Re: Coercion

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Thu Apr 29 2004 - 15:21:53 EDT

Howard J. Van Till wrote (27 Apr 2004):
>I had said:
>>>The change in tone here is simply a product of my continuing thought
on your
>>>proposal and how it might contribute to our reflection on some issues of
>>>divine action in the world to which science has empirical access.
>Peter replied:
>>Again, something in your formulation mystifies me. Aren't we discussing
>>issues of divine action to which science does _not_ have any
empirical access?
>There seems to be an ambiguity in what I said. The words "to which science
>has empirical access" apply, not to "divine action," but to "the world."

Sorry, I didn't read your sentence carefully enough.

>>RFEP refers to the initial act of God's creating the universe.
>Not necessarily. RFEP says, in effect, that the formational economy of the
>universe is sufficiently robust to make possible the formational
history of
>the entire universe (including all physical structures and biotic
forms that
>are a part of that history) by natural means without need for occasional
>episodes of coercive divine action (supernatural intervention) in the
>of time. As stated, it says nothing about how the universe came to
have that
>character. Neither does it say anything (pro or con) about non-coercive
>divine action at any time. Those matters, important though they may
be, are
>beyond the scope of the RFEP.

Yes, that was clear to me. I didn't write my sentence carefully enough.

I was thinking of the RFEP as making pronouncements about two phases of
the history of the universe: Phase 1, of duration 0: The actual
beginning (big bang), RFEP referring to God's initial, formational,
determinative creative action in producing space-time, matter-energy,
and the set of their properties described by the physical constants and
laws. Phase 2, of duration ~14 billion years so far: The subsequent
developmental history of the universe, in which God choose to restrict
his activity to upholding the givens of Phase 1 and possibly to
"non-coercive" ("persuasive") action.

Phase 1 definitely is creative. But I have the impression that the
"non-coercive", non-determinative activity of God allowed by RFEP in
Phase 2 can hardly be called "creation". This was the intent of my
phrase "RFEP refers to the initial act of God's creating the universe",
because I was going to talk about real creation.

On 28 Apr 2004, you continued responding to the rest of my post. It
virtually amounts to our agreeing to disagree.

I propose that for now we leave it at that. Thank you for the discussion.


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 29 15:23:53 2004

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