Re: Science/religion article featuring Bill Phillips

Date: Fri Oct 26 2001 - 22:45:08 EDT

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    I'm reshuffling paragraphs from Norm Woodward's post to deal with them in an
    order that flows better with my thoughts:

    In a message dated 10/26/01 2:35:54 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

    > However, I found another quote more germane to an interest of mine.
    > Dr/Mr./Rev Peacocke asked "Can religion learn to outgrow its reliance on
    > claimed authorities and popular images of a God who acts and reveals by
    > supernatural means?"
    > I found this interesting because I have been asking myself, and others, is
    > "Theistic Evolution" actually "theistic" or is it "deistic?"
    > And I have received some interesting responses, both externally and
    > internally. And one of the responses, that I received from an OEC mentor,
    > was to check you guys out.

    Of course you will find that "us guys" (and gals) have a diversity of
    opinion. However, I think it is safe to say that few of us here [on this
    list or in the ASA as a whole] are as liberal in our theology as Peacocke.

    Many of us here do favor some sort of "evolutionary creation" scenario. I
    reject the term "theistic evolution," because it makes it sound like the
    primary commitment is to evolution with God thrown in as an afterthought.
    While that might describe a few people (none on this list that I can think
    of), most of us see the primary commitment as to God the creator, with
    evolution being a possible answer to the secondary question of how he did it.

    And I think we should seek for our views to be neither "deistic" nor merely
    "theistic," but rather "Christian." Much theism might have a hard time with
    God working in hidden, behind-the-scenes ways; it would want God to show off
    and leave obvious "fingerprints" in nature. But the humble and hidden
    workings of Christ, including the astounding event of the Cross, can suggest
    different possibilities to Christians.

    > So, it behooves those who hope to convince a scientist that our
    > (Judeo-Christian) God is the God of Creation, that they be able to show how
    > the Biblical Creation story jibes with the observed data. Then the
    > scientist can feel comfortable accepting the "rest of the story."

    I agree that this is an important issue. But, as Paul Seely has already
    pointed out, it hinges on what it means to "jibe with the observed data."
    Those whose view of Scripture demands that it be treated like a science
    textbook usually have to twist science [as in much of the "creationist"
    movement], or Scripture [as in some of the more creative attempts at
    "concordism"], or both, in order to make them "line up" in scientific detail.
     But, if you take the view that God was expressing non-scientific truths,
    using language and a cosmological framework that could be understood by the
    original readers, the friction between the scientific data and the Creation
    story disappears. Then the scientist can proceed to the infinitely more
    important step of looking at Jesus.

    This issue of how the story jibes with the observed data only becomes a
    problem for those who do not allow God to use figurative language to
    communicate truth, and who do not allow God to accommodate his message to
    suit the limitations of his hearers. It is unwise to dictate to God how he
    is and is not allowed to communicate his truth.

    Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado |
    "Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
     attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cats"

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