RE: The Problem of Liberal Theology

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Tue May 07 2002 - 20:31:38 EDT

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: george murphy []
    Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2002 5:46 PM
    To: Shuan Rose
    Cc: Michael Roberts;; Asa@Calvin. Edu
    Subject: Re: The Problem of Liberal Theology

    Shuan Rose wrote:

    > Hey, George:
    > LStart the party. How do you take a Christ-centered approach to the
    > science-religion problem?

         Terry has provided a link to JASA/PSCF articles, most of which deal with
    some aspects of this approach. Here I'll note very briefly the way in which
    few issues can be trated with such an approach.
         1. Natural theology: God is known first through God's self-revelation
    the history of Israel which culminates in the cross-resurrection event.
    Scientific knowledge of the world is able to tell us something about God &
    relationship with the world only in light of this revelation. But in this
    God is to be discerned in the universe as the crucified and risen one.

            Shuan wrote:
            So where are the fingerprints demanded by Mr. Morton? :)
         2. Divine action (providence): God's hiddenness in his self-revelation
    the cross suggests that we should not expect to observe God's activity by
    scientific means. This requirement can be satisfied by a model of divine
    in which God acts through natural process and voluntarily limits action to
    can be achieved through lawful natural processes.

            Agreed, but would modify by adding " God USUALLY acts through natural
            Despite Mr. Hicks pinning the Liberal label on me, i'm not
    ready to rule
              miracles yet

         3. Cosmology: As much as possible we will try to understand the origin
    development of the universe theologically in terms of providence, as in 2.
    we will be open to the possibility that matter/energy and space-time have
    in a way that can be described by a correct theory of quantum gravity or
    other scientific theory.

    S Shuan:
            H'mm, have to think about this. Hampered because I don't know
    squat about
            quantum mechanics. You physicists make things so freaking
    complicated :).
            I'm reading Davies's God and the New Physics. Maybe that will help.

         4. Biological evolution: This too will be understood as an application
    providence. The Incarnation means that God becomes a participant in the
    evolutionary process and in its suffering and death. This provides a way of
    dealing with questions of theodicy raised by natural selection. The fact
    in the Incarnation the Word of God takes on our evolutionary relationships
    provides one way of understanding how "all things" can be reconciled to God
    "through the blood of his cross" (Col.1:20).

            Kinda sounds similar to Jewish ideas about God's Shekinah
    accompanying the
            Jewish people into suffering and exile... but I've never
    heard it applied
            evolution. Talk about outside the box thinking

         5) Environmental issues: The human commission to be God's
    in caring for creation is fulfilled first of all in Christ. Human
    over creation is thus to be patterned after the servant lordship of Christ.
            Good. also applicable is Gen.2:15 , which talks about
    stewardship instead
    of dominion

         6) Bioethics: There are too many individual issues to summarize
    here. But the both cross (which suggests that suffering and death are not
    to be
    avoided at all costs) and resurrection (which suggests that our hope is not
    simply for holding on to life) provide some general guidelines.
            I think the biggest ethical issues of the century are going
    to be in this
            We should all start praying and thinking hard RIGHT NOW

         7) History and the Future: The human _par excellence_ is not Adam &
    Eve or
    the first reflectively conscious hominids but Jesus Christ. Creation was
    therefore not begun in a state of static perfection but in God's intention
    to develop toward the plan hinted at in Eph.1:10. In the resurrection of
    crucified we have a preview of God's ultimate future for the world, and the
    church as the Body of Christ is the next stage of evolution toward that
            If the Church as it currently exists is the next stage in
    evolution, we are
    facing extinction :).
            I like your advocacy of the Irenean concept of the fall over the
            That is pretty bold for a Lutheran (If Luther is the father
    of Lutheranism,
    Augustine is its grandfather).
            Maybe Dawkins is wrong, and theologians are good for
    something after all :)
            Thanks, George, for your thoughts.Wally has linked us
    together as liberals,
    and I am
             honored to be in your company. Hopefully, you won't be too insulted at
    being paired with a lawyer.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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