Re: [asa] Question from one of my students

From: <>
Date: Fri Sep 29 2006 - 21:04:13 EDT

James Mahaffy's student posed the following question:

> Ted Davis, in his article on historical views of the origins of the
> earth, especially in regards to Christian concordism, cites Francis
> Bacon writing about Scripture and Creation, and warning that people be
> careful to "not unwisely mingle or confound these learnings together."
> I wonder if anyone on the ASA list has an opinion on "wisely" mingling
> the teachings of Scripture and Creation. Is there a way to discuss
> God's Creation in a way that is scientifically sound and also
> Scripturally sound?

I gather from this question, that the point is how to
__wisely__ mingle the teachings of scripture and creation.

I don't see science (and its efforts to put a mechanistic
analysis of the course of development --- or evolution ---
of our world) in conflict with scripture (a teleological
claim about the underlying purpose of all this).

Mechanisms, however, elaborate and intellectually
challenging they may be, have an answer. It does exist
somewhere even if we are not clever enough to ferret it

Not so the question of why we should bother to live, why
wicked people rise to high position and oppress honest and
genuine people and even get away with it, why we should go
on when it seems there is no hope, and why we should be
honest even if it costs our reputation. Finally, is there
any purpose in this creation, or is it just (as Shakespeare's
character Macbeth laments) "Tis a tale told by an idiot, with
sound and flurry signifying nothing."

Of course, science can give an answer, you're fate is a matter
of probabilities, or it can explain why a rock falls on the
good person sparing a wick one in mechanistic terms. Indeed,
even adding on the good and evil, honest and dishonest, etc.
is adding on something that science is not really able to
address. That someone kills 20 people in cold blood is a
simple fact to science. The system may punish the person
taking them out of the gene pool (a scientific explanation),
but in a typical revolution, hundreds of thousands of people
can be killed in cold blood and hardly any of the matter is
resolved by justice (which can just becomes a short sentence
in a history book).

Finally, there are the choices you make _as_ a scientist.
If you want to live right, do we "just follow orders", or
do we look to something higher for guidance?

For these last latter issues, we Christians would turn to
scripture to help us __glean out__ what we can. It may
not be easy sometimes, but at least we gain some assurance
that suffering is not in vain.

So the value of scripture is not in its "facts", though we
Christians do believe that Christ was resurrected and
God created the heavens and the earth (though the "how" we
don't know), rather, it is that scripture offers a way to
bind together diverse circumstances of our own lives and
our history into something that has meaning and grants us
hope to go on. We believe that we must turn to God's
grace and mercy that we may stand tall when temptation
has corrupted the world around us, and endure to the end
in righteousness: true righteousness that does not profane
the word and its intended meaning. These are matters that
should concern a serious scientist also and I'm pretty sure
it can "wisely mingle the teachings of Scripture and Creation".

by Grace we proceed,

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Received on Fri Sep 29 21:05:07 2006

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