Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Tue May 19 2009 - 08:32:43 EDT

Hi Iain,

 

"It prompts a further question for Mike to answer. I am an only child. I would have had a brother or sister at the age of two, but my mother was ill during the pregnancy and miscarried at six months.
If I had had a brother or sister, my life would have been entirely different - a sibling to spar with etc. Maybe my education, my academic interests, what university I went to, what job I took, what town I settled in would have been different. So, if in this alternate reality I got married, it would almost certainly have been to a different woman because I would never have met my wife to fall in love with her. So my children, Jessica (18) and Matthew (15) would never have been born.
So the simple question is this. In creating the individuals Jessica Strachan and Matthew Strachan, did God deliberately arrange for my mother to have a distressing and painful miscarriage?"

 

I do not think so, as I do not think God is a puppet-master. Yet you are entirely correct that you identity, and the existence of your children, is tied up in the fact that your mother had a distressing and painful miscarriage.

 

What this means is if God wanted to bring you into existence, He had to bring this past into existence. That's why I call it the 'Package Deal.' Among all the possible, infinite Universes to create, God freely chose to create the one in which Iain (and Mike, Ted, Cameron, Gregory) exist. He chose this precisely because it was the one in which Iain, Mike, Ted, Cameron, and Gregory exist. To bring us into existence means our particular contingent pasts come with it, because without it, we, as who we are, could not be brought into existence.

 

And then the Problem of Evil becomes the problem of us. The problem of me. And the shadow of the Cross is seen.

-Mike

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Iain Strachan
  To: Cameron Wybrow
  Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
  Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 2:37 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

  I think Cameron has a very good answer here.

  It prompts a further question for Mike to answer. I am an only child. I would have had a brother or sister at the age of two, but my mother was ill during the pregnancy and miscarried at six months.

  If I had had a brother or sister, my life would have been entirely different - a sibling to spar with etc. Maybe my education, my academic interests, what university I went to, what job I took, what town I settled in would have been different. So, if in this alternate reality I got married, it would almost certainly have been to a different woman because I would never have met my wife to fall in love with her. So my children, Jessica (18) and Matthew (15) would never have been born.

  So the simple question is this. In creating the individuals Jessica Strachan and Matthew Strachan, did God deliberately arrange for my mother to have a distressing and painful miscarriage?

  Regards,
  Iain

  On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 11:40 PM, Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca> wrote:

    Hi, Mike!

    I can't comment on Simon Conway Morris or the BioLogos site, but I find your line of argument here puzzling, in light of other things you've written here.

    You assert that God creates individuals, e.g., Ted Davis. And I gather that you wholeheartedly accept biological evolution and other natural processes (geology, stellar evolution, and so on). Now how would God create Ted Davis, working through such natural processes? Let's say that Ted Davis is white (I don't know, because I've never met him, but it's just an example, so it doesn't matter), and let's say that God wanted Ted Davis to be white; God then can't have Ted's parents being Chinese or Watusi. So God has to arrange for Caucasian ancestry for Ted. And it means more than this. In addition to general Caucasian features, Ted inherits unique traits from both parents. God therefore has to arrange for Ted's parents to marry. He also has to arrange for the marriages of *their* parents, to make sure that they have the right genes to pass on to Ted. In order for everything to work out, he has to arrange for genetic ancestries still further back, and for that to work out, he has to arrange for economic and social conditions which cause certain people to emigrate from certain countries to America at certain times, to meet exactly the right people in America, to fall in love, etc. So he has to have complete control over personal romantic tastes and over the social and economic history of Europe and America as well as over genetic makeup. And so on. When you work that out, God has to set up a chain of necessity all the way from the Big Bang forward, which will make it inevitable that exactly Ted Davis and not someone else will be produced. That's a degree of necessity beyond Conway Morris and even beyond Michael Denton. It's a necessitarianism that would do Calvin or Spinoza proud. Is this what you are saying is required by Christian theology? And if so, how does it fit in with your message of a few days ago, where you said that it didn't really matter how God created us (through Darwinian processes or front-loading or miraculous interventions or any other way)? It seems to me that, given your current concern, only the most stringent front-loading model could fit in with the claim that God created us all as individuals. And it's a model which appears to do away with human free will, since even one fickle moment in a young English immigrant lass's life might well spell the end of Ted Davis. (And none of us would wish to be without Ted Davis.)

    I'm not denying that God creates individuals, but it's unclear to me how you can insist that he creates very specific individuals on one hand, and on the other hand say that it really doesn't matter how God interacts with the evolutionary process. If he interacts with the evolutionary process in a purely Darwinian way (i.e., in plain language, does not interact at all, but keeps his hands off and watches the cosmic dice rolling), he not only can't guarantee Ted Davis, he cannot even guarantee the existence of any human being at all. Are you backtracking on your earlier position, and demanding a rigorous determinism?

    Cameron.

    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Nucacids" <nucacids@wowway.com>
    To: "Ted Davis" <TDavis@messiah.edu>; <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
    Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 12:43 PM

    Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

      Hi Ted,

      The page reads:

      "Simon Conway Morris presents a different perspective, arguing humans, OR
      A HUMAN-LIKE SPECIES, are actually an inevitable part of evolution."
      (emphasis added)

      "Or a human-like species means" that humans were NOT an inevitable part of
      evolution. If God's intent was to create a human-like species through
      evolution, and we humans exist simply because we happened to be among the
      larger class known as human-like species, the existence of Ted Davis was
      not intended by God (let alone any other member of our species). As far
      as God is concerned, a talking dolphin could have filled your shoes.

      -Mike

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Received on Tue May 19 08:42:55 2009

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