Re: Science and Theology

From: Don Winterstein <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
Date: Thu May 06 2004 - 03:50:25 EDT

Peter Ruest wrote:

"...I don't think believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, and in the Lord Jesus Christ need myths."

That's myth not in the vulgar sense (roughly equivalent to fairytale) but in the sense of a story or model of origins. A literal reading of Genesis provided such a myth that was satisfactory to people of the Judeo-Christian tradition for many generations.

I claim everybody needs one. If the traditional one fails, we must come up with a revised version. Your own concordant version of Genesis 1 qualifies.

Don

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Peter Ruest<mailto:pruest@mail-ms.sunrise.ch>
  To: Don Winterstein<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>
  Cc: asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
  Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 9:48 PM
  Subject: Re: Science and Theology

  Don Winterstein wrote:
>... Peter Ruest and I
>appear to differ with most on this forum in believing that living
>physical beings are just too darn complicated to have emerged in all
>their messy glory entirely through the functioning of natural processes
>without some explicit intervention from God. Peter (if I understand
>correctly) believes the input was in the form of persuasion, whatever
>that means, while I'm drifting towards a belief in the need for some
>form of coercion--making stuff do what it ordinarily would not have been
>capable of doing...

  Persuasion and coercion are Howard Van Till's terms. He seems to have
  derived them from process theology, with which I disagree (see my recent
  discussion with him). I accept it as quite natural that God would
  occasionally make "stuff do what it ordinarily would not have been
  capable of doing", i.e. plain miracles. But, at the same time, I believe
  that God is careful not to yield to our craving for "a sign" (Mat.
  16:4). He desires us to believe in him and love him out of a free
  choice. Furthermore, he gave humans the task of subduing the Earth and
  taking care of it. This requires us to be able to do science, which
  implies a reliable, repeatable working of the laws of nature - without
  any discernable divine interference (beyond keeping them existing and
  working). Nevertheless, even with this self-restraint, God has his
  "hidden options" of guiding natural processes to virtually any degree he
  chooses, without science being able to discern it, because he can work
  within the indeterminacy of quantum processes. My reasons for this
  proposal are twofold: theologically (according to the Bible), there is
  much "creating" going on in God's continual providential dealing with
  his creation; and scientifically, there is the extremely complex
  biosphere produced by the extremely weak and slow mechanism of natural
  selection of random mutations.

>None of us may be even remotely close to the truth, but we need models
>of origins for the same reasons that people have always needed myths.
>Besides, if you have a model, you may eventually come across data that
>will tell you you were wrong. No model, no progress.
>
>Don

  I sympathize with your modesty and agree that all of our models are
  still far from the whole truth (1 Cor. 13:12: "now we see in a mirror,
  dimly"), but I don't think believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and
  Jacob, and in the Lord Jesus Christ need myths.

  Peter

  Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
  <pruest@dplanet.ch<mailto:pruest@dplanet.ch>> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
  "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Thu May 6 03:48:33 2004

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