Re: analogies, and models of God (was tinkering God

From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
Date: Fri Aug 26 2005 - 21:28:43 EDT

Re: "Analogies can help us gain some understanding, but we must never press them too far."
A reasonable caution, but in some sense, analogies are all we have. I suppose an approach a la Einstein is to press them as far as reasonable, but not further. The trick is where to set the "reasonability" cursor. That's a human decision.
Our concepts and descriptions of God are always based on concepts from our reality(ies).
Even as the laws of physics and such that emerge from what we can view and touch and measure are analogies, so much more so are analogies our primary tools in making speculation about that which we have convictions about, but cannot view, touch and measure. JimA

John Stahl wrote:

>Regarding the triple point concept as analogy for the trinity, there was a communication in PSCF, March 1987, page 39 by Michael Bozack which developed this analogy in great detail and also dealt with the limitations of analogy. I have been using this in Physical Chemistry class for years.
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>I have done a lot of thinking about the use of metaphor and illustrations in scripture and in our explainations of theological ideas. This is a crucial part of how human language works compared to machine language. Since I John says "God is Light," we do not hesitate to use this metaphor in tallking about God. However, when it comes to inventing our own metaphors and analogies, a great deal of care and humility is needed. In the case of the trinity, (and the incarnation and the meaning of the sacraments, and maybe some other concepts), scripture refers to them as mystery. Analogies can help us gain some understanding, but we must never press them too far.
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>>>>Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz> 08/25/05 9:01 PM >>>
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>Dave , Jim and other folk:
>I think that I understand the triple point of water. It is just the case
>that for a container containing H2O at a certain special temperature and
>pressure, some of the stuff may be solid, some may be liquid, and some
>may be gas, and some may be in transition from one state to another. In
>a sense, the 3 states co-exist in the one container.
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>Whether this is a good analogy for theological purposes is another
>matter. In fact, I would be very cautious.
>
>Dr. John W. Stahl
>Professor and Chair
>Department of Chemistry
>Geneva College
>Beaver Falls, PA 15010
>(724) 847-6705
>jwstahl@geneva.edu
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Received on Fri Aug 26 21:33:08 2005

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