Re: clarification request from Re: Van Till's Ultimate Gap

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Sat Sep 06 2003 - 08:56:45 EDT

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    >From: George Murphy <>

    > Cosmologists would normally say that with any sort of cyclic model like the
    > recent one of Steinhardt & Turok, our "world" (or "universe") has always
    > existed in the
    > sense that there has been some continuity of matter/energy or something
    > from one cycle
    > to another. This is really no more than is done in saying that our
    > world/universe is the
    > same one that passed through a fireball stage ~14 x 10^9 years ago. This
    would be
    > distinguished from the various ideas of parallel worlds such as Everett &c.
    > So which scenario does Griffin have in mind? If it's the first type then
    it's a
    > stretch to contrast his picture with the idea that "our world" has existed
    > eternally.
    > In an important sense it has. Even if our world is periodically returned
    > to a chaotic
    > condition of some sort, there is still something that persists between cycles.


    Thanks for the commentary. Your question points to the need for Griffin to
    be in closer contact with cosmologists so that some of his theological
    concerns (rooted in theology's long interaction with the Greek philosophical
    tradition) could be informed by what is happening in cosmological theorizing
    today. As I recall, Griffin has in mind something different from a cyclic
    model -- more like a radical, God-devised transformation from "something" to
    "something else," without the same kind of continuity that cyclic models

    [skip a bit]

    > Perhaps my claim that there must be a continuity of _something_ between
    > & thus that we must speak of the same world existing, will be challenged.
    > But consider
    > the alternative. If there is absolutely no continuity between cycles then
    > at the end of
    > a cycle the previous world must cease to exist, & the new world must be
    created ex
    > nihilo. & Griffin doesn't want that.

    Right. That's why I used the word "transformation" as an alternative to
    "creation ex nihilo."

    Howard Van Till

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