Re: Van Till's Ultimate Gap

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 18:34:38 EDT

  • Next message: bivalve: "ex nihilo question"

    Howard wrote:

    >I fully realize that Aquinas ultimately rejected the eternality of the
    >world. He did so, as I recall, on BIBLICAL grounds, not by THEOLOGICAL
    >argument alone. His primary concern, if my memory serves me correctly, was
    >to maintain that the world's existence was radically dependent on God's
    >effective will, whether that be eternally or for a finite duration. For
    >BIBLICAL reasons, however, he felt warranted in rejecting the eternal


    >I am making a distinction between a theological argument and an appeal to
    >the biblical text. I think that's a reasonable distinction. Furthermore, I
    >believe Aquinas was more concerned with the God/world RELATIONSHIP (the
    >world is a creation whose existence is radically dependent on the Creator)
    >than with matters of temporality vs eternality.


    >Arguing from the biblical text to the conclusion that the universe must have
    >had a beginning in time has always struck me as a bit thin. Similarly, a
    >number of OT biblical scholars have said that the idea of creation ex nihilo
    >might well be consistent with the text, but only thinly warranted by the
    >text at best.

    I'm a late-comer to this thread (I do want to get to Josh's original
    post at some point). But I can't resist chiming in now. I
    whole-heartedly reject the Biblical vs. theological distinction that
    Howard is working with here. I think that Christian theologizing is
    profoundly and absolutely dependent on the Biblical text (even if it
    leads to antinomies, apparent contradictions, and apparent
    paradoxes). That, if anything, is the meaning of the authority and
    sufficiency of scripture. Show me from a Biblical text argument that
    my theology is wrong and I will change my theology (at least I hope
    so). Theology that goes beyond the Bible is mere speculation.

    If the Biblical text (and I'm not just talking about Genesis 1:1
    here) does not teach creation ex nihilo, then I shouldn't affirm it
    as part of my belief about God and his relationship with the world.

    This is pretty much why I don't and can't get too excited about
    process theology. It is not Biblical--it is speculative. Griffin at
    the outset of his discussions rejects revelation as traditionally
    conceived. Scripture doesn't function as the authoritative source
    from God for our talk about God (and his relationship with the world).

    As I've said before, this is a matter of fundamental conviction. It
    is the first plank in the ASA statement of belief (as was discussed
    in a recent thread) for a reason. We have a theological/philosophical
    free-for-all in its absence. My response to Howard most of the time,
    these days, is "but the Bible says". And his response in so many
    words is "so what?" Pretty much end of discussion.


    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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