Category Archives: Creation
Early last year I did a couple of pieces (the most useful here) on a new formulation of the metaphysical position on divine action of occasionalism, called “divine compositionalism”, being developed primarily within the field of science. I liked it.
One of the less obvious blessings from which we benefit not only here at the Hump of the Camel, but more widely, is that creation is seriously on the theological agenda at all. Wherever we stand on origins, it’s hard to remember that for much of the twentieth century, creation doctrine was sidelined in most branches of the Church.
Someone has lent me Creation by Claus Westermann, a name familiar to me from my days of biblical studies in the psalms. In some ways it’s a bit disappointing, dating from 1971 and therefore, hailing from Germany, rather too assured of the “assured” results of the documentary hypothesis and history of religions theory. He actually uses that adjective “assured” – I’ve been looking for some source that didn’t use it merely ironically for years!
One interesting aspect of Dante’s Divine Comedy (around which to reading I’ve finally got…) is to see the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas being applied just a few decades after his death, when it was still new and controversial. Thomas actually makes an appearance in heaven, but spends the majority of his speech eulogising St Francis of Assisi, which is not improbable given the priority he put on faith over philosophyat the close of his life. One thing that Dante deals with is the Great Chain of Being, a key mediaeval idea which I wrote about here.
All the main participants in the “two person bottleneck” thread on BioLogos have, as I write, gone to lick their wounds in teaching or research. It’s going about as inconclusively as I predicted here.
One of the several taboos that appears to separate theistic evolution (in its modern, “Evolutionary Creation”, form) from the “uncleanness” of Intelligent Design is the idea that God could not be “just another cause within the universe”. This precludes at a stroke allowing God to be involved in any chain of efficient causation amenable to observation (and particularly, of course, scientific observation).
I mentioned briefly in my last post one of the things that struck me most from reading Perry Marshall’s Evolution 2.0. And that was the fact that intrinsic teleology and external teleology are not mutually exclusive, and yet might not be easy to distinguish.
On his blog Shadow of Oz, biologist Wayne Rossiter, a principled opponent of theistic evolution, notices a re-posted BioLogos article by, ironically, the editor of Rossiter’s own book critiquing TE, Robin Parry. Rossiter’s post points out the fatuousness of the following argument:
For some reason, Bilbo started a thread on BioLogos directed at me, in which (as far as I can tell) he argues basically, “If God can create free wills that make decisons without reference to him, why could he not create random processes that similarly cause things without reference to him?” Many cans of worms open because of that, which you can read about on that thread. Here I just want to deal in more depth than is possible there on the question of whether the comparison between free-will and randomness is actually a valid one. I suspect it isn’t, except at the most superficial level.
In a current BioLogos discussion, Dennis Venema writes this: “I see evolution as God’s design for creating life, plate tectonics as his design for making continents, gravity as his design for making solar systems, and so on. I just don’t think the place to look for design is where “natural” explanations have not yet been worked out. I think it’s all designed.” This is most interesting. It is nearly exactly the view set forth in Michael Denton’s Nature’s Destiny (1998). This book has been known to Dennis, and to all BioLogos columnists and management, for nearly two decades, yet not one of them has had a good thing to say … Continue reading