From: Jim Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed May 21 2003 - 23:07:08 EDT
You apparently know that "humans [are] embedded in space time."
(presumeably meaning entirely) and I don't know that for sure.
You apparently know that God is "certainly outside of spacetime" (again
presumeably meaning entirely), and I don't know that for sure.
You apparently know that "...an omniscient God knows all prior to even
our existence.", but I'm not sure of that either, because I concur with
you that these things may well be " beyond human comprehension.", which
does not appear consistent with your statements noted above.
Nonetheless, I am in accord with you with respect to " ...the whole of
human experience is all interlocked in a fashion that is consistent with
Regards - JimA
Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
> Prayers are made by humans embedded in spacetime. God is certainly
> outside of spacetime and so the three answers to prayers that you
> list---OK, No, Not now--are the way we humans characterize the
> interaction of God with our personal requests. But an omniscient God
> knows all prior to even our existence. Therefore, it seems to me that
> the whole of human experience is all interlocked in a fashion that is
> consistent with God's will and beyond human comprehension.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Armstrong [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 12:39 PM
> To: Howard J. Van Till
> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Prayer parallel?
> I have a question that somewhat parallels some aspects of this discussion.
> You (and others) have alluded to a line of thinking that the order of
> the day in creation is ...uh ...order, cause and effect, operation
> that is consistent with the RFEP concept (which BTW I embrace as
> well). Miracles, to whatever extent they occur, are what they are
> precisely because they violate some aspect of that consistency. The
> argument at the extreme is whether it might be reasonable then to
> explore the notion that God might in fact perform no miracles at all
> (aside from creation) because it is against his nature?
> My question has to do with prayer, and the question springs from a
> couple of considerations, one of which is echoed in your words, "...
> is consistent with the totality of my life experience, which includes
> my experience as a person trained in science." I am troubled by the
> naivete of statements of the sort that there are three answers to
> prayer, "OK", "No", and "Not now". I've pondered that a long time, and
> it just seems that if I consider the whole landscape of prayer(s) that
> there are a great many that simply are not responded to. Moreover, I
> realized that if more than a few "miraculous" prayers were answered,
> we would undoubtedly live in a more chaotic and reliable world than
> exists now. That does not even consider collateral issues like
> contradictory prayers, or the sheer volume of prayers. It doesn't take
> long to begin thinking in terms of some way of explaining how only
> certain numbers and/or certain kinds of prayers might be likely to be
> responded to. Historically, the most important prayers were punctuated
> with sacrifice.
> Now I am fully aware that this touches on some pretty sensitive stuff,
> and even has big implications with respect to important things like
> hope, but doesn't it seem that there is a strong, maybe even
> definitional parallel between the the matters of miracles and prayer?
> Don't the same character considerations and extremal possibilities
> apply? What might be your (or others') thoughts in this area?
> Jim Armstrong
> Howard J. Van Till wrote:
>>From: Burgy <email@example.com> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> Howard asked: "Interesting comment. Could you elaborate on that a
> bit? In
>> your judgment, what was/is the character of the misunderstanding of
>> that "liberals" manifest?"
>> I like George's answer, but mine is a little bit different. As I read
>> Bultmann, he seems to have been so awed by the success of modern science
>> that he decided that the resurrection and other biblical miracles had
>> quite thouroughly disproven.
> I'd like to move from the evaluation of particular theologians to the
> broader question, Is it SCIENCE that discourages belief in miracles as
> supernatural (the overpowering of nature) acts of God?
> I'm inclined to suggest that it's not primarily a scientific issue,
> but a much more comprehensive theological/metaphysical issue -- a
> worldview issue. What is the fundamental character of God, the World,
> and the God-World relationship? Science has contributed much to our
> understanding of certain aspects of the world, but what can it
> contribute to our concept of God or of the God-World relationship
> unless it is placed in a much larger conceptual framework?
> The RFEP concept that I have formulated posits that supernatural acts
> of God (specifically, form-conferring interventions) are unnecessary
> for the actualization of any of the life forms that have appeared in
> the course of the Creation's formational history. This stands in
> contrast to any form of episodic or special creationism. Nonetheless,
> during most of my life I have had no reason (either scientific or
> theological) to categorically rule out the occurrence of miracles. My
> usual comment has been that the RFEP was silent on this question and
> that miracles would have to be considered on their own merit as
> exceptions to the kind of phenomena amenable to scientific analysis.
> The RFEP by itself does not rule out traditional Christian theology. I
> still hold to that.
> In his book, Religion and Scientific Naturalism, however, process
> theologian David Ray Griffin criticized my approach for its failure to
> be sufficiently daring and consistent. In effect, his question to me
> was, If supernatural intervention is unnecessary for the whole of the
> universe's formational history (as I believe it is) , then why not be
> consistent and dare to generalize to the position that supernatural
> intervention is not only unnecessary, but totally out of character for
> God. Reject supernaturalism altogether and adopt a naturalistic theism.
> I have said on many occasions that I found Griffin's criticism the
> most valuable criticism I have ever received. The consistency he
> encourages makes good sense to me. The naturalistic theism he
> articulates is consistent with the totality of my life experience,
> which includes my experience as a person trained in science. But it is
> not science, by itself, that moves me away from traditional
> supernaturalism toward naturalistic theism. It is the way that
> naturalistic theism rings true to the whole of my life experience that
> attracts me to it.
> I am not asking for anyone on this list to agree with my choice. The
> limited point is that my choice is one that goes far beyond science.
> To tie in with my opening question, SCIENCE does not deserve either
> the credit or blame for my choice.
> Howard Van Till
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