RE: [asa] Critical review of Dawkins' Book by the "Liberal Media"

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Fri Dec 29 2006 - 14:25:27 EST

If man could conceptualize and understand all that pertains to God, then that understanding would not be that of the true God. Man can understand justice, love, etc., attributes that belong to the Christian notion of God. What man cannot understand or conceptualize is nothingness. The latter ability is what makes God not only a true Creator but also God Himself.



From: on behalf of Jim Armstrong
Sent: Fri 12/29/2006 2:04 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Critical review of Dawkins' Book by the "Liberal Media"

I guess I would argue that "creation out of nothing" is pretty much the purest of speculations, however historical.

Perhaps we would be better served if we acknowledge the possibility of "creation out of nothing-as-we-know-it". In our sphere of existence, we know of no creative transaction that conforms to the "creation out of nothing" mode. Such things are more transformational in character.

There is no evidence I know of that precludes the Creator creating out of "something" rather than "nothing", though that "something" be in a form unknown to us in its transcendent state (and thus outside our experience). Given our state of knowledge, it is a coin toss - divine creations might or might not be "out of nothing" in the context of the greater divine domain.

Moreover, given our incomplete knowledge of our own sphere of existence, divine creations might or might not be "out of nothing" even in our non-transcendental realm. We just might be unaware of the "substance" that was the starting point.

So, for what it's worth, I would be inclined toward "creation out of something", letting our experience be the tipping factor as we speculate about thus-far-unknowable things.
Somehow that would also be consonant with the theological thread of transformation as well, though the connection is flimsy. Or is it?


Ted Davis wrote:

                                Jim Armstrong <> <> 12/27/06 9:08 PM >>>writes:

        That's not the Jewish perspective that I'm more familiar with. The
        Creator does something like creating form through organizing a portion
        of chaotic "something", and then assigning functionality (along with a
        name). JimA
        Ted disagrees.
        Jim's view sounds more like that of PLato, in Timaeus, where the "DEMIURGOS"
        (craftsman, the same word used in the book of Hebrews for God the creator)
        makes the world out of 3 things: preexisting, unformed matter; the form of
        the good (a reference no doubt in two dimensions to a prefect square with 90
        feet between bases), from which other forms are derived; and "the nurse of
        becoming," a sort of potential to be something.
        The Greeks saw this as different from the Jewish view, and I think they were
        correct to see it that way. The Biblical God was not beholden to uncreated
        things with which he had to work. As a consequence of the Greek view that
        the demiurgos lacks omnipotence (ie, cannot create from nothing) and has to
        work with externally given perfect forms *that can only be imperfectly
        imposed on matter*, nature is an imperfect copy of the perfect forms. We
        can therefore have only "opinion," not genuine "knowledge" (ie, science =
        knowledge), of physical nature; we can however have genuine "knowledge" (ie,
        science) of the forms themselves. That is, we can know mathematics, but
        only opine physics. There is no "science" of nature for Plato, there is
        mere opinion of an imperfectly formed nature that only "copies" the forms
        There are also further consequences. As the Hellenistic physician Galen
        wrote roughly 500 years after PLato, Moses believed that God could do
        whatever he wanted to, whereas the Greeks held correctly (in Galen's view)
        that God can only choose the best of the various possibilities that
        presented themselves to him. He says this in his biological treatise, "De
        usu partium," which I do not have here at home to quote. Boyle picked up on
        this very Galenic point in his treatise on the doctrine of creation, "A Free
        Inquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature" (published 1686 but
        mostly written in the mid-1660s), where he strongly affirmed the Hebrew
        notion of creatio ex nihilo. As Boyle underscores the point, Hebrew has no
        word for "nature" in the sense spoken of by the Greeks (ie, no equivalent to
        "PHYSIS"), only words expressing the fact that God created it.

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Received on Fri Dec 29 14:26:24 2006

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