On Wed, 05 Dec 2001 09:03:31 -0500 "Howard J. Van Till"
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.
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
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.
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