RE: Human origins and doctrine

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 15:57:00 EST

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    Hello George,

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: george murphy []
    > Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 2:11 PM
    > To: Adrian Teo
    > Cc:
    > Subject: Re: Human origins and doctrine
    > I'm wary of any "argument ... for the necessity of
    > God." Such an
    > argument requires that in one way or another God's existence
    > can be logically
    > determined by some feature or features of the world, and thus
    > assumes the
    > legitimacy of an independent natural theology. I think that
    > the theology of the
    > cross and the related kenotic character of divine action
    > argue against such a
    > possibility. Eberhard Juengel has developed this idea in
    > detail in _God as the
    > Mystery of the World_ and argues there that God is "more than
    > necessary."

    Maybe I'm not understanding you correctly (and I am not trained in
    theology), but it seems to me that the argument for the *logical* necessity
    of God's existence does not necessarily assume a legitimate independent
    natural theology. Otherwise, on what other basis do we argue that God is
    real, and without God, the world would not be in existence? (notice that I
    am NOT familiar with the works of Juengel).

    > On the specific issue of the development of moral
    > capacity &c: The gap
    > that exists here is one between two different categories, &
    > thus is rather like
    > the mind-brain problem. I admit that it is a difficult
    > problem, but still don't
    > think a God of the gaps answer is helpful. What does such an
    > answer do? If it
    > isn't intended as a prohibition of further scientific work,
    > it is simply a
    > temporary stop-gap. In the later case, what's the point?
    > Why not just say "We
    > don't know."
    > (& of course as Christians we are going to say that
    > God is involved in
    > the development of moral agency, just as God is active in the
    > mind brain
    > connection - whether we understand these things
    > scientifically or not.)

    Your words in parentheses supports my position that as Christians, we want
    God in the picture somehow. We wish to reject any complete explanation that
    leaves no room for God, because we contend that those explanations are
    incomplete. So, in a sense, as I have admitted, it is similar to a
    God-of-the-gaps argument. But in a different sense, it is dissimilar from
    the commonly understood God-of-the-gaps argument that differentiates between
    natural processes and supernatural ones. I reject that latter approach, and
    fully affirm that God is always involved. But nevertheless, I want God in
    the picture in order to complete the explanation.

    Sure, invoking God into any scientific exploration may undermine future
    research, but when we are discussing issues that we recognize are broader
    than science, such as human nature itself, why is it inadmissible to invoke
    the "God hypothesis"? So it is in the case of morality or the mind-brain
    problem. If we frame the issue as a strictly scientific one, and a priori
    agree to limit the discussion as such, then bringing God in the picture
    would not be helpful. But if, among theists, we frame the issue in the
    larger context (which I assume we have been doing all along), then it makes
    perfect sense to me to talk about God.

    What do you think?


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