Am I paranoid or am I right?


(Mark D.) #41

Boy that must be one very busy God. Imagine having the responsibility for deciding when, where and how much it should rain all over the globe. There are a lot of matters concerning which I have no preference and I am free to dwell on what actually interests me. God sure seems worse off than me in that regard. Poor God gets saddled with so many decisions. Once all rain has been apportioned for the day even then He may not rest. Instead He has to catch up with His prayermail - give some advice, a bit of encouragement, perhaps send a sign or two. No rest for poor God. If only the natural world, once created could stand on its own many feet and give Him the opportunity to admire it expressing its own intention and deal with wherever the rain must fall given the interplay of so many factors already set in motion.

I felt moved to write this but please ignore if it isn’t helpful. Is there a range of opinions here concerning how much of a micro manager God might be?


#42

I think there is a difference between some of Dawkin’s published books, and his later comments, because other scientists have worked to “keep him honest”. For example, take a look at the published works of Alister McGrath. McGrath was an atheist who began studying for his Ph.D. in molecular biology. In the process he became a Christian, then a clergyman. (He also got his Ph.D.) He writes prolifically on the topic of science and the Christian Faith and has been awarded a D.D. in recognition of his works. Two of his books might be of interest: “The Dawkins Delusion” and “Surprised by Meaning”. McGrath is able to show that the writings of Dawkins and others have a small amount of science and a large amount of “belief”. It is not Christian belief, of course.

The word “myth” is a tricky one because it has both a meaning in common use and a different meaning in technical use. In common use, “myth” is taken to mean “untrue”. For example, people might say that today’s medical facts are tomorrow’s medical myths. Here the meaning of “myth” is “untrue”. However, in technical use the word “myth” can describe something that is morally and spiritually true, but not literally true. Many cultures have foundational “myths” in this sense of the word. As the leader of a people who had foundational myths, one person is quoted as saying, “I don’t know whether this story actually happened, but I know that it is true”. Many Biblical scholars would describe the two Creation stories as myths in this sense, but not the whole of Genesis. The question in my mind when I read these stories asks, 'Were these stories of the Creation written so that I might know how the universe was created, or why the universe was created?" I’ve dabbled a bit in quantum physics and general and special relativity, and I think if God tried to tell me how, he would be wasting his time on me.:sweat_smile:

Figuring out what you believe about Creation and science is often helped by understanding the historical forces which have formed you. Toward the end of the 19th Century, some theologians sought to harmonise Christian Faith with science. With little regard for the particular genre of different Biblical books, they declared everything which they could not fit into 19th century science as “metaphor”. This school of thought is called “19th Century Liberalism”. This provoked a reaction amongst conservative evangelicals who met at Niagara and declared what they considered the “Five Fundamentals” of the Christian Faith. They began publishing a journal named “The Fundamentals”. This group is known as “Fundamentalists”. While the 19th Century Liberals were turning much into metaphor, the Fundamentalists began insisting that everything in the Bible is literally true. Under different labels, they are still battling it out today. :smile:

However, around the world, most Christians do not fit within either of these opposite extremes and they feel the freedom to think objectively, without an inquisition looking over their shoulder. There is a long tradition in the Western Church of thinking of God’s two books. The Book of Scripture (the Bible) and the Book of Nature (science). If God is the Creator, then Nature is a book written by the finger of God. In the time of the Reformation, theologians of Scripture and theologians of Nature used to battle it out (in a friendly kind of way) about which book was the most important. Theologians of Scripture argued that salvation came only through the Bible. Theologians of Nature countered that a theology of Nature helped us understand how we should interpret the Bible! (Like the Creation stories, for example.) God bless you as you think your way through it all. Perhaps like McGrath, it will draw you into a deeper insight about God.


(Jay Johnson) #43

Yes. It is a continuum from “hands-off” to intimately involved in every detail.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #44

There is also some presumption here that God is just another member of the universe, like a human engineer would be – making decisions about what makes for an optimal design: e.g. does the ideal car have a steering wheel to allow for (require!) constant operator input? Or should the ideal car steer and drive itself so that the “operator” can relax like any other passenger and read a newspaper?

