A Call to Theology of Nature

Sure, why not hear his perspective? We certainly haven’t followed it flawlessly. Instead, we are a bit blind to our most glaring hypocrisies. I don’t call giving feedback a matter of “lecturing,” as I’m sure you don’t either. Fair enough?

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@gbrooks9, he has backed off the political dimension a while back. Cut him some slack.

Reprimand people when they are insulting or rude, not when you disagree with their ideas.

Who is “He”? Ashwin_s? Right.

But Guy said something about WANTING non-americans lecturing Americans.

@swamidass

I’m not reprimanding in this post; I’m looking for clarification. Wouldn’t you want to know what Guy means?

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5 posts were split to a new topic: AJ Roberts Agrees with Eddie

Well that sort of describes the result of a view of creation I have, so I’d like to throw this out there. Genesis chapter one describes things happening in two realms at once. The realm above is being separated from the realm below (where we are) and the realm below was subjected to futility from the beginning. As a fellow OEC I figure you believe that last part already. So when God starts filling the two realms there is one realm where His command is fulfilled quickly, perfectly, and without His further intervention. He just speaks something and “it was so”. But those same commands are done very haphazardly and slowly in the realm subjected to futility, and like us, nature couldn’t fulfill them at all without God’s more direct intervention at some point. In other words, a creation fit for beings like us!

So if you slow down what is happening in the land above, where God commands THE Earth to bring forth living creatures, then that looks a lot like TE when you slow it down. It was almost like it was meant to be TE but the creation subjected to futility couldn’t quite pull it off. God had to come make templates, called “kinds” and nature then operated on that. So that’s why it “looks like” evolution. In an ideal world it was supposed to be like that, where God speaks and the earth brings forth. But down here, God had to intervene personally and “make” or “create”. It takes 350 pages to lay it all out and the proofs and specifics are a lot more detailed than that, but that’s the gist of it.

As far as the detectable part goes, I think its going to be very subtle given this view of the text. I wrote an article about gray areas between special creation, Evolution and ID. There may be a link here somewhere on it but I have the one to my blog handy…

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: AJ Roberts Agrees with Eddie

I heard you, I think. Are you seeing the point I am trying to make about being natural theologians that articulate for all of those around us just how God is revealed in nature? It is not enough to just ask why God is apparently hidden. Do you understand why I’m saying this? Your question is a theological question entailing sin. Mine is a question about the role of nature/creation in making God known.

I don’t actually think you are understanding me.

I can’t find a single thing is disagree with in the articulation of your position. I just disagree with how you are characterizing me.

God is usually hidden in part because we usually don’t look and science does not look. I do also think that God is clearly seen by other means, including nature, and we should look build a careful integration in a theology of nature. Where exactly do we disagree?

I think what we do as scientists is infused with evidence of God, the intricacies, fine-tuning, orchestrated interdependent networks and processes whether intracellular or in ecologies or symbiotic relationships, everywhere we look as scientists. Every time a cause and effect explanation fails to account for teleology.

Did you read my blog on Reveling in Revelation? If you did, do you fall closer to my perspective or Jeff Hardin’s? If you see no difference between the two, I don’t know how to clarify the difference further for you. Maybe others could help and provide a different interpretation of my position to clarify it more for you.

I’m not intending to mischaracterize you. I am attempting to pick apart a fine distinction between two views.

Looking for a place to insert this reply since my other comments were moved/split to a new thread. NT Wright’s perspective that the whole creation is a demonstration of the love of God is spot on. It is how we know from nature/creation that God exists, is powerful, and aspects of his character. To claim that he is primarily hidden denies this abundant revelation that God has intentionally infused in creation… because it is at the heart of his purpose for it all.

I am not willing to concede to as much of a paradox as @Guy_Coe Coe implies in nature’s revelation of God. Nor am I willing to throw my hands up and say God is usually hidden @swamidass and we must ask why. I contend that he is not hidden and our roles as scientists and theologians as natural theologians must tackle this head on.

Wisdom is not the same as knowledge of God. The latter is a requirement for the former but the two should not be conflated. To say God is usually hidden raises the question Josh raises, why? But to say he is in effect usually hidden (because of the failure to see or look or acknowledge or proclaim it) does not mean that nature/creation fails to constantly and consistently show God’s existence, power and character. I think this is where we as Christian scientists need to embrace a role as natural theologians… whether we are OEC or EC (or even YEC or none of the above). It is what @Eddie and @jongarvey are getting at in their critique of many in the BioLogos camp who are claiming mystery without working out the nitty gritty details of how Bios and Logos fit together and not just lay side by side.

This quest for integration is exactly how I find myself at RTB. And I’m not saying we’ve got it all right or that one can’t be an EC and pursue integration. But if it’s not at a fundamental level of teleology and revelation that God infuses into all of creation and in the secondary causal events that we study in science, I don’t know where it is and I don’t know how anyone can call a perspective that denies God’s action in revelation in the created order “Christian” or biblical.

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The “hiddeness” of God is linked, Biblically, with the refusal to acknowledge Him and thereby revere Him. Nature, according to Paul, is an entirely clear witness even by itself. So, I don’t think I’m advocating for anything less than what you present, and are contending for, @AJRoberts. Perhaps a difference here to take into account is Josh’s daily experience at a “secular” university, where he usually encounters such unbelief? Cheers!

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And the next post in the Hump series here. It reviews the “cleared building site” for a theology of nature by summarising the last 4 posts, and lays out the three general classes of causation in the universe to be examined (God acting regularly through “laws of nature”, sentient agents acting within the world, and contingent divine action.)

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Here’s my last post of the week on this subject: A health warning on theology of nature: Theology can seriously affect your science.

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OK - a series of three posts starting here on the tricky question of the centrality of language to a prospective new theology of nature.

It leaves the heavy lifting of of application to any new way of doing science to the scientists themselves - but all that shows is that our current science is one limited way at looking at certain aspects of nature. It could be that science doesn’t have to change, but only its claims about itself.

On the positive side, consider that old problem of the academic divide between “science” and “humanities.” To a large degree that revolves around the specialised language of science, which seems to scientists to make the humanities nebulous and subjective. But if the language of God is - well - language, then nature itself dissolves the difference between the the arts and the sciences - and even points to human thought as an integral part of nature, rather than the Cartesian idea of the human mind as radically separate from physical reality.

It gets a bit simpler for hereon in, I think.

I quote from your article:

"One of the more stupid, though understandable, rhetorical questions that skeptics ask about design in nature in particular, but also about divine action in nature in general, is “What mechanism does God use?”

It’s stupid because it presupposes a mechanical view of reality, and God is not a mechanism (and neither is design, even in human terms). "

This is one of the reasons I always try to use “way” or “method”. I used to use the term “tool” more.

But ultimately, no amount of naturalism will convince most Christians to abandon the miraculous!

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And the next in the series here.

Back on to the relatively well-trodden ground of three modes of divine action. Note (as the article points out) that “lawlike change” (“natural”, if you must) is a fourth mode of divine action, not the antithesis to it.

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And a detailed look at the possibility of “miracle” in nature. It’s an inappropriate way to think of divine action in creation - but paradoxically has to be taken into account in a theology of nature because it’s a part of the new creation that has been irrupting into the world over the whole of salvation history.

@jongarvey

Seems a little complex!

I think you can segregate everything into LAWFUL vs. MIRACULOUS!

And I think that’s misleading, for reasons both that I’ve explained in previous posts, and that I will explain as the series proceeds. But one consideration is that the Church has considered it appropriate to distiguish categories of divine action for 2000 years, and I take their wisdom over yours!

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