Re: The state of suburban theology

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Fri Jun 18 2004 - 11:44:26 EDT

On 6/17/04 10:36 PM, "George Murphy" <> wrote:

> Certainly substantialist metaphysics has its drawbacks. I think though
> that even in that framework the idea of a precise description of the "causal
> joint" is problematic simply because (with any metaphysics) the claim to
> have an exact description of God is rather foolish.

Yes, I would confess ignorance on how to include a "God term" in a
> One problem with traditional ideas of the immutability & impassibility
> of God is that while God "acts on" things in the world, the world cannot in
> any way act on God. There is no _inter_action. & thus in the last analysis
> what happens in the world - including the cross - can't have any effect on
> the divine nature.

Agreed. Something important is missing in those portraits of God.
> Theology is a human enterprise - but what does the qualification
> "thoroughly" mean? Surely not that God has nothing to do with it, since in
> both traditional & process theology God is involved in everything that
> happens in the world.

I suppose "thoroughly" was placed there as an indicator of my view that what
we possess as the basis for theology is not some direct access to God, but
only our human apprehension of The Sacred, God. You are correct to note that
this should not be taken to imply that God has nothing to do with it.

What that also means to me (but not necessarily to others on this list) is
that this applies equally to the biblical text. It is, at best, a record of
selected human apprehensions of God. As such, humanly crafted doctrines of
biblical infallibility or inerrancy are just that -- humanly claims, no
more. To put it even more strongly, I would suggest that doctrines of
biblical inerrancy/infallibility stand in the way of progress in theology in
a manner similar to the way that doctrines of Aristotelian infallibility
would stand in the way of progress in scientific theorizing.

Howard Van Till
Received on Fri Jun 18 12:11:38 2004

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