From: George Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Sep 19 2003 - 09:41:13 EDT
Howard J. Van Till wrote:
> >From: George Murphy <email@example.com>
> > What I have argued is not that RFEP should be rejected but that it should
> > be based on an appropriate christology.
> Yes, but you would make that Christological grounding explicit ONLY IF it
> is to function as a Christian doctrinal statement and NOT as a statement of
> presupposition for the historical natural sciences generally. As I have
> repeatedly said, the RFEP is stated to satisfy the latter role, not the
> > RFEP formulated on that basis can support the sciences at
> > least as well as RFEP which is simply postulated.
> Yes, of course it could do that for a major portion of the CHRISTIAN
> community, but then the larger SCIENTIFIC community could not sign on
> because of its exclusively Christian content.
I abbreviated my earlier response but thought that the discussion might go in
this direction. My point was that RFEP based on christology is at least as
satisfactory, _from a logical standpoint_, for the purpose in question, as RFEP which is
simply postulated. I agree that many non-Christian scientists would not accept it.
But does the larger scientific community feel any need for a principle with
religious connotations, even one with (as you've said) only minimal theological content?
Such a principle may appeal to some non-Christian theists who are scientists, but many
scientists are content with a much simpler principle which has _no_ explicit theological
content: The natural world can be understood in terms of natural processes. To them (&
also to many religious believers, Christian and otherwise) RFEP as a postulate is simply
that latter principle with some religious language added. So what is really the cash
value of RFEP as a postulate?
& in fact RFEP as a postulate may be seen simply as a surrender by religion, a
concession that it has nothing to do with the real world which science studies. I
realize that that's not your intention but it's the way many people will read it. So if
the question is, "How persuasive will RFEP as a postulate be to the scientific community
as a whole?", my guess is "Not very."
OTOH, while grounding something like RFEP in christology is of course a part of
Christian theology, I think it can be made a significant argument in Christian
apologetics. On this basis Christians can argue that our ability to understand the
world "though God were not given" is not just a mystery that we have to accept, and
recognition that science can understand the world with reference to God is not simply a
concession grudgingly wrung from Christian theology. It is rather (according to the
Christian claim) a consequence of the fact that the creator of the universe is the God
who is revealed in Jesus Christ, whose action in the world - as in the cross - is
kenotic and hidden.
Of course I don't think that that's a drop-dead argument but it is an argument,
& not simply an agreement that science works.
George L. Murphy
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