Re: [asa] Believing Scripture but Playing by Sciences Rules

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Tue Feb 13 2007 - 12:54:53 EST

Perhaps a way of thinking about this is along the lines of a dawning of
awareness. This might be compared to the "dawning" of vision or hearing,
or of electrical or olfactory sensing. Positing that we do indeed have
free choice, an act of sin in essence has to do with which willful,
volitional alternative we choose in a given situation. Looking at a
range of sophistication of earth-bound organic living creatures, there
seems to be a corresponding range of capacities for considering
consequences of a given action. At one extreme, there is essentially no
such capacity. At the other, there is the ability to abstract,
extrapolate, imagine and so on that allows us to consider many
alternatives and a spectrum of present and future consequences. This
also includes a variety of ways to give weight to those possible
consequences, one of which may be the light of divine intent.

That's a snapshot of Creation as it is presently. But might it not also
suggest the possibility of a evolutionary development timeline which
traversed these same (or similar) range of states of complexity? This
could have involved a dawning at some point, an onset and growing
awareness of the existence of divinity (perhaps analogous to
self-awareness?), our place in the creational act of divinity, and a new
sense of what might be expected of us, along with increasingly aware
choices as to how to (and whether to) respond to that expectation in a
given situation.

It's so very hard for us to say what exactly "breathed" entailed
(entails?) as God created man as a living being. In essence, this
particular language does not seem to preclude any particular creational
process, since God presumeably does not have lungs as we know them. It
does not even require that God steps in at a particular point to do
this, in contrast to simply infusing His intent into his overall
blueprint for an unfolding Creation.

I love your last question. Given the state of knowledge at any time,
that of the ancient Hebrews or our own, metaphorical language is surely
always required to bridge the gap between what we can know (and the
still more limited what-we-can-describe) and the greater reality. We
might have more knowledge of certain specifics via science, but the
conceptualizations and even the mathematical language is still
incompletely and imperfectly representative of the ultimate reality. So
when anyone sets words to the "music of the spheres", it must apparently
always of necessity reflect the limitations of the "teller", and the
language used can at most comprise a "best effort" which depends upon
exactly what limited aspect of the greater story is being portrayed, and
what the particular writer brings to bear on the challenge of
description, of him/herself in that moment.


Alexanian, Moorad wrote:

> I suppose I am still stuck on the notion of how a scientific
> development of life on Earth "allows" sin to enter into animals that
> henceforth became humans. Note that the notion of sin has no place in
> a scientific theory. Does that mean that something or someone from
> "outside" stepped in and added that element in the animal world to
> "change" some primates into humans? If so, then, how do we study the
> history of the universe and know when and how that someone from
> "outside" stepped in and made some changes in the time-development of
> the universe? Do we minimize that "interference" or maximize it? Who
> is to tell what occurred in the past and how to tell?
> Moorad
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> From: []
> On Behalf Of Gregory Arago
> Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 9:24 AM
> To: Terry M. Gray;
> Subject: Re: [asa] Believing Scripture but Playing by Sciences Rules
> Thank you for this post, Terry. Such honesty about the acceptability
> of having a divided mind about evolution is refreshing to hear.
> Can I ask you if you think 'human evolution' is a question/topic that
> should be asked/raised solely in natural sciences or elsewhere in the
> academy as well?
> One small quibble would be to point out that neither science nor
> scripture 'speak for themself.' They are interpreted by human beings
> (or really clever animals, in the former case), thus the terms 'single
> hermeneutic' and 'double hermenuetic.' E.g. P. Clayton says: "even the
> natural sciences are hermeneutical."
> (
> (I enjoyed the poke at process philosophers near the end.)
> Arago
> Note: Clayton's book on Arthur Peacocke, "A Naturalistic Christian
> Faith for the 21st Century" comes out this year, in case anyone here
> might be interested in the issue of Christian Naturalism or
> Naturalistic Christianity.
> "Terry M. Gray" <> wrote:
> Ok, ok. I confess!
> So I too believe in and strive for a unity of knowledge. But I too,
> when it comes to human evolution, have a somewhat divided mind. I've
> called it "cognitive dissonance". I see nothing wrong with the
> scientific arguments for human evolution. I am also convinced that
> scripture teaches a special creation of Adam and Eve (perhaps not
> necessarily their bodies). On the surface (and well under the
> surface) those two views are at odds with each other. I've struggled
> over the years with you all and with the churches that I've been
> associated with to find a suitable solution that satisfies both. I've
> yet to hear of one (sorry to both Glenn and Dick--you've yet to
> convince me). Thus, I remain in this state of having a divided mind
> on this--I let the science speak for itself (and I fully believe that
> my science and it's methodology is rooted in a Christian worldview)
> and I let the scripture speak for itself (of course, within a certain
> theological and exegetical tradition that I also am convinced is
> sound).
> ...
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Ask a question on any topic and get answers from real people. Go to
> Yahoo! Answers. <>

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Received on Tue Feb 13 12:55:07 2007

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