Re: [asa] The Definition of TE: Explicit versus implicit

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Fri Oct 30 2009 - 14:34:22 EDT

Great post, Bill. I can sympathize with much of it. However, it not
"the church" that is at fault -- for we Christians ARE "the church"
There are church buildings, but they just exist so the church has a
place to gather. There are church organizations, one being the PCUSA
to which I belong, but they are just exist as societies where the
church can work things out.

John Burgeson

On 10/30/09, Bill Powers <> wrote:
> Cameron:
> I think there is another genuine position that is suggested by your list of
> possibilities. You apparently want to leave open the possibility of ID.
> There are other possibilities as well. By identifying oneself with any
> particular group it seems that one simultaneously denies the possibility of
> something else.
> My position, as I have been trying for a very long time to clarify to
> myself,
> is that of robust possibility (RP). The fundamental justification for this
> position is my firm commitment to certain principles, including
> 1) God is absolutely free to do whatever He wills.
> 2) Man's knowledge can be utterly false.
> 3) God's Word is true, and that Word is held in Scripture.
> 4) God is actively immanent in His creation.
> There may be more, but these are sufficient to begin describing the
> position.
> The intention here is to uncompromisingly hold to certain truths regarding
> man, God, and His Word prior to the investigation of any evidence.
> With these commitments & given the many evidences available to man, I hold
> to
> the robust possibility of all versions of evolution. Yes, I said all,
> including YEC, neo-darwinism, ID, front-loading, etc. The only version of
> evolution that I would reject is any that posits there is no Creator. I
> don't
> believe neo-darwinism explicitly holds this position.
> This perspective is evidenced in a number of other so-called theological
> controversies. For example, I hold robust possibility with regard to the
> existence of an independent soul (i.e., it's up to God not me or my reason
> to
> decide) and to the classic view of God that He knows all times and futures.
> Frankly, I find all of these arguments to be irrelevant to my fundamental
> relationship with God, with Christ, and His Salvation. Any who disagree
> employ deductive arguments based upon some definition of God and what He
> could
> or couldn't do. I don't completely trust any of these arguments. This is
> because I don't believe God, or any being, can be exhaustively defined,
> least
> of all God. He is a Person, not an idea.
> As I have been trying to formulate this position, I have realized that at
> least some of my Christian friends have adopted a similar position. Many of
> them were, or might still consider themselves, to be YEC. But what they do
> not want to do, as I refuse to do, is to deny that some form of evolution
> has
> occurred, thereby binding God by their interpretation of His Word.
> I have been circulating a survey, and one of the questions on the survey
> asks
> whether if evolution is true, then Christianity is false. I have found no
> one
> that affirms this. I believe that there are few, if any, who identify
> themselves as YEC who would believe that evolution and Christianity are
> contraries.
> I would ask a similar question here:
> If YEC is true, then is Christianity false?
> I suspect that few, if any, would say so. Nonetheless I have found amongst
> many who zealously oppose a YEC view the following kind of argument.
> 1) If YEC is true, God is a liar.
> 2) God is not a Liar.
> 3) Therefore, YEC is false.
> This position is dangerously close to the following argument.
> 1) If there is a God, He is not a Liar.
> 2) If YEC is true, God is a Liar.
> 3) YEC is true
> 4) Therefore, there is no God.
> The problematic premise in both arguments is that if YEC is true, God is a
> Liar. This premise violates my principles (1) and (2) above. It is surely
> possible, it seems to me, that God could have created the world in Six Days
> exactly as literally described in Genesis 1-3 and that my reason and
> understanding can be utterly wrong, no matter how plausible and trustworthy
> they may seem to me or anyone.
> What this means ultimately is that my position is more theological than
> scientific. I have long held and argued that evolution could be "good
> science" and even is "good science" and yet be utterly wrong. What this
> suggests is the possibility that it is the "best that men can do."
> My more fundamental commitments are to notions such as
> 1) Original sin
> 2) A Fall
> 3) God's intimate and direct participation and sustenance of His creation in
> all its aspects.
> I do not, therefore, hold that science or any evidence can overthrow them.
> They are not up for grabs.
> I suspect there are many who have similar commitments. I think that is
> evident in ASA publications and discussions on this list. Often we see
> authors struggling to cohere there commitment to some derivative of modern
> science with those beliefs. Why would they do so if they did not hold them,
> in some sense, to be more fundamental?
> It is possible that in this endless debate regarding evolution and
> Christianity that if we lay out our fundamental commitments, something
> fruitful might result. It may be that we will find more agreement here than
> we suspect.
> What theology (however you define the term) do you suppose could be possibly
> overthrown by man's natural knowledge? What would be the consequence of
> such
> an overthrow?
> bill

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Received on Fri Oct 30 14:34:44 2009

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