I think that is fair enough what you have said here.
But I would still stick to my original point that as I see it, the
appearance of such numerical phenomena in the Bible should be read as
undergirding the scripture, rather than as directing us towards "new"
theological ideas. What it says to me is that the Bible should be taken
seriously, in an age when many Christians do not take the Bible perhaps as
seriously as they ought. I don't mean getting into the vexed question of
Creation vs. Evolution here; taking something seriously does not necessarily
mean the same as taking it literally. However, I sense in todays world
there is a tendency, even among Christians to pick and choose the things we
like and reject those we don't like eg:
(1) If I recall correctly, some months ago, there was a thread of discussion
on this list as to whether we can construct a theology based entirely on the
New Testament, and leaving out the Old. The conclusion was reached, I think
that you couldn't do it, but the very fact that the discussion took place
seems to imply that many people would rather do without the Old testament.
Someone even went as far as to ask the question about what possible use or
relevance the first three chapters of Genesis had. I'm frankly astonished
that such things can be considered - and again, this has little to do with
whether you take Genesis literally or not.
(2) It seems that today (in Britain anyway), many Christians take a liberal
attitude towards sex before marriage. It is now thought by many that as we
have contraceptives avaiable that it's a different matter. This even
happened twenty years or so ago when I was at university; a couple announced
that "after due and careful prayerful consideration" they had decided there
was nothing wrong with having sex if they were in a loving relationship -
though they were not considering getting married. What the Bible says about
fornication appears here to be conveniently ignored.
(3) Though it's politically incorrect to draw attention to such things,
many Anglican clergy are talking about having gay marriage services.
Apparently here's another bit of the bible (OT and NT) that is supposedly no
longer relevant to today's society.
So .. it seems to me that in this age, the authority of the Bible is being
eroded, and we are picking and choosing what suits us. In this climate,
something like Richard's thesis, that presents the Bible as an integrated
whole, from which nothing should be omitted, is to be applauded.
I would also add that I'm in full agreement with Richard's statement about
God working through apparently arbitrary happenings. I understand that many
people on the list are in favour of the idea of "theistic evolution", which
is essentially the same thing. To dismiss Richard's case because it's based
on arbitrary choices by human beings is not much different from rejecting
the "Theistic Evolution" argument by saying "well it all happened by random
chance - so why do you need to invoke a God?"
----- Original Message -----
From: "george murphy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "iain.strachan2" <email@example.com>
Cc: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "John W Burgeson" <email@example.com>; "Vernon
Jenkins" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 10:28 PM
Subject: Re: The Wheel of God
> "iain.strachan2" wrote:
> > > George said: "But let's follow up the physics analogy. Where the
> > > Omega-minus? I.e., does your scheme predict any novel theological
> > > result? "
> > >
> > > I had not thought of that angle. Good point.
> > >
> > Personally I do not think this is a good point at all. If the numerical
> > analysis started producing "novel" theology that was different from what
> > understand already, I would regard it as a dangerous practice, leading
> > cult formation, and would distance myself from it as far as possible.
> > has to harmonize with what the text says on the surface, or else it is
> > work of the devil.
> Note that I was responding to an analogy that had been posed
> symmetry in physics & that in a classification scheme for the Bible. My
> response has to be understaood in that light. Having said that, I would
> that there are senses in which novel theology is desirable & even
> Of "novel" isn't the same as true. There can be novel heresies -
> most are repristinations of tired old ones. & by "novel theological
> didn't mean something like "discovering" the 4th Person of the Trinity!
> But there can be new ways of seeing old issues - Karl Barth's
> of election is a good example. & there can be new insights into the way
> Bible should be read which may lead to significant changes in Chriatian
> - e.g., the ordination of women. Of course there will be debate among
> Christians about whether or not those insights are correct. (For what
> worth, I think both basically are.)
> George L. Murphy
> "The Science-Theology Dialogue"
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