Re: [asa] Divine action and QM--a major ID supporter weighs in--for Timaeus

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sun Dec 07 2008 - 09:50:04 EST

I'm also having a little trouble now with your reference to angels. You speak of medieval, but I'm not sure of what you mean. The term 'estendra' is dated from the 13th century, Anglo-French. But it seems you might be using the 17th century Cartesian understanding of res extensa, to distinguish between mind and matter.
So, when you suggest that angels are spirits that are 'non-extended,' I'd like to have a reference. For example, Anne Conway believed that angels are spirits extended from our Lord. If you are making the argument that 'extended' is equal only to physical-material substance (i.e. as a Cartesian would), then you'll have to contend with such current expressions as 'extend your hand,' which is consistent with a person's 'will to agree,' or with 'extend a contract,' which signifies a willingness to prolong an agreement. 
In either of these two situations, the notion of 'detection' is not altogether difficult to make. And so perhaps angels are not entirely 'unextended' afterall, if by that simply means 'non-existent' according to natural science. If you would wish to argue that angels are not 'in space' using the phrase 'not extended' then you'll have to do more to make your point clear. To me, Murray Hogg's recent discussion at ASA list of space and time as mysterious and not as simply or only rationally-scientific might be a helpful reference.

--- On Sun, 12/7/08, D. F. Siemens, Jr. <> wrote:

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Subject: Re: [asa] Divine action and QM--a major ID supporter weighs in--for Timaeus
Received: Sunday, December 7, 2008, 1:58 AM

I'm having a little trouble with your reference to angels. Every reference to angels in scripture has them visible in space and acting in space--speaking, setting fire to things, causing death, etc. But the medieval discussion made it clear that they were spirits and consequently not extended. This almost certainly makes them nonphysical, unless they are on a mission requiring visibility. The reference to the temptations specifically mention angels, but detection provides an apparent impossibility.
Dave (ASA)
On Sun, 7 Dec 2008 00:36:29 +0900 "dawson wayne" <> writes:

Probably the one place where everyone agrees is that we all would find it reassuring to know the truth.  If we have thought seriously about our Christian faith at all, I'm sure most of us have struggled with some level of doubt.  Yet we are sufficiently persuaded somehow that Christ was crucified, dead and buried and rose on the third day.  
I wonder if it is that insecurity and doubt that makes us grasp for science; maybe envy too.  It would be so much easier if we could just say "science proves.... "; no more arguing, just the facts and all wrapped up in an airtight presentation, like an undergraduate physics or chemistry textbook.   
I became a Christian while I was in the university, and what started me on my journey into science was a desire for some evidential reason I could justify my faith on.  Science was very dazzling, being someone from outside, and it seemed like the convenient tool (or weapon) to do that job.  
But now that I have some clearer idea of what science actually is, I find it no so simple.  
The first problem I see is that we cannot really put these problems in a standard test like we would with science.  For example, recall how the devil tempted Jesus by asking him to jump off the top of the temple.  Now, if I want to do any science on this problem, not only would I ask him to jump off, if he did that, I would as him to do a back flip, and then a double summersalt.  If we got that far, then I'd look for probes to put up there and  I'd keep looking for some way to find the mechanism that is supposed to hold him up (purportedly the angels).  Certainly, if I found a reliable and reproducable way to detect angels, that would be a perfectly good scientific paper.  So my audacity has gone far beyond even what the Devil tempted Jesus with; but this is what I would do, indeed, what I must do, if I claim to be doing "science" on such matter s.
It would seem that whatever mechanism (or mechanisms) God uses to interact with the world, he is not willing to share it with us; perhaps for good reason.  We are therefore forced to accept that we cannot prove our faith, and to a large extent, we must live with that.
I have the impression that Augustine basically came to the conclusion that faith could only come through grace because of this very reason.  I'm sure even in his time (something of an ancient world equivalent of internationalization), some people found they could not believe in Jesus because it wasn't "intellectual" and "high tech" enough for their more sophisticated world views.  Some people, God could reach, others, well....
by Grace we proceed,
Wayne __________________________________________________________________ Be smarter than spam. See how smart SpamGuard is at giving junk email the boot with the All-new Yahoo! Mail. Click on Options in Mail and switch to New Mail today or register for free at

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Dec 7 09:50:31 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Dec 07 2008 - 09:50:31 EST