- Modes of divine action – creatio continua 18/09/2018
- Theology of nature – call and response 15/09/2018
- Applying the theology of nature 13/09/2018
- Modes of divine action – creation 11/09/2018
- What Is the Point of TE/EC Apologetics for Christians? Reply to Christy Hemphill 08/09/2018
Category Archives: Philosophy
Theology can seriously affect your science 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?”
In the last four posts on The Hump I’ve attempted to clear the ground of notions that are not, in my view, tenable in any attempt to produce a theology of nature for our times (our times, I suppose, meaning “no longer compatible with the theology of nature that was new-minted by the ‘mechanical philosophers’ like Francis Bacon and Renée Descartes in times very different from ours, but which in secularised form constitutes the mainstream worldview today.”)
An article sent to me by Eddie Robinson (forwarded from another scholar) gives me an occasion for commenting on chance in a more or less appropriate place in the loose series I’m developing on a theology of nature. This article is The Secularization of Chance: Toward Understanding the Impact of the Probability Revolution on Christian Belief in Divine Providence by Josh Reeves (available here, but only if you’re registered).
There is a rare breed of scientists – amongst whom for some reason predominate physicists of the first half of the twentieth century – who have both an indisputable grip on science, and a seriously good grasp of philosophy and, in some measure, theology. Arthur Eddington is one, Michael Polanyi a second, and Werner Heisenberg a creditable third.
Having written last time about the weaknesses of views of nature that are entirely “frontloaded”, a related topic is worth revisiting: that it would be inappropriate to regard God as acting in the world.
My last post dealt with the lack of a well-argued theology of nature in 2018 Evolutionary Creation. One model though, at least turns up from time to time, and that is the idea that God so fine-tuned the Big Bang that everything subsequently turned out just as he willed. This is of relevance to the whole theology of creation, not just evolution, of course.
Eddie Robinson’s piece on Theistic Evolution coincided with a thread on Peaceful Science on the same Crossway critique of that position.
According to Aristotelian ideas of causation, a “substantial form” is a holistic entity with its own nature and “ends”, and that distinguishes it from an artifact, which is only a collection of parts given some “end” by an outside manufacturer.
I’ve done a bit on Aristotelian-Thomist metaphysics in the past, and it underlies some of the discussions I have here and at places like Peaceful Science – for example, on why the evolution of life is almost certain to involve far more than current theory can see, even at the natural level. I suppose many readers will still not have a handle on it, though respected Thomist philosopher Ed Feser comes up quite a lot in discussions, more often in the mouths of ID supporters that ECs, who don’t seem to like philosophy for the most part. Here is a quote from Ed, replying to those who say those important … Continue reading
I’m not sure what it is about Evolutionary Creation and aversion to natural theology, but it is exemplified by a current thread on BioLogos entitled “A theological argument for the impossibility of proving God by science.” The general position – stated by a number of people apart from the original poster – is that it’s presumptuous to try and reveal God from science if he chooses to keep himself hidden.