Re: [asa] Four views

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 12:34:05 EST

"God's historical" revelation cannot simply be equated with the Bible. Scripture is, to be precise, the inspired witness to, & reflection on, that revelation. Science should be taken into account when we read the Bible but in that regard it's the servant, not the master. It doesn't determine the central message of scripture.

If we're just interested in understanding the world then yea, science should be free of religious constraints - which is what's meant by methodological naturalism.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: George Cooper
  Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 12:17 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Four views

  George: An appropriate natural theology does not start from our observations of the world but from God's historical revelation which is centered on Christ & his cross & resurrection. Then we can view the world in the context of the belief that the God who is revealed in the history of Israel & the Israelite Jesus is the creator of the world.


  Coope: Yet if I were a YECist, would I not agree with this view, ignoring the subtlety of your use of “historical” revelation -- since that which is literal is historical?


  As much as I agree with maintaining a Christ-centered perspective, there are times when scientific observations must be seen first in the objective sense and independent, as best we can, of our particular faith, which itself is based on interpretation and possible change. [I am not talking of the main tenets to our faith (at least mine), but more to Genesis 1 and 2.]






  From: [] On Behalf Of George Murphy
  Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 9:47 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Four views


  An appropriate natural theology does not start from our observations of the world but from God's historical revelation which is centered on Christ & his cross & resurrection. Then we can view the world in the context of the belief that the God who is revealed in the history of Israel & the Israelite Jesus is the creator of the world. That's quite similar to McGrath's approach. (Not surprisingly since he & I both get the basic idea from Torrance.)



    ----- Original Message -----



    Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 10:30 AM

    Subject: Re: [asa] Four views


    that's a great response to what I wrote. My view starts out by noting there is an apparent tension in Scripture between:

    1. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Rom 1:20)


    2. Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel. (Isaiah 45:15), and "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children" (Matt.11:25), and "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them." (Matt.13:10b-11)

    How do these fit together? Is theology "clearly seen" or is it "hidden"? I think the answer is that natural theology has a real voice but that it is ineffectual at leading people to God, not because it is lacking, but because mankind is dead and thus unable to hear it. The passage in Rom. 1 isn't telling us how people come to believe in God. Instead, it is telling us why people who don't come to God are culpable in their unbelief. It never hints that creation (natural theology) is actually effectual in leading anybody to believe. But if scientific rigor could be brought to bear in natural theology, then it would be simply a matter of mathematical proof (such as we see in ID) to force people to hear it. It would be effectual. I believe that is the part of ID that is inherently unscriptural. I heard Alister McGrath give his view on this, and I agreed with him. Natural theology addresses us in the entirety of our personhood, giving us a spiritual comprehension that God exists and this is what makes us culpable as we continue to mentally and volitionally deny him. This spiritual comprehension doesn't address our minds with proofs that would effectually force us into mental assent. That would be incompatible with (2) above, the witness of Scripture that God has set things up so that He hides from those unwilling to repent. So I think ID is unscriptural because it attempts to make logical arguments that demand mental assent independent of our willingness to repent and thus presents itself as being intellectually undeniable.




    -----Original Message-----
    From: Jon Tandy <>
    Sent: Thu, 1820Dec 2008 9:52 am
    Subject: RE: [asa] Four views



    Your claim is, ID is unbiblical because it says: "Design is only detectable to scientists who can probe the structures of the flagellum, etc." This may be a reasonable point, but I think it is overstating or misstating the ID case, and therefore is overreaching. As far as I know, they don't say that God's design is only detectable by microbiologists and information theorists. Those are just evidentiary paths that the leaders of ID use to justify the design inference from scientific evidence, but it is used to support what they would claim is a more general fact of our ability to detect design in nature, which is evident even to those without scientific sophistication.


    There may be other ways in which ID could be unbiblical (or at least extra-biblical), such as requiring that God's action must be scientifically detectable, or when it heads down "God of the gaps" rabbit trails. Your argument may even be valid if ID leaders claimed that their sophisticated reasons are the only types of places where design is evident. But I don't know that they generally make this type of claim.


    Jon Tandy


    From: [] On Behalf Of
    Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 8:30 AM
    Subject: Re: [asa] Four views


    Randy wrote:

      I'm not sure why you say "ID strikes me as entirely unbiblical." That doesn't seem fair to me. It may be non-biblical in the sense that it doesn't address nor reflect biblically based concepts. But it isn't opposed to biblical ideas, is it? Maybe to some degree, to the extent that ID may insist on design being detectable in a particular manner.

    Phil's reply:

    Hi Randy,
    Well, of course I don't think that the ID'ers are trying to be non-biblical, or that they even realize that ID is not very well aligned with Scripture. But I believe it is contrary to the major theme of the NT that "God hides from the wise and reveals himself to babes," and "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these [children]," and "where are the wise of this world?...God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise..." This theme seems pretty central. I don't think we can set it aside without losing something of the general tenor of biblical Christianity. But it is the kind of thing that people can and do set aside to their own satisfaction quite easily. It's tough for us biased humans to really align ourselves with truth. If there is no mathematical or scientific process to approach a particular branch of truth, then it is almost hopeless to get everyone to align with it. So=2 0it is with Scriptural epistemology. So if the ID'ers think they've discovered a way to prove God's design, then the excitement of that will probably carry them along for many years and they will be unable to see past it and thus align themselves with the overall epistemology of Scripture.





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Received on Thu Dec 18 12:34:49 2008

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