Re: Van Till's Ultimate Gap

From: Josh Bembenek (
Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 01:10:55 EDT

  • Next message: Don Winterstein: "Re: mathematical concepts=="irrational numbers," process theology, Plato"

    Mixed responses:

    "The point is that we are forced to attribute eternal existence to
    something--God or the universe are the leading candidates."

    -Agreed, however I feel that an uncaused cause is the best answer to the
    First Cause problem. Additionally, I don't think any part of physical
    reality can be argued to be eternal whether a vacuum or a multiverse. The
    reason is that nothing can have progressed through time of negative infinity
    and ever reach the present time. Physical reality exists in time, time
    cannot be infinitely old or we would not have today, so something else must
    supply an answer. I have never heard anyone present a satisfying argument
    circumventing that problem.

    "But this sketch brings out one of the difficulties with such an approach.
    It envisions these processes taking place in a pre-existing space-time. But
    space-time also must come into being along with matter."


    "Bertrand Russell responded to this question by saying "The world as a whole
    just is, that's all. We start there." That is logically no less, but no
    more, satisfactory, than postulating a creator."

    -I don't see how this gets away from infinite historical time.

    "& one consequence of that is that science should be able to understand this
    universe (though not "why a universe?") without reference to God."

    -Should be, but not necessarily WILL or CAN be.

    "…then the awkward implication is that other types of divine action
    (non-coercive) fall into the category of "unintelligent."

    -I feel compelled to stress that awkward implications are not as dangerous
    and direct deductions.

    "Process theology envisions a different (and more intimate) God/World
    relationship. One version of this is usually labeled "panentheism" -- the
    World is in God, but God is more than the World. Go back as far in "time" as
    you like, and there is always God + A World in this intimate relationship.
    It is essential to God's being to be lovingly (non-coercively) related to A
    World; it is equally essential to the existence and being of A World to be
    related to God in a non-coercive way. Our universe is but one particular
    manifestation of "A World." The existence of God and World are equally
    shrouded in Sacred Mystery -- beyond our ability to explain, but not beyond
    our ability to appreciate and to respond to with reverence and awe."

    -Again, my problem is with the whole time thing, but your definitely
    straining the limits of my imagination here. I don't know that I find it
    appealing to say that God's essence depends on something, it simply IS.

    "As I read Hawking I often get the feeling that he is (with a mischievous
    twinkle in his eye) challenging defenders of traditional religion to come up
    with better ways of answering the ultimate questions. If that is so, his
    inquiry can be respected."

    -I generally have a similar hope about those that fit the stereotype of
    being the farthest from God. I often feel folks like Hawking are closer to
    discovering the truth than those trapped in a religion of ritualistic
    legalism or the like.

    "The gaps arguments suggest that God is a spectator who jumps into the fray
    from time to time. Elements in Christianity, process theology, and other
    religions offer a different view that God is a blue screen juggler
    constantly creating and evolving meaning and purpose in the cosmos."

    -Extending your analogy a bit, I would say that Gaps are parts of the
    juggling act that cannot be attributed to natural law. The behaviour of the
    balls in relation to gravity can be attributed to natural law, the act of
    the balls being transferred from hand to hand and thrown up again cannot.
    Then there's the question alluded to earlier about why juggle the balls in
    the first place.

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