[asa] Re: design and the nature of science

From: Merv Bitikofer <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Date: Tue Jun 16 2009 - 07:39:41 EDT

Responding just to your first objection shown below: What about
Matthew 5:45 or 10:29? When God sends the rain on both the just and
the unjust, does that mean that this rain cannot have been caused by
normal means of adiabatic cooling, condensation, and gravity? You
would probably agree that this is silly. So does that then mean that
Jesus was wrong to say that God ever sends the rain since these laws are
always in play? I think we also all should see Jesus' point here as
well. God is involved even where we have observed what we think of as
"rigid laws" (even if we can't specify exactly physically how). Our
theological (not physical) observation is that God is not removed from
the picture. Or in the second verse, we are told that not a sparrow
alights on the ground apart from the Father's will. Such is the
intimacy of His involvement that nothing is so insignificant that it is
"beneath" His will. Incidentally, I was told by somebody that where
our English translations say "fall to the ground" potentially giving an
image of a sparrow dying, that the Hebrew phrase was more to the
effect: Not a sparrow "lands" or "alights" ... which would render the
passage even more meaningful or poignant. Are there Hebrew scholars
here that can confirm this?

--Merv

Cameron Wybrow wrote:
> David:
>
> First, a rigid Laplacian universe *does* remove God from the picture,
> in a very important sense. If God chooses to work *only* through laws
> (which I take it is what you mean by "rigid"), then God is *not*
> actively involved in the day-to-day events of the universe. You can
> say he is "involved" only in two senses:
>
> 1. He is the originator of the laws, and therefore whatever they do
> is ultimately caused by him.
> 2. He "concurs" with the laws, i.e., sustains them, gives them his
> blessing to continue.
>
> Note that in neither of these meanings does God have a *special
> involvement* in particular events. He does not appear "on site" to do
> anything that the laws would not do of themselves. (Nothing you have
> said about the Westminister Confession etc. alters this in the
> slightest. We are speaking here about a rigid Laplacian universe, not
> about the traditional Christian understanding of the universe, which
> in no way requires or demands a rigid Laplacianism. And I hope it is
> clear that I am not endorsing rigid Laplacianism, but merely
> indicating what role it gives to God in natural events.)
>
> In a "rigid Laplacean" view of the universe, you can of course have
> special actions of God as exceptions to the normal rule of law. But
> then you have to speak of God as "breaking" the laws of nature, or
> "suspending" them, etc. In other words, you supplement the notion of
> "law" with a notion of "miracle" in order to squeeze in certain events
> in the history of Israel, and perhaps even for things like miraculous
> healings now and then. Many traditional Christians for the last few
> hundred years have been content with some such notion of "law plus
> miracles".
>
> In the 20th century, however, many Christian theologians have been
> dissatisfied with this account of things. They have sought an account
> of nature in which law can be combined with divine special
> involvement, without the language of "breaking" natural laws. Indeed,
> that is why the quantum indeterminacy argument is so important. It is
> precisely because quantum indeterminacy seems to mean that nature is
> to some extent "open" (I believe that is the word that George Murphy
> used), that one can imagine not just God's *general* action
> (concurrence, blessing and sustaining the laws), but also God's
> *special* action (his local influence on particular events in human or
> cosmic history) as part of the explanation for what happens in the
> world, without subtracting anything from the law-bound character of
> nature.
>
> In any case, Darwin knew nothing of quantum indeterminacy. His notion
> of nature was a typical 19th-century one, influenced by Newton,
> Descartes, Kant, Laplace, etc. He thought that laws more or less
> accurately described how nature worked, and that science's job was to
> find such laws, and that applied to biology as well.
>

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Received on Tue Jun 16 07:39:49 2009

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