Re: Coercion

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Thu Apr 22 2004 - 12:00:31 EDT

On 4/22/04 11:15 AM, "Josh Bembenek" <> wrote:

> I hate to even attempt to discuss issues that border on the philosophy of
> science/religion as I am a complete novice. However, I would like to point
> out that there is not progress, development, or otherwise change in the
> holiness of God's character and his theological characterization (from my
> worldview), thus if the bible were indeed an accurate account of "The
> Sacred," we have no use for progress.

Yes & no. I'm not at all arguing for "progress" in "the holiness of God's
character." But neither do I see the Bible as the "once for all time"
document that has captured an authoritative and wholly "accurate account" of
God. It is our understanding and articulation of God, The Sacred, that
stands in constant need of progress.

> The same argument cannot be made for
> aristotle's account of nature.

No, the comparison would be to say that the character of the world may be
stable, but our human understanding of it must be encouraged to progress
beyond Aristotle's description of it.

> This is perhaps the fundamental issue,
> perhaps you believe that ancient Hebrews weren't capable of conceiving an
> accurate picture of the sacred that was recorded and handed down in the
> bible?

Yes, I think the Hebrews did well what they were capable of doing. Beyond
that, their humanly crafted concept of God is no more authoritative to me
than Aristotle's humanly crafted concept of the cosmos. Both are valuable
contributions in the history of human theorizing, but I see neither as the
final authority.

.....skip a bit......

> ......... My point was to call for more
> trust in the authority of the bible. The second point I made, you may not
> have got, was that the bible also calls us to use our mental faculties to
> "test and approve" so this isn't a mindless process of dogmatic adherence to
> doctrinal truth and regurgitation of biblical content. Thus I will ignore
> your final comments (and note that I believe you are more of a gentlemen
> than that.)

Usually, but not always. :) Perhaps I've had too many experiences of people
throwing Bible verses at me as a means of demonstrating that they "clearly"
held the higher moral ground.

Howard Van Till
Received on Thu Apr 22 12:01:33 2004

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