Re: Theological theory evaluation (Was: The forgotten verses)

From: Rich Blinne (
Date: Tue Jun 17 2003 - 23:37:45 EDT

  • Next message: Paul or Michelle Warila: "mutual influence of electrons?"

    On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 19:32:41 -0400, "Howard J. Van Till"
    <> said:

    > How many on this list think of your set of Christian beliefs as an
    > axiomatic system derived from an authoritative text?

    Huh? An axiom by definition is not derived. I don't understand the

    > Here's another way to put the question, drawn from occasional discussion
    > on the issue of fruitful criteria for evaluating scientific theories:
    > How many on this list would identify "derivable from the designated
    > authoritative text" as one of the primary evaluation criteria for the
    > evaluation of theological theories?

    OK. That makes more sense. My response is best summarized by Charles

    "The Bible is no more a system of theology, than nature is a system of
    chemistry or of mechanics. We find in nature the facts which the chemist
    or the mechanical philosopher has to examine, and from them to ascertain
    the laws by which they are determined. So the Bible contains the truths
    which the theologian has to collect, authenticate, arrange, and exhibit
    in their internal relation to each other. This constitutes the difference
    between biblical and systematic theology. The office of the former is to
    ascertain and state the facts of Scripture. The office of the latter is
    to take those facts, determine their relation to each other and to other
    cognate truths, as well as to vindicate them and show their harmony and
    consistency. This is not an easy task, or one of slight importance."

    So for me the evaluation criteria of my science and my theology is the
    same. What differs is what is being observed and systemized. My answer
    to your question is a qualified yes. It is just as much the same as
    saying the primary evaluation criterion for my science is derivable from
    nature. This is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition. It is more
    than just derivable but what is most in accord with the whole of what is
    being observed. Futhermore, I follow the Augustianian tradition that all
    truth meets at the top. Thus, if it is at all possible I try to
    systemize observations of both nature and Scripture simultaneously,
    assuming that a synthesis is possible. If there is an apparent conflict,
    I first try to make sure that the conflict is absolutely necessary. If
    so, then Scripture wins. Thus, I answer yes to the primary part of your
    question. I believe to not make Scripture the primary source for
    theological facts is to commit the same category error that the YEC
    makes. The facts of science are most easily determined from nature, and
    to make the Bible a science text is an error. Likewise, the facts of
    theology are most easily determined from Scripture, and to make nature
    into the Bible is an error.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Tue Jun 17 2003 - 23:38:41 EDT