    to explore. The question of _origin_, on the other hand, must appeal to
    theology or metaphysics for the crafting of propositions/answers. Had Darwin
    used this distinction, he would have titled his book, _The Formation of
    Species_. His question was, How did species come to be _formed_ in the
    course of time? The potentialities for each species and the capabilities for
    forming them have been a part of the universe's 'being' from the beginning.

    Howard Van Till

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