Re: The problem with RFEP

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Thu May 29 2003 - 13:36:42 EDT

  • Next message: George Murphy: "Re: The problem with RFEP"

    In response to George, I said:

    >> Without any desire to open up a big theological argument here, I will simply
    >> say that I think it is possible to speak meaningfully about a loving
    >> God/World relationship without reference to the cross and substitutionary
    >> atonement. I do not expect you to agree with that.

    George replied:

    > Certainly it's possible to speak in this way. However:
    > 1) The classic problem of theodicy (which I know is a concern of yours) is,
    > "If God is all-loving and all-powerful, why is there evil?" To oversimply
    > greatly, process theology deals with it by rejecting "all-powerful."

    Skip a bit....

    > So if RFEP is to be plausible, there needs to be some rationale for
    > speaking about a loving God/World relationship besides the fact that we
    > want it to be so. (Which of course doesn't mean that you're obligated to
    > give such a rationale here.)

    I presume you mean theologically plausible. Process theology offers one
    way to warrant talk of a loving God/World relationship on something
    substantially more than a "want it to be so" attitude.

    In recent presentations I have offered both the "fully-gifted creation"
    approach and Griffin's process approach as ways in which to provide
    theological warrant with integrity. I did not rank them, nor did I suggest
    that these were the only two possibilities for Christians.

    > 2) You indicated on another thread yesterday that you no longer consider
    > yourself a member of the Evangelical community. ... But most people to whom
    > ID & similar ideas appeal are part of that community. So I think there's
    > a practical question ... How do you think your arguments for RFEP & against ID
    > are going to have any impact on these folks if those arguments don't make
    > significant contact with traditional Christian beliefs?

    Interesting question. If the "fully-gifted creation" approach doesn't have
    the effect of making it theologically attractive to evangelical Christians
    (I believe it should, of course) I may have to resort to focusing more on
    the scientific inadequacies of ID. If ID is -- as its advocates loudly
    proclaim time and again -- to be judged primarily as a purely scientific
    theory, then the scientific criticism should be especially effective, right?

    If, on the other hand, the ID movement is really something that springs from
    the religious anxieties of evangelical Christianity, then my scientific
    criticism of ID will have no influence.

    Care to guess what will be the case?


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