Re: Science and Theology

From: Don Winterstein <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
Date: Mon May 03 2004 - 07:55:12 EDT

Jan de Koning wrote:

"...Who are we to decide how God rules the world, and what he can,
wants and did do or not do. It is philosophically, logically and
scientifically impossible to decide "God did this" and "God did not do
that." It is difficult to talk about these things, if not impossible...."

Agreed, and messing with these concepts might be unwarranted except for one crucial fact: Scientific discoveries have uncovered problems with traditional views of how God has created and administered the world.

All along we've actually had incomplete but adequate answers, and we need some such answers; it's just that now some of the old answers have been seriously challenged.

The default response is to reject the traditional or biblical version and adopt the naturalist's version. Believers can't do this. We come up with alternatives to fend off atheism. We ask, "Is there some solution that allows God into the picture and is at the same time consistent with all scientific data?" We don't need the right solution, but if we don't have some solution we're always going to have to deal with the nagging possibility that there may be no solution and that the atheists may be right.

Howard has RFEP, I have my own ideas. Both solutions are consistent with the scientific data, so there's no humanly possible way of determining which is closer to the truth. We decide which we like best on the basis of independent criteria--otherwise known as gut feelings.

Don

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Jan de Koning<mailto:jan@dekoning.ca>
  To: asa<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
  Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 11:32 AM
  Subject: Re: Science and Theology

  At 03:33 AM 01/05/2004 -0700, Don Winterstein wrote:
>Doug Barber wrote:
>
>"...I don't think that it is ever the case that theology can even tend to
>discredit a valid empirical hypothesis (that is, an empirical hypothesis
>which is capable of being either true or false). It may give us reason
>to regard what purports to be a valid empirical hypothesis with special
>suspicion...."
>
>On the other side of this issue we should not lose sight of the fact that
>certain empirical results do not necessarily imply commonly deduced
>theological consequences. For example--as some of us have recently been
>discussing, the apparent haphazardness of organic evolution and the great
>expanses of time taken may seem to require a God who does not intervene by
>coercing nature. But it is not necessary to draw this particular
>conclusion. Depending on God's objectives in the world, the empirical
>observations can be perfectly compatible with occasional coercive divine
>interventions. While the resulting picture would not be as pretty
>philosophically as one involving a totally non-coercive God, logical
>beauty is not a valid theological criterion. If it were, we'd have to
>throw out the heart and substance of the Christian message, which is
>foolishness to the wise of the world. The prettiest solution is not the
>only one compatible with the data and in fact may not be the best.

  I believe, that nothing happens outside God's will, except of course, our
  sins, though the resulting punishment of our sins are decided from
  eternity. Who are we to decide how God rules the world, and what he can,
  wants and did do or not do. It is philosophically, logically and
  scientifically impossible to decide "God did this" and "God did not do
  that." It is difficult to talk about these things, if not impossible,
  because we know so much and often we are too proud to admit that we know,
  or don't know what God does, though sometimes we should listen better.
  In this discussion the great difficulty is, that we often consider
  "eternity" to be extended time. But "time" is just as much created by God
  as length and breadth. When someone died my grandfather used to say "he is
  outside time".
  Jan de Koning
Received on Mon May 3 07:59:47 2004

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