Re: [asa] Wells and traditional Christianity

From: Chris Barden <>
Date: Fri Sep 01 2006 - 08:44:27 EDT

I share in the concerns that Iain and Merv put forward. "Traditional
Christianity", if "tradition" is to have any meaning, includes the
(western?) notion that bad things can only happen to good people due
to three factors: 1) the Fall; 2) Satan; and the not-so-comforting 3)
Self-delusion -- what makes you think you're good? I recall a
discussion sometime last year on this list where it was mentioned
that, 200 years ago, curing disease was considered a contravention of
God's judgment on sinful mankind. Most Christians today would find
that position repugnant, yet it is "traditional" in the dominant
strain of Christianity. The TE position is completely removed from
this view of good and bad.

I found myself asking the other day: When we sing a sorrowful song
about the crucifixion, bemoaning the necessity of Christ's death for
our sin, aren't we lining up next to Peter, saying "No, Lord, this can
never happen to you"? The death of Christ was planned from the
beginning. I realize one can go too far, stepping into the error Paul
warned about and thinking our sin does God a public-relations favor.
But isn't "traditional Christianity" going too far the other way,
holding up a world without Christ's sacrifice as the way things should
have been?


On 9/1/06, Merv <> wrote:
> Iain Strachan wrote:
> I find the "literal" interpretation to be something that is way too hard to
> stomach; namely that everything was perfect and there was no death and
> suffering. Then Adam & Eve go and eat a piece of fruit that they were told
> not to. As a result God puts the most appalling curse on the whole of
> creation, not just Adam and his progeny, and animals start eating each other
> and inflicting suffering on each other. I have sympathy with Darwin, who
> said:
> I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have
> designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their
> feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars
> I have the same sentiments as you express here, but it seems to me that our
> position is still not off the hook. If God could not have designed such a
> thing as what is described above, then it must have been a result of the
> fall, right? Even if it wasn't a literal piece of fruit, it still happened
> -- and was caused by humans. So don't we still have the burden of
> explaining that either: something mankind did resulted in the wasp feeding
> on living caterpillars, or else God designed it to happen that way and our
> distaste for such a thing is not reflective of God's perspective when He
> declares "and it was very good". To wiggle out of one of the two above
> options seems to leave only the evolutionary philosophy that there is no
> design in creation and God just threw the dice.
> >
> > Iain, how would the TE concept of God be different than the deist
> > version of God? From the YEC point of view, I can see why they would
> > regard those positions as suspiciously alike.
> >
> > --merv
> >
> >
> >
> For a TE, God is someone who does intervene, you pray, you get answers, and
> miracles happen. Francis Collins gives a very good discussion in his book
> of miracles, and why it's feasible for a Christian to believe in miracles.
> As I understand it, a deist just proposes a creator who doesn't care or
> intervene in nature. I regularly pray for people (who are ill, or seeking
> God, or whatever), for example. What God doesn't do (according to the TE
> position), is continually meddle in the way nature works ( e.g. to assist
> the evolution of a particularly tricky organism). Miracles are God showing
> His love for us, not the mundane process of making stuff work.
> Iain
> So love and human activity make the difference? The critical eye of the
> methodological naturalist (scientific version -- "soft" version -- please
> let's not start all that again) would still say that intervention is
> intervention whether or not somebody asked for it or it was to demonstrate
> love to us. I'm not trying to make problems for you -- I'm just trying to
> work it out like you are and finding this discussion productive.
> Off to school for me ... won't get back till late tonight central U.S.
> time.
> --merv

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Received on Fri Sep 1 08:45:03 2006

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