We can’t seem to shake this analogy of God as an engineer. While that may be a useful tool for trying to understand God in some contexts, like any analogy it simply doesn’t bear the weight we want to put on it. It is only an analogy! In the end it utterly fails (as any purportedly comprehensive ‘understanding’ of God must). God is not merely some engineer in the sense that concerns about micro-management or boredom become real issues.


(Mark D.) #45

Good to hear that. I suppose completely hands-off would be deism. I wonder if there is a uniquely Christian version of deism. That might mean creation plus appearing as Jesus but then you’re on your own until … well, I suppose even heaven might be a place where one was mostly on their own?


#46

Not necessarily true. At the beginning of the movement they didn’t take every thing literally.

Here is a quote from “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth” written in 1910 which is considered their foundation. James Orr wrote the chapter from which this is taken.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #47

@Bill_II,

How can this be true? How can the universe exist if there is no God? If there was no God there would be no Creation and no Creation means that nothing would exist or no universe would exist.

By indicating that the existence of the universe does not depend upon the existence of God, when we know that this is absolutely false is telling a lie and giving non-believers the excuse to tell their untruths. We need to get back to basics, No God means No Universe.

Please provide chapter and verse. The answer is No, because God does not needlessly micromanage the universe.

If God micromanaged the universe then there would be no reason for humans to think and do, but God created humans in God’s Own Image and gave humans control over the universe with the power to think, to plan, and to act.

If God managed the rainfall, then there would be no good need for irrigation, for watering
pour lawns and gardens.

Ignorance per se is not a sin. But I would say that justifying ignorance is. We do not need climate change deniers today. We need people who are willing to use their God given minds to understand God’s Creation and take responsibility for how humans have polluted and corrupted it, and fix it as far as possible. We are created in God’s Image to do God’s work with God, not to plead ignorance.

What I am doing is offering knowledge about how God makes the universe conform to God’s will and plan. I hear you saying that for some reason you prefer the explanation of Dawkins even though you know it is untrue and even though you know he uses it to spread his doctrine of unbelief over mine because of some ad hominem reasoning.

If you are going to reject my understanding of evolution, then the least you could do id understand it and this means reading my book, Darwin’s Myth: Malthus, Ecology, and the Meaning of Life.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #48

Job 5:10, Deuteronomy 11:14, Jeremiah 14:22, Job 28:26, Psalm 147:8, Leviticus 26:4, Judges 5:4, Joel 2:23, Acts 14:17, Zechariah 10:1, Matthew 5:45 … That last one from Matthew (where Jesus tells us that God sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous) would make no sense as an example of God’s perfection that we are supposed to emulate, if God were not intimately involved with the whole process.

God most definitely does send the rain!


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #49

The question is not whether God sends the rain. The question is whether God micromanages the rain by sending to the just and not the unjust. Jesus implied that God the Father could send the rain down on only the just, the faithful few, but did not as part of God’s plan.

God is good in that God provides for the needs of all, even the unjust. “The LORD (YHWH) is my Shepherd. I shall not be in dire need.” God provides us with resources and the ability to use those resources. Those who follow Jesus know that we are to love and share with others, whi9ch helps everyone. Those who are selfish may find themselves on the short end of the stick, when their sins catch up with them.

God made humans able to seek out resources if they are not immediately available. God does not tell us to go out into Death Valley and expect the rain to come to us because we pray for it.

We know how God distributes the rain, that is basic science as well a great miracle. The problem here is that Dawkins says that science does not know how God guides the evolution through Natural Selection, when the evidence indicates that this is not true. The ecology guides evolution through Natural Selection.


#50

It seems though that most people who support evolution are modernists. BB Warfield supported evolution, but he wouldn’t have been involved with Biologos by any means.


#51

Hold on Roger. I never said there was no God.

It’s called Divine Providence and is accepted by most denominations. Or do you not accept Providence?


(Mervin Bitikofer) #52

Not a hair of your head is left unaccounted for. Not a sparrow alights somewhere apart from the Father’s will.

I’d say the typical “micromanager” has got nothing on God.

