YEC Advocate

From: Debbie Mann (deborahjmann@insightbb.com)
Date: Wed May 14 2003 - 09:40:40 EDT

  • Next message: George Murphy: "Re: YEC Advocate"

    No, I'm not a YEC, nor a rhinocerous either, which is the kind of skin a YEC
    would need around here. However,

    If God can do anything, why can't he break his own laws? So maybe the flood
    wasn't in 2900BC. Maybe it was in 5000BC and there isn't any evidence of it.
    After all - God can do anything. He held the sun up for Joshua and turned it
    back for someone else (help me - it was an Old Testament sign, I usually get
    out the resources and look these things up - but I'm flying fast right now.)
    If God can stop the earth from turning and keep us from falling off of it -
    or move the sun and not cause major orbital problems for everything in the
    neighborhood, why can't he make a siltless flood? And conjur up the
    necessary water?

    By the way, I read, years ago, an article by YEC that said that there was
    astrological evidence of the offset caused by those two astronomical
    maneuvers. Anyone care to comment?

    On a very serious note, where does one draw the line? There's archeological
    evidence for so much. There are details of the Bible that agreed with
    history centuries before we knew that they agreed with history. But how does
    one discern what is literal?

    -----Original Message-----
    From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu]On
    Behalf Of George Murphy
    Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 8:00 AM
    To: Josh Bembenek
    Cc: asa@calvin.edu
    Subject: Re:

    Josh Bembenek wrote:
    >
    > George: "2d - & more importantly, in response to your earlier argument.
    > The question of
    > what science will be able to accomplish is not in itself a scientific
    > question except in the strict empirical sense that we can wait for a long
    > time and see where it succeeds. But one's expectation of what science
    > should be able to explain is a question for the philosophical &/or
    > theological context in which one places science. & it seems to me that
    you
    > (as well as many others sympathetic with ID) ignore the fact that many
    > Christians like myself who argue that it should be able to explain the
    > origin of life in terms of natural processes do so on _theological_
    grounds,
    > and not simply because we're in awe of science or something of the sort."
    >
    > Josh: This is a powerful observation and I would agree that I have
    > science-only blinders on. I.E. I'd rather consider the rigourous details
    > about biological complexity and their relationship to evolutionary
    > processes, over how elegant a solution episodic creation verses FIC
    appears
    > to be based upon theological/philosophical grounds. I do not feel
    compelled
    > by the argument that God is somehow less if he has to "tinker," however
    > these criticisms have sharpened my greater understanding of the conceptual
    > framework of the creationism debate. I am no philosopher or theologian,
    so
    > I am learning on these issues more than I am basing my analysis on them.
    In
    > the end I have to admit that these issues inform how I think about the
    > debate, but do not cause me to base my judgement on them (as I do not feel
    > strongly pursuaded one way or another). If this leaves my position less
    > than developed, so be it, I'm still learning.
    >
    > George: "All of these approaches speak of God acting in the world in
    > connection with
    > natural processes, but they don't require a commitment to any particular
    > understanding of what those processes are or how they're to be explained
    > scientifically. It's a theological statement to say that God makes the
    sun
    > shine. It's the task of natural science to find out whether it shines
    > because of chemical combusion, gravitational contraction, nuclear fusion,
    or
    > in some other way. & this means also that such theological positions can
    be
    > held even though science hasn't yet been able to explain some phenomenon,
    > such as the origin of
    > life. They are statements that we ought to expect that science will be
    > able, in
    > principle, to explain it, & do not require one to say when or how that
    will
    > happen."
    >
    > Josh: When God acts in the world, connected to natural processes, he may
    > override them, utilize them, or allow them to "go it alone" (with
    > providence.) When natural science attempts to determine the natural how
    of
    > God's action, and we come to a "in some other way" category, we must
    allow
    > those actions of God that do not reference back directly to any action of
    > any natural law or creaturely capacity. This latter category is what is
    > being categorically dismissed wrt origins, and what I have disgreement
    with
    > specifically. When you end the statement saying "that we expect science
    > will be able, in principle, to explain.." you are narrowing the field of
    "in
    > some other way(s)" and I do not presume to make such distinctions in the
    > realm of possibilities, and find adamant predictions regarding the field
    of
    > possibilities highly presumptuous regardless of their basis in science,
    > theology or philosophy.

            What does it mean for natural processes to "'go it alone' (with
    providence)"?
    Providence traditionally includes God's preservation of, cooperation with,
    and
    governance of creatures. If God doesn't cooperate with them then they don't
    do
    anything.
            & when I say "in some other way" I mean "through some other natural
    processes
    that we don't yet understand." I.e., I am narrowing the field as you
    suggest. But
    again, that is done on theological grounds.

    > George: "Of course you don't have to accept such theological approaches.
    > But recognize that they are theological, & not just the sort of science
    > /ueber alles/ statements that you might get from Weinberg or Dawkins."
    >
    > Josh: I would say that I do not view any views of any Christian's view
    > equivalent or similar to that of Dawkins, etc. I'm simply not convinced
    > that the theological/philosophical considerations limit the scope of
    > possibility for God's actions. The episodic verses FIC distinction
    appears
    > to be based upon aesthetics; how appealing does it seem that God
    intervenes
    > or not according to your personal bias?

            The issue is not primarily aesthetic. The question rather is, which
    picture of
    divine action seems most consistent with the picture of God which is
    revealed in Christ?
    & if the kenosis of Phil.2 wasn't just a temporary strategem but revelatory
    of the true
    character of God, then we ought to expect that God's action in the world in
    general will
    have a kenotic character.
            IMO one of the problems with Howard's approach is that it can seem that it
    is
    based on aesthetic considerations - i.e., that a creation with functional
    integrity, or
    a "right stuff universe," seems more elegant than a creation which requires
    episodic
    divine intervention, in the same way that a physicist considers a unified
    theory of
    various interactions more pleasing than a set of separate theories for the
    different
    forces. A theological case can be made for this on the basis of Christian
    belief in the
    goodness of creation. But there is more profound - & I think more
    convincing -
    grounding for something like FIC or RFEP in a theology of the crucified - as
    I argued in
    my PSCF of March 2001 article.

                                                            Shalom,
                                                            George
    George L. Murphy
    gmurphy@raex.com
    http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/



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