From: John Burgeson (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Feb 16 2003 - 16:06:09 EST
Don wrote: >>My new paradigm kind of implies that God gives the whole
creation lots of opportunity to go wrong, and when it inevitably does, he
puts it back on track. So God controls his creation to a degree consistent
with his objectives; but one of his objectives is to keep the creation as
independent as possible. His greatness shows not in absolute, universal,
rigid, microscopic control but in his willingness to let the world drift
freely within the boundaries of his overall objectives>>
I kind of like that. Another model I like is that of God "playing us" as a
gifted musician plays his violin.
Yet I cannot get away from Howard van Till's "gifted creation" model either.
It does not bother me that some models are not compatible with other models.
The wave and particle models of the electron (in a gross sense at least) are
similarly incompatibe, yet both are useful.
John Polkinghorne, in REASON AND REALITY, speaks of theological models, and
asserts that, unlike science, which can create verisimilitudinous theories,
as well as models, theology must always deal with models only. (see my notes
on that book on page 2 of my web site). Ian Barbour seems to make the same
claim. The following is lifted from my PERSPECTIVES book review (again, see
my web site for the full review):
'Barbour discusses how Godís actions in this world can be seen as consistent
with a universe of apparent causality. Here he treats the models of Murphy,
Polkinghorne, Whitehead and others; having done so, he leaves the evaluation
of these models to the reader. His conclusion appears on page 180: ďAll
models are limited and partial, and none gives a complete or adequate
picture of reality. The world is diverse, and differing aspects of it may be
better represented by one model than another. . . the use of diverse models
can keep us from the idolatry that occurs when we take any one model of God
too literally. Only in worship can we acknowledge the mystery of God and the
pretensions of any system of thought claiming to have mapped out Godís
I am aware that many books on "systematic theology" have been written, and
all by persons more theologically learned than I. None the less, I agree
with Polkinghorne and Barbour that attempts to construct a theory about God,
as opposed to a model, is whistling in the wind. (I could use a stronger
verb there but I'm still too much "old school.")
John W. Burgeson (Burgy)
>From: "Don Winterstein" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: "Don Perrett" <email@example.com>
>CC: "ASA Discussions" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: Random from Professing evolution column
>Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 02:15:54 -0800
>Don Perrett wrote:
> God is omnipotent and exists outside of space and time, all seeing and
>knowing, he knows the future, present and past.
>I acknowledge that these are widely held views, but being the nonconformist
>I am, I acknowledge them only as philosophy that's taken root in theology,
>and to me such views don't mean much. Scriptural support for some of these
>concepts, as I recall, comes mostly from expressions of worship and
>adoration that were never intended to serve as bases for theological
>principles. As I comprehend God, he lives in space-time like me. I
>believe he existed before space-time, so to that degree you can say he was
>also outside space-time.
>Wait a minute. God seems to me to live in space-time like me, but he does
>not occupy any particular set of loci. Maybe that's what it means to be
>outside space-time. My body occupies a particular set of loci, but my
>spirit does not. So spiritual beings perhaps live outside space-time by
>virtue of their spirituality.
>Anyway, God is a person to be known, not a philosophical principle to be
>fit into some system. The kinds of comments about God's nature and
>abilities that I respect are those that come from personal knowledge of
>him. From the Bible and personal experience I see God continually
>upholding the world but on occasion intervening in ways decidedly outside
>the range of what we'd call normal. Such "abnormal" interventions are what
>I mean by God's "special input."
> Can't God just pre-plan any and all events needed to reach his desired
>goal? All of which would have been done and set into motion prior to
>creation and the events we see as God's intervention is in fact God's
>pre-planned periods/events of change.
>I see this as an acceptable way of intellectually harmonizing the
>scientific view of the world with an acceptable Christian view.
>Unfortunately, the picture of God's personality that emerges from such
>concepts doesn't fit well with God as I know him. I kind of like the
>biblical view, which has God changing his mind from time to time. If these
>descriptions of mind-changing are mere anthropomorphisms, so be it; but a
>rigid, mechanical, supercomputer-type God I do not find appealing or, to my
>mind, realistic. God to me is a very personal kind of person.
>What would make our WEAK minds believe that God would need to come in and
>make a change after things go wrong. Wouldn't that make him imperfect and
>incapable of controlling his own creation?
>What is perfect, and who says God is, i.e., who besides
>philosopher-theologians? My new paradigm kind of implies that God gives
>the whole creation lots of opportunity to go wrong, and when it inevitably
>does, he puts it back on track. So God controls his creation to a degree
>consistent with his objectives; but one of his objectives is to keep the
>creation as independent as possible. His greatness shows not in absolute,
>universal, rigid, microscopic control but in his willingness to let the
>world drift freely within the boundaries of his overall objectives.
>Everyone knows, don't they, that control freaks are much smaller people
>than those who allow their subordinates some latitude.
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