Re: The Universe in a Single Atom

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Thu Sep 22 2005 - 18:50:09 EDT

If somebody has a different logic or math, one that cannot be justified
in the normal way, we're in trouble, for somebody is dealing in nonsense.
What folks usually seem to mean is that they hold different assumptions
and premises in their arguments. But they often don't recognize the
assumptions, and more frequently do not understand the lack of
justification for those assumptions. For example, probably the best
"proof" for the existence of a deity is the /kalam/ argument which begins
with the claim that everything must have a cause, though they refine that
a bit--philosophers believe in making things complicated. A tacit
assumption is that we cannot have an infinite regress, so there has to be
a First Cause. But why, apart from /ipse dixit/, why must the action of
the so-called First Cause not have a cause? The fact is that strict
materialism can be as consistent as any other philosophical dogma. I
don't like that, for I would much prefer that my fundamental commitments
be the only consistent ones. But I'm stuck with reality.

I am persuaded that scripture has it right. "Without faith pleasing God
is impossible, for approaching God demands believing that he exists..."
(Hebrews 11:6). Were knowledge possible, commitment would be compelled.
But we live by faith. There is a basis for that faith, but there is not a
compelling demonstration apart from the witness of the Spirit. But even
that may be wishful thinking when viewed from without.

On Thu, 22 Sep 2005 17:33:24 -0400 writes:
KVE replies:

I've been lurking for a while and more-or-less following this thread.
Forgive me if I'm a little off base with this, but Nick Wolterstorff has
an interesting comment in the latest issue of Pro Rege [Dordt College
publication] in which he is discussing Christian learning:

" our talk about Christian learning, we rather often insist,
suggest, or imply that Christian learning is different learning; we then
find ourselves plunged into all those tired arguments about whether there
is a Christian logic, and the like. For some among us, especially
mathematicians and physical scientists, this way of talking has been
oppressive. Faithful as they try to be, they don't see all that much
difference within their own discipline. As a result, they are made to
feel stupid or non-devoted by colleagues who are telling them that
Christian learning has to be different learning. Why let difference be
the criterion? Why allow ourselves to be caught in the situation of
finding some non-Christian agreeing with us and then having to say,
"Oops, I'll have to do it over again so that there's a difference?" Why
not praise the Lord for the fact that they got it right? What element in
Christian thought or Christian theolo gy would lead to the conclusion
that everybody who is not a Christian is entirely blind to reality? I
suggest that fidelity, not difference, is the fundamental consideration.
Christian learning is the project of fidelity within the field of
learning to God in Jesus Christ and the Christian scriptures. The
faithful Christian scholar lets other people worry about difference."

Curiously, this seems to undercut the Kuyperian notion of 'Christian
learning' which he had defended earlier in the article. However, I find
the paragraph consistent with the idea that God made a Creation with its
own integrity and hence open to investigation by Christians and
non-Christians alike -- etsi deus non daretur [as if God were not given].
 Does it really matter if my scientific insights are brought on by direct
revelation or by the nightmare resulting from eating that huge burrrito
at the local Mexican restaurant? Or perhaps God is working in, with, and
under the burrito...

Karl V. Evans

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Received on Thu Sep 22 18:57:12 2005

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