I suggest the way out of this is that the entire category of human engineering and its attendant priorities and its entire spectrum from “micro-managing tinkerers” to “laissez faire absentees” --all of that is only for human comparison and completely fails when we try to “pin down God” somewhere in that spectrum.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #53

@Mervin_Bitikofer

Knowledge and micromanagement are not the same.

God is the God of freedom. Micromanagement is the opposite of freedom. God helps those who need and what God’s help, primarily by giving them the support they need.

You are right, we cannot pin God down to act is one specific mode all the time. God acts as needed and often God might see problems that we don’t see in the future and prepares us for them. God is not passive. God acts in a manner that does not restrict our freedom, but is not passive.

What I was pointing out was the words that you used held out the possibility that there was no God. This is what non-believers want us to think, even though it is clearly not true.

I definitely believe in Divine Providence. I do not think that that this means that God determines just where the rain is going to fall or God otherwise micromanages the universe. .

I will be on vacation starting 7/6


(Mervin Bitikofer) #54

Good point!

Enjoy your imminent vacation.


#55

So rain is entirely controlled by physical law and God has no say in that? Talk about holding out the possibility that there is no God. To me this is the same as saying evolution is entirely controlled by physical law and God has no say in it.


(Jay Johnson) #56

Your first statement is false. You’ve been a member here for less than a month and had conversations with a handful of people. Perhaps you should get to know them before you decide their worldviews? Surveys have shown that roughly 1 out of 3 evangelical Christians “support” evolution. Their worldview is Christian, not modernist. I’m looking at that row of avatars directly underneath your OP, and the only ones whose worldview is not shaped by the Scripture are the two who are not Christians.

Not even sure what to say about your second statement. Whatever happened to this sentiment:


#57

I’d say that denying Adam and Eve is modernist. Within the Catholic Church, that’s considered a heresy pretty clearly. Many people who write articles for BioLogos deny Adam and Eve, even thinking that Paul taught they exited.

It seems like BB Warfield had a high view of Scripture. He fought tooth and nail to be able to keep inerrancy a living belief against people who would deny the historicity of the Bible. I doubt he’d join an organization where denying Adam and Eve’s historicity is considered orthodox. He thought that evolution was compatible with a high view of Scripture, but I doubt he would have tolerated creating a low view of Scripture to accommodate evolution.

I do like the idea of Christians being in fellowship, but I do object very strongly to some of the theological ideas that BioLogos advocates. Some views, such as the ahistoricity of Adam and Eve, are beliefs that are technically considered necessary for salvation according to Catholic dogmatic definitions (specifically on Original Sin). If that’s the case, according to a consistent interrelation of what my denomination teaches, BioLogos has people who advocate ideas that will lead people away from salvation.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #58

It is God Who created the rain and the natural law, so God has every say in that. That is why there can be no universe without God. Do you have a problem with how natural laws work?


(Randy) #59

Thought you would maybe jive with this, @Mervin_Bitikofer, @Relates and @gbrooks9

We all have trouble with finding purpose in the pain we all experience–so if God is micromanaging–what does that mean?. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam:

In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 54
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Oh, yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final end of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy’d,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell’d in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another’s gain.

Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last—far off—at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.

So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.

But–we are not interpreting science to fit our druthers, as you say. I have heard that the definition of an apologist is someone who says “I believe that the Bible and my Christian faith are true; but I am so committed to truth that I will follow it wherever it goes.” Anything less does not merit consideration, because presuppositional apologetics shoots itself in the foot by condoning prejudice.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #60

I share your concern as to how to understand the nature of Sin if we do not consider the story of Adam and Eve to be historical. However there are elements within the story itself that strongly suggest that the story of the Fall is not historical, such as the talking wise serpent and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.

Therefore I do not think that it does violence to Scripture to say that in some sense the story of the Fall has ahistorical meaning in the sense that it contains a universal definition of Sin. I do not think that that the story is strictly metaphorical, but Adam and Eve are real representatives of humankind.

I do not think that labelling people who are trying to understand the meaning of scripture as heretics. I do think it is important to join in this discussion to deepen our understanding of the nature of Sin and Salvation.

Salvation is not the believing certain teachings or ideas. Salvation is accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior and accepting His forgiveness of our sin and which breaks the power of sin over my life.

I am on vacation starting 7/6.