On what basis do Christians believe in God's providence over creation?


(Patrick ) #1

No, never heard of the doctrine of God’s providence. The way you describe it, seems like you know that it’s true as opposed to just believing that it is true or that you have a deep unwavering faith that it is true. Faith and Beliefs are fine but different from proving something a scientific truth.

Is the above a statement of faith/belief or a scientific claim?


Is it dangerous to teach evolutionary theory to children?
(Jay Nelsestuen) #2

It’s a statement of belief, obviously. God is outside of science’s purview; he cannot be observed or tested. God inhabits the realm of metaphysics, theology, and philosophy. The hard sciences deal with the natural world, not the supernatural.

I reject scientism. I accept God’s providence because he has told me that that’s how he does things (in his Word, the Bible). That’s why I know it to be true, because the one who is the Truth said so.


(Patrick ) #3

Can I ask a favor? When you are making a statement of belief, can you say I believe that God did …
instead of the statement God did …

The reason I ask this is that my scientific training instantly kicks in when I see statements without evidence to back them up.

So can I say that You believe that God is outside of science’s purview? You believe that he cannot be observed or tested.

Ok, I don’t think that God is outside of science’s purview. I believe :slight_smile: that science can reasonably falsify any faith/belief claim. By falsifying the claim, I mean showing with a preponderance of evidence that the faith/belief claim is not real.

I reject scientism also. But I question and am very skeptical that “He has told you that’s how he does things.” Please don’t consider it a personal attack on your faith, but I really don’t believe scientifically/ psychologically, He has told you anything. A more valid explanation is the You told you that that is that’s how he done things. That’s why I ask a favor, to put I believe that God … in front of your statements. Thanks.


(Jay Nelsestuen) #4
  1. The Bible is God speaking to us (2 Timothy 3:16 - “All Scripture is God-breathed”).
  2. The Bible tells us that God providentially maintains all things (Col. 1:16-17, Heb. 1:3, etc.).
  3. Ergo, God has told us that he providentially maintains all things.

I think that assuming science can falsify things that it cannot adequately address is quite silly.


(Jay Nelsestuen) #5

I don’t understand your distinction. Obviously, if I make a truth claim, it follows that that’s what I believe…so why should I have to always preface things with “I believe”?


(Patrick ) #6

In order to be understood correctly. Everyone doesn’t have the same beliefs are you. So express your beliefs as your beliefs. That’s all.

Regarding the Biblical quotes you offer, I think we can all agree that any biblical quote is subject to interpretation.


(Ryan) #7

Wouldn’t this lead to stating “I believe” all the time? What about just using “I believe” in the cases where there’s a clear debate?


(Jay Johnson) #8

I believe this appears to be a reasonable request, except that I believe the forums here are overwhelmingly Christians engaged in dialogue with other Christians. I believe that if we attempted in good faith to follow your suggestion, every response would be so littered with “I believe” as to become unreadable.


#9

So you are implying that when someone writes something, readers don’t recognize that that is what they believe?? That makes no sense to me. (However, I’m perfectly fine with those who decide they wish to do that. To each his own.)

The fact that somebody wrote something probably explains why they wrote it. People don’t usually write something that they don’t believe. (In other exceptional cases, they virtually always will write “This isn’t my personal belief but I have heard said that…” or “Some people believe that…” Without those disclaimers, I ALWAYS assume that what a person writes is what they believe.

I seriously doubt that any readers here are unaware of that fact.

How about we simply assume that—unless a writer states otherwise—what they write is what they actually do, in fact, believe to be the case? That would save a lot of wasted words stating what is already obvious to everyone.

When a Young Earth Creationist writes, “The earth was created in six 24hour days.”, I don’t need them to tell me that that is their belief and that lots of people disagree with them.

I don’t think there is any confusion on that point either.

Many people hold that belief. And any philosophy professor can explain to you why it is a wrong belief. Science is a subset of philosophy that is limited to the tools and procedures of the scientific method. Those limitations are exactly what makes science so powerful.

I would suggest that you start by researching the word scientism in most any philosophy textbook. There are also many excellent atheist websites which expand upon the scientism fallacy. (I get the impression that you will appreciate their explanations of the scientism fallacy better than if those explanations come from me. And I’m fine with that.)

(I should also mention that I reached my limit on “scientism debates” years ago. And even though I taught a few undergrad philosophy courses in my day, I am not a professional philosopher. I’m not even very good at philosophy. So I don’t try to explain the scientism fallacy beyond a basic summary because I prefer to defer to the experts of the academy. There are so many textbooks and philosophy bloggers who can do it much better than I ever will. And as for me, it is like defending 2+2=4. It is a fact that no longer interests me—but there are many philosophers who love such a topic. So I defer to them.)

A somewhat more interesting topic is why so many scientists think that every department on a university campus represents superlative scholarship except the Philosophy Department—as if it somehow doesn’t deserve a place within the academy. Most of those critics have no idea that it was philosophers that defined and created modern science and set the stage for what scientists like them do.

I should also add that I think that your presence here has been a great addition! The more the diversity of viewpoints, the better. You’ve contributed a valuable voice and I always read your posts with great interest.


(Patrick ) #10

Overwhelming Christian but not completely Christian. And Christian beliefs are vastly different. But since one of the objectives of this forum is to see whether scientific inquiry and faith/belief inquiry can be harmonized, the language one uses matters. For example, if you say God created everything, most Christians would say of course that is true. a skeptic would say “how do you know”.
We are all In search of the truth. I see truth in equations and measurement results. You see truth through faith and beliefs. How do we harmonize? One way is for us to separate truths from faith/beliefs and truths from scientific investigation. Then we can start to harmonize. Otherwise, Jerry Coyne is right. Science and Faith can’t be harmonize as they are fundamentally incompatible.


