Re: Response to: What does the creation lack?

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (dfsiemensjr@juno.com)
Date: Sat Dec 08 2001 - 16:18:33 EST

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    On Wed, 05 Dec 2001 09:03:31 -0500 "Howard J. Van Till"
    <hvantill@novagate.com> writes:
    Dave wrote:
    I think you will conclude that [process theology] makes less sense than
    atheism, and is not compatible with the biblical statements about the
    knowledge and being of the Trinity.

    Comment: The concept of the Trinity was worked out (in the midst of much
    ecclesiastical controversy) by philosophers/theologians several centuries
    after the writing of the biblical text. As you well know, there is no
    reference to "The Trinity" in the scriptures.

    Dave, I think we've both made our positions clear on this. I don't do
    astronomy by the sola eyeballa approach, and I don't do theology by the
    sola scriptura approach. Limiting one's data set does have the attractive
    feature of stabilizing the process of theory formulation, but the cost of
    that stability is very high -- the contribution of continuing human
    observation and experience must be ignored. I see no way to justify that.

    You have made different choices. You may have the last word if you like.

    Howard

    I don't think "Trinity" is a very good basis for your point. I believe
    that, while the term is not biblical, the concept is, and could be
    recognized only on the basis of revelation. The traditional rejection, on
    the basis that 1+1+1 cannot equal 1, is philosophical in nature. Only
    recently have some recognized that aleph-null x3 necessarily equals
    aleph-null. To the extent that I understand the history of the creedal
    development, the objection to the Trinity was philosophical, with Arians
    arguing that there can be only one God, so that the Son cannot also be
    God (at least not in the absolute sense); patripassians arguing that
    there cannot be a separation of the acts of deity, so that the Father had
    to suffer on the cross; etc. The orthodox brought these philosophical
    objections to the test of Scripture, and rejected them in favor of what
    cannot be derived by reason alone. This is a good foundation for the
    notion that the deity is ineffable.

    The sola scriptura involves this test, not the total content. One may
    come close to Christian doctrine by adhering strictly to the content of
    the Word, but neither theology nor philosophy can be so restricted. I do
    not have, for example, a definition or philosophical discussion of aion
    in scripture. But I hold that I must test my thoughts about eternity by
    the text. I contend that process theology fails this test. I also contend
    that it has not looked closely at its assumptions and consequences. It
    has "solved" human freedom by changing the ineffable deity into one that
    human reason can encompass because it is almost totally formulated within
    the human categories. But a deity who cannot know more of the future than
    the creatures (except for the IQ < 200 v. >2000) runs afoul of the
    temporality of Einstein's special theory, and does not answer the
    question of how the universe began in a Big Bang unless the god also
    originated them. The notion is incoherent, and cannot be believed unless
    one closes his mind to the problems. And it also runs afoul of "before
    the foundation of the world." It is not often that a philosophical view
    runs afoul of science: my earlier example was Schopenhauer's pessimism,
    which conflicts with the way memory works. Conflict with scripture, of
    course, is endemic. What does one call a condition which is perpetually
    epidemic?

    I do not expect this to convince you, Howard. For one thing, traditional
    Calvinism tends to make one view the problem of human freedom in a
    certain way. But I am convinced that, if you look more closely into the
    requirements and consequences of process, you'll see that it is
    inadequately rational and scriptural.
    Dave



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