Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ontologically Naturalistic Christian Scripture

Science has closed the gaps. The material cosmos is naturalistically functional—there are no interruptions of the world's basic casual processes. The sun rises, chloroplasts take in sunlight, the tides turn, and the daylight ends without a single necessary supernatural interruption of world affairs. The reality of an uninterrupted state of naturalistic affairs can be shown true now and into the innumerable days and eons that precede the emergence of our fragile biosphere. There are no facts that demand the rejection of such a naturalism.

What of the Bible? Does it not evidence a divine imprint? Griffin, one of my favorite process theologians notes the following:

Modern biblical criticism has removed … any reason for thinking that the writing of the Bible involved any interruption of the normal thinking processes of its authors (p. 23).

In fact, if one wants to disprove absolute naturalism, one could attempt this with the Bible. All such would take is to show one instance of interruption—one moment where a biblical writer expresses something beyond the cognitive horizons of his life situation. As a lifelong student of religion and the Bible, I am quite certain that it is impossible to do this.

Griffin, David Ray. "Process Theology and the Christian Good News" (pp. 1-38) in Searching for an Adequate God. Cobb, John & Pinnock, Charles, eds. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 2000.


Tandi said...

Another bout of atheism? And why did I have to find this blog on my own? Are you purposely distancing yourself from me? I don't understand you, Peter. You have made some troubling statements lately with no clarification. I am left to wonder what's going on.

I also see that your former roommate has maligned me on his blog -- unfairly, with no invitation to respond. I would like to find it merely amusing....but it stings as much as it amuses.

--The "Rabid Fundamentalist"

Tandi said...

My consternation should not be construed as criticism, just concern.

Still your friend.....

Tandi said...

An article for your consideration that I happened to come across this morning........

Parallel Views on the Cosmogony of the Universe

Modern Science and the Bible

Tandi said...

Here is the web address of that broken link:

To anyone interested, copy and paste to get there:

Andrew T. said...

Peter, perhaps you should give the work of Amit Goswami a fair perusal. According to him, quantum nonlocality shows that God (or the Universal Consciousness) is actually the very ground of Being, whereas the material world is corellary. God is the agent of quantum downward causation, in contrast to the upward causation of atoms and elementary particles that materialist science assumes is the ONLY form of causation.

Goswami expouses a relatively universalist religiosity. His God is akin to the God of mystical traditions (like Qabalah, Sufism, Gnosticism, and many currents of eastern thought) rather than a dualistic God. You might like him.

It's easy to be skeptical about his model until you understand how beautifully it resolves scientific quagmires like missing links in the fossil record and spontaneous remissions of terminal illness ("miracles", by any other name).

Nice to see you here once again, Tandi.

Andrew T. said...

Here is another good article that explains how the Genesis 1-3 parable integrates with our scientific understanding:

Tandi said...

Hi Andrew,

Where in the blogosphere are you these days? Glad you made contact again!

Andrew T. said...


I don't have a blog, and haven't for a long time. In all honesty, I was in a very peculiar state of mind back when I had that blog, and my writing was rather awful at the time. I try to be more humble nowadays and not overestimate my understanding of ideas, religious or otherwise (which is ironic, given the name of my old blog, when its orientation was anything but humble).

I hope Peter does not persist with the assumption that "God of the gaps in our understanding" is the sole paradigm by which God can be understood. Things get a lot more fun when it clicks that God isn't a little mystery variable hidden in a vast sea of materialistic causality; He's the foundation of reality itself. Yeshua of Nazareth taught that God is within us and always around us. But as per usual, I may be getting ahead of myself here. ;)

Peter said...

Hello Andrew,

It is good to see/hear from you. It appears that you have eaten the date and rejected the pit with regard to the Netzarim as I am seeing that you have maintained some of their better and more benign ideas and rejected others (e.g., extreme exclusivity).

Goswami's ideas are very much akin to western Christian panentheistic and process theist ideas. I have many affinities to such concepts and do not necessarily reject them. You will note that the quote that makes up the heart of my blog post is from a process theologian--David Griffin--who I am very fond of.

With regard to the links posted from yashanet and bethavinua--I consider attempts to harmonize Genesis and scientific thought to be vain and useless as they thwart and abuse both scripture and science. I prefer to take each on their own terms.

BTW, I have comment moderation set for comments after seven days as I am getting a lot of spam here.

Tandi said...

Peter, your older blog is getting spammed too. You may want to change your settings on that one as well. Please don't delete it though, like Andrew deleted his. Your life journey chronicled is worth preserving!

Andrew T. said...


Yes, you are exactly right. If you go to the Netzarim website, you'll see I started a discussion with him on that very same subject of ultra-exclusivity. This man is about as self-righteous as they come, and I think he's lost a lot of potential followers because his website is overly technical and because of the way he talks down to others.

I don't think it's necessary to thoroughly separate scripture and science. The ultimate aim of both is to relate to the truth, after all. It's only problematic when science is selectively cherry-picked insofar as it supports (or is misconstrued to support) scripture, which is what creationism is.

I disagree with that David Griffin quote, if I have correctly interpreted what he is saying. I believe the Hebrew prophets heard the inner voice of God and had insight into the collective unconscious that is all but unheard of in this present day.

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