Re: [asa] Suffering/Predation in the natural order

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Thu Jul 10 2008 - 15:58:35 EDT

Bingo! Advanced potentials provide at least a physical analogy for the idea of divine action from the future. & of course there are other possibilities in physics for sending signals back in time. The paper I plan to give at the ASA meeting next month will deal discuss these ideas & suggest possible theological connections.

For those not conversant with the relevant physics & math: Because it takes a time D/c for an electromagnetic wave to travel from a source to an observer a distance D away, one would expect the wave that arrives at the observer at time t to depend on the state of the source at time t - D/c. This is the wave represented by the retarded potentials. The equation for EM waves (derived from Maxwell's equations) does have such a solution, but there is also a solution that depends on the state of the source at time t + D/c, so that the observer "sees" the future condition of the source. This second solution is the advanced potentials.

Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Alexanian, Moorad
  To: George Murphy ; Ted Davis ; asa@calvin.edu ; muzhogg@netspace.net.au
  Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:00 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Suffering/Predation in the natural order

  George, perhaps only physicists will understand my comment but what you say sounds very much like the difference between using advanced (future) or retarded (past) potentials to describe electromagnetic fields, which is based on time-reversal invariance.

  Moorad

   

  From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of George Murphy
  Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 2:31 PM
  To: Ted Davis; asa@calvin.edu; muzhogg@netspace.net.au
  Subject: Re: [asa] Suffering/Predation in the natural order

   

  I have said here before (& in my PSCF review of Anticipating Omega) that I think the idea of God's action from the future is very important & offers possibilities for rethinking a number of theological issues. It's not clear though that it adds anything radically new to the problems of suffering & evil. The fact that God creates from the future doesn't mean that the present is unreal, & evil that takes place now, natural or moral, is still evil. In addition, the Christian tradition has always held that in God's final future "All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well" as the Lord told Lady Julian.

   

  I ought to note, in response to someone who spoke of "the argument from evil," that I am certainly not trying to present any argument for the non-existence of God when I say that we shouldn't try to sweep natural evil under the rug. But atheists who do try to make that kind of argument probably won't be very impressed by the the idea that God creates from the future. That will be seen as just a variation on the pie in the sky theme.

   

  Shalom
  George
  http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/

   

  ----- Original Message -----

  From: "Ted Davis" <tdavis@messiah.edu>

  To: <asa@calvin.edu>; <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>

  Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 8:51 AM

  Subject: Re: [asa] Suffering/Predation in the natural order

   

> One of the most helpful responses to this, IMO the most serious theological
> problem of all (ie, the problem of suffering, or "death before the fall"),
> is by theologian Robert J Russell, in his new book "Cosmology From Alpha to
> Omega." It's far too detailed to put briefly here, except to say that he
> believes (with Polkinghorne, his colleague Ted Peters, and others) that God
> creates from the future, as it were. I've always told my students that the
> theodicy problem can be put this way: Why didn't God make heaven now?", and
> Russell's approach is to take that route.
>
> http://www.amazon.com/Cosmology-Alpha-Robert-John-Russell/dp/0800662733
> https://www.episcopalbookstore.com/product.asp_Q_crit_E_3486
>
> Also like Polkinghorne and Peters, Russell unabashedly affirms the bodily
> resurrection of Jesus--and of ourselves, in the new heaven and earth. His
> is IMO a fully orthodox theology of creation. Highly recommended.
>
> Ted
>
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Received on Thu Jul 10 16:02:03 2008

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