(Jay Johnson) #11

I easily harmonize. I see truth in both. As do you. Unless you are a logical positivist, that is …

Yes, and as a practical matter of language use, people take shortcuts when speaking with someone of their own “tribe.” If you are confused, just ask. Otherwise, you’re just throwing up obstacles to communication. Don’t take this so seriously. It’s a conversation, nothing more.


(Patrick ) #12

Are there still philosophy professors?

Science is not a subset of philosophy. Philosophy hasn’t accomplished anything in the past 100 years.

I am one of those critics who thinks that Philosophy departments should be combined with the Astrology, Alchemy, and World Religions Departments and phased out.


#13

Yes. I do believe you.

By the way, one of the courses I taught for the Philosophy Dept. was a logic course, It was cross-listed for mathematics majors and computer science majors.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #14

Maybe it would be appropriate here to ask a favor of you. Unless you have scientific evidence to back up your statement that none of these subjects are of any use, could you qualify your statement with “I believe that …”? I, for one, do not agree that all items of faith or belief should come as beggars to the altar of empirical science as a prerequisite for any validation. That position (both ways – that they should or that they shouldn’t) is in itself is a philosophical faith-commitment.


(Jay Johnson) #15

All the philosophical advances in logic in the last 100 years have been made by mathematicians, to the best of my recollection.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #16

This discussion makes me wish I knew more formal philosophy so as to make a better defense of its study. I’ve never had a formal philosophy course, but get exposed to it through logic at the high school geometry teacher level. I too can only name of a couple of notable characters (both mathematicians) who I think made a philosophical splash: Bertrand Russell and Kurt Godel --and their contributions made a big enough splash to send ripples even down into high school pedagogy for those who wish to be attentive to such things. Maybe you’re right [that all major recent philosophical advances are mathematical], but it would be arrogant for me to presume a presently studied in which I have no formal training, was otherwise useless. I have too many experiences of kids thinking the same thing about abstract math to buy into the whole “If there’s no obvious way this creates something tangible, then it must be useless” mentality. Much of science could fall afoul of the same charge. I’m intensely curious (and therefore learn) about a lot of things that will never put a dime in my pocket. And that curiosity drives me to cultivate and pursue those things that add great furnishings to the life of one’s mind. They become part of my axiomatic basis (like God’s providence) for making everything else worthwhile. If education ever goes entirely vocational (something that would be definitionally impossible under my own way of thinking of it – I would call it ‘training’ instead --another worthy pursuit, but not to be confused with education) and becomes all about bread and butter at the expense of just simply understanding more – it will be a serious loss. It does make sense that the balance between these motivations will ebb and flow following circumstances. If one is living in the street or starving, it makes sense to be overwhelmingly interested in “mere” survival at that point; though I’ll wager nobody could find even a beggar who doesn’t indulge themselves with mental flights of fancy and curiosity. Some who we meet on community meal nights do tell interesting tales --and for all I know they may have higher educational pedigree than I do (philosophy doctors perhaps? :eyeglasses:). We should count our blessings that we have the luxury to indulge ourselves with our pursuit of more ways of thinking and should likewise shun the forced intellectual poverty that accompanies narrow utilitarian views. Like I tell my math students, you may never have to solve another equation after school depending on which of the (accordingly more restricted) options you choose to pursue. But the mental / logical ‘muscles’ you build and tune will certainly be used no matter what you do, just as no employers will ever pay you to run laps around gyms --and yet it doesn’t follow that you won’t find well-developed leg muscles useful.

I praise God for this crazy cool universe that defies us to find the end of it. For me, mathematics, like science is a subset of philosophy which itself is a subset of God’s providence. So advances in any of those things are occasions for pleasure at all levels.


(Jay Johnson) #17

I was just talking about the specific field of logic, not all of philosophy. The major logicians since the early 20th century have not been students of Aristotle and the classics; they have been mathematicians. @Socratic.Fanatic can correct me if needed, I’m sure.


#18

I assume that you realize that those are not the only two choices.

And in case anybody is wondering—as I stated earlier—I don’t expend energy defending the existence of philosophy departments at the world’s elite universities. I also don’t spend time refuting Jesus Mythicists, Apollo Moon Landing Denialists, and Homeopaths. I’m not saying that those topics aren’t entertaining. I just think that I can make better use of my time elsewhere.


#19

What about Planet Nibiru? Surely that merits consideration.


(Richard Wright) #20

@AdCaelumEo

Hello,

[from one of your posts]

I’ve said it here and I’ll say it again, believing that God intentioned the universe to evolve man without explicit, “interventions” of any sort is not deism. Deism is the belief that God is not a personal god, that all religions are inventions of men and that He has completely left the universe to run off on its own, with no interest in human affairs. ECs (if Christian) believe that Jesus lived on earth as God in the flesh, was crucified and rose from the dead on the 3rd day, as well as the miracles laid out in the bible. ECs do disagree on how God works through evolution (and in the physical world in general), the views of which can be broadly broken down to 3 categories. One, God directly intervenes, as in creating the actual genetic mutations to enable evolution. Two, God works with the physical laws of the universe to have nature unfold according to his will, called concurrence. And three, God gave the universe the built-in ability to evolve galaxies, solar systems, life and man.

There is no agreement in Biologos as to how God works in evolution therefore no formal statement on it,

If that is not what you meant by, “deism”, then I apologize in advance. :slight_smile: