Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ID detection?)

From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Tue Apr 22 2008 - 06:46:54 EDT

David -

1st of all, a perhaps obvious caveat: While Torrance's work - & especially the basic idea of his positive completion of Barth's treatment of natural theology - has been quite helpful to me, I don't agree with everything he said. His defence of the extra calvinisticum is one example.

That said, one of his big emphases in talking about creation was contingency. (E.g., his book Divine and Contingent Order.) In the quote below "contingent" doesn't modify "rationality" but in other places it does - e.g., he talked in one lecture about "the doctrine of the contingent rationality of the universe." In fact, his ideas were the inspiration for the statement that God "endowed it [the universe] with contingent order and intelligibility" in the ASA Statement of Faith.

Contingent rationality means that while the creation is rational, God could have created universes which were rational in different ways. (The discovery of non-Euclidean geometries is an important factor in seeing this from the scientific side.) Ditto for other aspects of the world. There is no one-to-one relationship between the attributes of God & those of the universe. That means that we can't read off any information about God from our study of the universe.

Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: George Murphy
  Cc: asa@calvin.edu
  Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 7:49 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ID detection?)

  Thanks George. I don't have Theological Science handy, but Torrance does at least understand the creation to reflect God's trinitarian character, what he calls an "analogia relationalis," doesn't he? Doesn't this go beyond the cruciform character of creation? I admit I haven't studied Torrance carefully enough here (much less Barth!) but the quote below from Torrance's "The Christian Doctrine of God," p. 224, doesn't seem completely inapposite to the quote I gave from Bonaventure:

    "He does not abandon the world to blind chance or impersonal necessity, or determinst law, far less to irrational and malign forces. On the contrary . . . God endows it with a creaturely rationality and contingent freedom of its own which he undergirds and affirms through the freedom of his spirit to be present within it and realize its relation to himself. Thereby he correlates its creaturely rationality with his own transcendent Rationality, and its limited creaturely freedom with his own unlimited freedom."

  I guess one difference is that Bonaventure seems to understand the analogia entis as a necessary aspect of creation -- if God created, then creation must have certain qualities -- while Torrance is suggesting that creation has certain qualities not because it must, but because God relates lovingly to creation and therefore desires for this to be so? Yet, it seems to me we could still say that Dave C.'s condition 2a could conceivably be satisified if we assume that the triune God is the creator. (Hopefully this isn't coming across as too much academish skubala. Someday, Lord willing, I'll have time to really read Torrance deeply. Beautiful writer, brilliant mind.).

  On Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 7:20 PM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:

    In the Fourth Gospel the glory of God is revealed in Jesus' "hour" - i.e., in the cross-resurrection event. The heavens do not show us that. From the standpoint of faith, however, we can see the mark of the cross on creation.

    On pp.189 - 190 of Theological Science Torrance rejects the analogia entis.

    I think Barth was speaking a bit (!) too strongly when he called the analogia entis "the mark of Antichrist." But it's a bad & misleading idea.

    Shalom
    George
    http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: David Opderbeck
      To: George Murphy
      Cc: asa@calvin.edu
      Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 5:39 PM
      Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ID detection?)

       I think Psalm 19 and Romans 1 say a bit more than just that people should be able to know there is a God from the creation. Psalm 19 says the heavens declare God's "glory" and that creation "pours forth speach" and "reveals knowledge"; Romans 1:20 says the creation displays God's "invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature."

      Isn't there a place for the analogia entis in Torrance's reformulation of natural theology?

      On Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 5:21 PM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:

        Scripture has no natural theology, modest ot otherwise. It suggests, at most, that people should be able to know that there is a God from the creation. But the bare existence of God tells us nothing about the character of God - i.e., what God is like. & that's what the analogia entis claims.

        God's actions in history, culminating in Christ, show us the character of God.

        Shalom
        George
        http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: David Opderbeck
          To: George Murphy
          Cc: David Campbell ; asa@calvin.edu
          Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 4:15 PM
          Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ID detection?)

          Ah, I knew we'd hear the Lutheran critique! :-)

          I wouldn't say the analogia entis is purely speculative -- it seems to me to reflect scripture's own modest natural theology (Ps. 119, Rom. 1:20)

          On Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 4:08 PM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:

            The analogia entis is purely speculative - there is no reason to think that the creation has to resemble the creator. To put it in terms of the two books metaphor, the "book of nature" tells us about nature, not the author of nature. Ezra Pound's quip is relevant: "You can spot the the bad critic when he starts by discussing the poet and not the poem."

            Shalom
            George
            http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: David Opderbeck
              To: David Campbell
              Cc: asa@calvin.edu
              Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 12:56 PM
              Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ID detection?)

              #2a is where, IMHO, ID shoots itself in the foot by denying that the designer must be God. One could make a theological argument that if the creation reflects God's character, and if humans are made in the image of God, then we do have at least some information about what God as designer would or would not do. This is the analogia entis, the analogy of being, which is a kind of natural theology (but not the strong kind of argument from design advanced by Paley). Bonaventure offered a medieval understanding of the analogia entis as follows:

                "All created things of the sensible world lead the mind of the contemplator and wise man to eternal God... They are the shades, the resonances, the pictures of that efficient, exemplifying, and ordering art; they are the tracks, simulacra, and spectacles; they are divinely given signs set before us for the purpose of seeing God. They are exemplifications set before our still unrefined and sense-oriented minds, so that by the sensible things which they see they might be transferred to the intelligible which they cannot see, as if by signs to the signified" (Itinerarium mentis ad Deum, 2.11, as quoted p. 165).

              Good discussion of the analogia entis, the protestant-Lutheran-Barthian response to it, and a balanced perspective, here: http://millinerd.com/2006/12/whos-afraid-of-analogia-entis.html

                On Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 11:45 AM, David Campbell <pleuronaia@gmail.com> wrote:

                Design could be detected scientifically if:
                1) it is clearly defined as to what is or is not designed

                and

                2a) either we have information about what a designer would or would not do

                or

                2b) we have a large sample of known examples of designed and
                non-designed objects from which we can characterize patterns.

                Both multiverse and pro-ID fine-tuning arguments run afoul of
                criterion 2. We need to know either who the designer is and what
                actions he/she/it/they would take (both ID and atheism advocates
                profess ignorance about who yet certainty about what actions are
                expected, an implausible position) or else need something like the
                answer to the old spoof exam question "Describe the universe and give
                three examples", except that only three examples won't give you enough
                statistical confidence.

                In the case of human activity, we have fairly good ideas about both 2a
                and 2b. If "design" is defined as intentional human action, we can
                compare things made by non-human natural agents with things made by
                people and thus have a good idea as to whether, e.g., a crudely flaked
                flint pebble was deliberately shaped by an early hominid or trampled
                by a herd of antelope.

                --
                Dr. David Campbell
                425 Scientific Collections
                University of Alabama
                "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"

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              --
              David W. Opderbeck
              Associate Professor of Law
              Seton Hall University Law School
              Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

          --
          David W. Opderbeck
          Associate Professor of Law
          Seton Hall University Law School
          Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

      --
      David W. Opderbeck
      Associate Professor of Law
      Seton Hall University Law School
      Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

  --
  David W. Opderbeck
  Associate Professor of Law
  Seton Hall University Law School
  Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Apr 22 06:56:27 2008

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