Re: [asa] Star of Bethlehem presentation?

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Sun Nov 22 2009 - 21:13:00 EST

I wanted to comment about concordism (I am not rejecting your view), but I
will now have to wait to comment.

John says:

> If God wound up the universe in the Big Bang and let it unwind according
> the laws of physics, it would be predestined that these events would occur
> at some point.

The idea that 13 billion years ago God set the laws of physics in motion
with some initial conditions, and this determines a physical event in our
current history makes no sense to me. Its the opposite of what Polkinghorne
was trying to say about non-determinism.

> So if God is omniscient and wants to use this event as a sign, it is as
> simple as timing the advent of Christ accordingly. Easy peasy!
> This goes for all the other prophecies in the OT as well. Do you reject
> those for the same reason?

I would reject them under those deistic type conditions. But the deistic
conditions are not necessary unless one believes a priori that God cannot
stick His finger into the universe after initially setting it up.

The very idea that Jesus was simultaneously divine and physical demonstrates
that God sticks His finger in the universe. God walked on the water and the
sand. He left footprints. Since He can do that he can also manipulate
historical events. He doesn't have to use a long causal chain of natural
events to effect a tweak in a historical event.
The entire objection to non-deistic Christianity is based on the idea that
His reach into the universe is a zero length causal chain, i.e., he cannot
reach into the universe at all. Except at the beginning. You seem to be
postulating that He affects events via a 13 billion year long causal chain
that is deterministic. But everything we know about the universe says it is
not deterministic. I don't see deism being consistent with physics.

This is an important disagreement. If people believe deism is consistent
with physics, well, they have to demonstrate that.

> John
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Merv Bitikofer <>
> To: David Clounch <>; asa <>
> Sent: Sun, November 22, 2009 8:33:00 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Star of Bethlehem presentation?
> Okay -- you uncover my weakness! Maybe this (the whole star presentation)
> is one of my few remaining concessions to concordism. I guess as long as I
> don't try to make my faith lean to heavily (or at all) on our modern
> speculation about process, I'll probably be okay. But just for the record,
> theologically speaking, I don't find the notion of a sovereign God
> orchestrating the events of our universe to be far out. Indeed I have faith
> that such is the case even if I can't make complete sense of that
> scientifically or philosophically. Where science (if it is legitimately
> done) may happen to reveal such things, I find it fascinating. Where
> science (if its legitimately done) would correct an errant understanding of
> history, it is the truth-seeker's job (mine and yours) to stand corrected.
> --Merv
> David Clounch wrote:
> > Merv,
> >
> > It has never occurred to me to attribute it to cosmic phenomena period.
> In spite of the astronomers looking for a cosmic explanation. I just
> ignored that. After all, I also don't believe St Nick was Santa Claus, and I
> don't believe in weeping statues or the shroud of Turin. (However, I do
> believe in St Patrick. [see footnote 1])
> >
> > But on the other hand, one thing I've never noticed is anybody looking
> for a non cosmic explanation.
> > I'm not naysaying Larson. Never heard of him. But I've been reading
> these cosmic theories for decades. I think they were invented in modern
> times by folks looking for a way that God didn't really get involved in
> the advent. There are philosophical camps that prefer that sort of
> explanation, and theologians that follow those camps of thought. But I am
> skeptical. The idea that God pre-programmed the universe to give just the
> right solar system is ... far out? For example, maybe the universe was
> also pre-programmed to produce the pyramids without any humans getting
> involved? Maybe the egyptians discovered them? *cough* *cough*
> > I once went to a church where the pastor taught that the constellations
> were placed where they are in order to tell the advent story as a prophecy.
> And that all ancients knew the story. But the pagans changed the story. The
> thing about this is, for a TE type theory, one must believe that God
> pre-programmed all the galaxy to present the "movie in the sky" so as to
> support the Christ story. That to me is on the same level as the cosmic
> Star of Bethlehem hypothesis. Its too complicated. Its easier to believe
> in UFO's. (where angels have power, or technology, or both). And the
> latter doesn't conflict with scripture in any way I know of.
> >
> > OK, I'll look at Larson since you guys are so impressed with him.
> Where was he when I was a kid having heaps of BS poured on me? ;)
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Dave C
> >
> > [footnote 1]
> > ====================================
> > I do however, believe in St Patrick (who BTW wasn't a (S)aint with a
> capital s.
> > He was kidnapped in 401AD at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a
> slave but escaped 6 years later. I've been reading "How The Irish Saved
> Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. Patrick established the first Christian
> civilization in the world that wasn't a co-blend with roman ways. So,
> there's a myth that wasn't a myth. My personal interest is it took these
> Christians over 100 years to convert Clan McCarthy who lived in Munster
> (SW Ireland). I've been tracing my ancestors. So far the earliest goes
> back to 123 AD. Only the Jews have an older family lineage than the
> McCarthy clan. Anyway, along the way I discovered that Irish missionaries
> to Europe established monastaries all over Europe. This after Rome was long
> gone. For example, Salzburg and Vienna were both founded as monasteries
> and later grew into towns then cities. The important part is these monks
> took books, including the classics, with them. Thus they
> preserved the pre-dark age knowledge. I had never heard any of this
> before looking at Irish history. You see, American education focuses on the
> British founders, and covers the Irish only at the point of the great
> immigrations. Irish culture is COMPLETELY IGNORED in American education.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 5:12 PM, Merv Bitikofer <<mailto:
>>> wrote:
> >
> > Mr. Larson (the here discussed Star of Bethlehem researcher) is
> > way ahead of you David. You should actually read his stuff before
> > you nay say it. I guess John posted some excerpts which might
> > summarize some of his points pretty well. I went in as a skeptic,
> > but came out impressed with his methods of inquiry. He does
> > approach it unapologetically as a Christian and with the stated
> > assumption that he is going to take the Biblical record of the
> > event seriously. Far be it from me to hold that against him. He
> > does come away convinced that it was an astronomical event ----
> > but nothing so silly as we try to imagine that would hover in the
> > air and stop over a stable, etc. You must have a lot of trouble
> > understanding apocalyptic literature in Revelation with its stars
> > falling out of the sky! :-> For that matter, I do too. But I
> > guess, for all my confusion, it hasn't occurred to me to actually
> > try to take it as literal commentary on cosmic movements according
> > to 20th century definition!
> >
> > --Merv
> >

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Received on Sun Nov 22 21:13:30 2009

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