Re: Coercion

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 - 00:48:25 EDT

Howard J. Van Till wrote:
>I certainly do not wish to appear insensitive to the tragedy of this
>situation. But as I reflect on realities of life such as your friend's
>diagnosis, and in the context of your proposals re God choosing the
>of quantum events, and in the context of various comments on the
>thread, here is my question: Do you think that it is possible that God
>have chosen a series of quantum event outcomes such that your friend would
>not now have ALS?
>Howard Van Till

although, obviously, this situation is a serious problem for me on the
personal side, it is none of the theoretical problem you seem to suspect
behind it. I never claimed God is choosing the outcome of all or even an
appreciable fraction of quantum events, just that he may do such
choosing if and whenever he wants to, and that this might be involved in
some, many or all of those of his actions the bible labels as "creating"
during the normal course of his providential sustaining of the creation.
Although this idea cannot guide our scientific research, it does
liberate us from any fixed idea that life and all of evolution _must_,
in principle, be explainable by means of processes having reasonable
natural probabilities.

You also seem to be hinting at the question of theodicy: how can God
permit that my friend has ALS? Of course, God would be able to prevent
it. He is also able to heal him in a moment - or by some lenghty
process, although in this case I would be very hard pressed to imagine a
series of quantum events that would have to be guided, and I would
prefer to just call it a miracle (and we have been praying for such a
miracle). But I think the problem of theodicy can only be dealt with in
a personal, existential way of submission to God in faith and trust.
Surely, we are not in a position to tell him what is good and right in a
given situation.

To again move to the theoretical side for a moment, a creation in which
God would direct every quantum event in a predetermined way would not
allow for a freedom of decision by humans. It would therefore contradict
the biblical revelation of human freedom to love, have faith, bear
responsibility, show creativity, etc. Such a creation, which I certainly
don't believe to correspond to reality, would really fall under your
epithet of "coercion".


Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Thu Apr 15 00:49:01 2004

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