Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘RJS’

As used on this blog, I provide the following definition of “theistic materialism”:

The belief that God exists, but God did not intervene supernaturally in the history of biological life on earth until the miracles recorded in the Bible pertaining to salvation history.  God did not intervene supernaturally in the creation of Adam and Eve and did not intervene supernaturally in any significant way in the history of humanity from its origin until the Bible makes reference to miracles such as the virgin birth of Jesus.

Please see the category Theistic Materialism for more posts and examples of scientists articulating this position in their own words.

In a previous post I described it this way:

RJS is a theist and accepts God’s miraculous workings in some contexts. But she rules out the miraculous in biological history and biological origins. There are certain spheres where she is a materialist. I see no basis in Scripture or the scientific evidence for this a priori philosophical position.

RJS then put it in her own words:

I think that, until proven otherwise, there will be a “natural” explanation in general, because God created the world in a rational manner. If you want to call this theistic materialism – ok. . . .

I think that God is outside of the natural order and can certainly intervene. But the evidence suggests (including the evidence of scripture) that he only does so for a purpose and in relationship with his creation. Intervention is almost always, if not always, in relationship with humans created in his image.

 

Read Full Post »

I had an on-line discussion with RJS at Jesus Creed (who is a professor of chemistry-related sciences at a major university) about how Christians should approach the historical sciences.  I may add further comments later, but I found the dialogue interesting and fruitful and I thought that I would re-post it.  My main take away:  when Christians are trying to decide which scientists and Christian scientists to trust, they need to understand how a particular scientist views the possibility of miracles and God intervening in history, including biological history.  Many Christian scientists do not share the same assumptions, presuppositions and expectations as many non-scientists.  Such presuppositions will affect how scientists evaluate the evidence.

*********************************************

pds,

. . .

I think that God created in a manner that is intelligible and that we will be able to deduce much of the process of the formation of life. Thus, even if a new better theory emerges, even a theory sufficiently revolutionary to warrant a new name, it will be a “natural” theory.

********************************************

Dan #16,

Excellent comment. This morning I was pondering RJS’ comment #13 from the previous thread:

“2. I think that God created in a manner that is intelligible and that we will be able to deduce much of the process of the formation of life. Thus, even if a new better theory emerges, even a theory sufficiently revolutionary to warrant a new name, it will be a ‘natural’ theory.”

I came up with the phrase “Theistic Materialist.” RJS is a theist and accepts God’s miraculous workings in some contexts. But she rules out the miraculous in biological history and biological origins. There are certain spheres where she is a materialist. I see no basis in Scripture or the scientific evidence for this a priori philosophical position.

RJS, I am guessing you are not going to like the phrase “Theistic Materialist,” but don’t you think it fits? Don’t you think your position that I quoted above is likely to affect how you interpret the Cambrian fossils?

*******************************************

27
RJS
September 11, 2009 1:09 PM

pds (#22)

I think that, until proven otherwise, there will be a “natural” explanation in general, because God created the world in a rational manner. If you want to call this theistic materialism – ok. When we talk about the evolution of life I prefer the term evolutionary creation to theistic evolution.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

My recent comment to RJS at Jesus Creed on the fossil record (with revisions):

It seems to me that what you often do is “fossil-mining” which is analogous to “quote-mining.”  You bring up individual fossils that you think are “transitional” but you take them out of context in a way that is somewhat misleading.  The context is the overall pattern in the fossil record, which is sudden appearance of species and stasis over time.  The fossil you mention does not change that pattern at all.  Moreover, the fossil may or may not be a “transitional” fossil.  We would need to know more to know if it was part of a step by step pattern showing gradual change from one animal to a significantly different kind of animal.  We generally don’t have those kinds of transitions in the fossil record, so there is reason to be skeptical that this particular fossil was part of that kind of progression.

Read Full Post »

This is in response to the suggestion by RJS on the Jesus Creed blog that Mark Noll’s discussion of the history of faith and science adequately explains ID proponents (without giving adequate reasons why Stephen Meyer’s arguments are wrong).

An excerpt from a  C.S. Lewis essay:

In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became to be so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism.” Some day I am going the write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father – who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third – “Oh, you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment,” E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.

I find the fruits of his discovery almost everywhere. Thus I see my religion dismissed on the grounds that “the comfortable parson had every reason for assuring the nineteenth century worker that poverty would be rewarded in another world.” Well, no doubt he had. On the assumption that Christianity is an error, I can see clearly enough that some people would still have a motive for inculcating it. I see it so easily that I can, of course, play the game the other way round, by saying that “the modern man has every reason for trying to convince himself that there are no eternal sanctions behind the morality he is rejecting.” For Bulverism is a truly democratic game in the sense that all can play it all day long, and that it give no unfair advantage to the small and offensive minority who reason. But of course it gets us not one inch nearer to deciding whether, as a matter of fact, the Christian religion is true or false. That question remains to be discussed on quite different grounds – a matter of philosophical and historical argument. However it were decided, the improper motives of some people, both for believing it and for disbelieving it, would remain just as they are.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »