Search This Blog

Monday, July 28, 2008


As God revealed Himself to the first man not in visions, but by coming to him in a visible form, teaching him His will, and then after his fall announcing the punishment (Ge 2:16-17; 3:9 ff.); as He talked with Moses "face to face, as a man with his friend," "mouth to mouth," not in vision or dream: so does the written account of the Old Testament revelation commence, not with visions, but with actual history. The manner in which God instructed the first men with reference to the creation must be judged according to the intercourse carried on by Him, as Creator and Father, with these His creatures and children. What God revealed to them upon this subject, they transmitted to their children and descendants, together with everything of significance and worth that they had experienced and discovered for themselves. This tradition was kept in faithful remembrance by the family of the godly; and even in the confusion of tongues it was not changed in its substance, but simply transferred into the new form of the language spoken by the Semitic tribes, and thus handed down from generation to generation along with the knowledge and worship of the true God, until it became through Abraham the spiritual inheritance of the chosen race. Nothing certain can be decided as to the period when it was committed to writing; probably some time before Moses, who inserted it as a written record in the Thorah of Israel.

Monday, July 21, 2008


But if the biblical account of the creation has full claim to be regarded as historical truth, the question arises, whence it was obtained. The opinion that the Israelites drew it from the cosmogony of this or the other ancient people, and altered it according to their own religious ideas, will need no further refutation, after what we have said respecting the cosmogonies of other nations. Whence then did Israel obtain a pure knowledge of God, such as we cannot find in any heathen nation, or in the most celebrated of the wise men of antiquity, if not from divine revelation? This is the source from which the biblical account of the creation springs. God revealed it to men-not first to Moses or Abraham, but undoubtedly to the first men, since without this revelation they could not have understood either their relation to God or their true position in the world. The account contained in Genesis does not lie, as Hofmann says, "within that sphere which was open to man through his historical nature, so that it may be regarded as the utterance of the knowledge possessed by the first man of things which preceded his own existence, and which he might possess, without needing any special revelation, if only the present condition of the world lay clear and transparent before him."

By simple intuition the first man might discern what nature had effected, viz., the existing condition of the world, and possibly also its causality, but not the fact that it was created in six days, or the successive acts of creation, and the sanctification of the seventh day. Our record contains not merely religious truth transformed into history, but the true and actual history of a work of God, which preceded the existence of man, and to which he owes his existence. Of this work he could only have obtained his knowledge through divine revelation, by the direct instruction of God. Nor could he have obtained it by means of a vision. The seven days' works are not so many "prophetico-historical tableaux," which were spread before the mental eye of the seer, whether of the historian or the first man. The account before us does not contain the slightest marks of a vision, is no picture of creation, in which every line betrays the pencil of a painter rather than the pen of a historian, but is obviously a historical narrative, which we could no more transform into a vision than the account of paradise or of the fall.

Monday, July 14, 2008


If then the premises from which the geological periods have been deduced are of such a nature that not one of them is firmly established, the different theories as to the formation of the earth also rest upon two questionable assumptions, viz., (1) that the immediate working of God in the creation was restricted to the production of the chaotic matter, and that the formation of this primary matter into a world peopled by innumerable organisms and living beings proceeded according to the laws of nature, which have been discovered by science as in force in the existing world; and (2) that all the changes, which the world and its inhabitants have undergone since the creation was finished, may be measured by the standard of changes observed in modern times, and still occurring from time to time.

But the Bible actually mentions two events of the primeval age, whose effect upon the form of the earth and the animal and vegetable world no natural science can explain. We refer to the curse pronounced upon the earth in consequence of the fall of the progenitors of our race, by which even the animal world was made subject to fthora' (NT:5356) (Ge 3:17, and Ro 8:20); and the flood, by which the earth was submerged even to the tops of the highest mountains, and all the living beings on the dry land perished, with the exception of those preserved by Noah in the ark. Hence, even if geological doctrines do contradict the account of the creation contained in Genesis, they cannot shake the credibility of the Scriptures.

Simple, beautiful and not influenced by the spirit of man

A friend sent me a paper recently. I found this extract very sensible and wanted to share it.

"This argument had been advanced by P. H. Gosse in his book, Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot which was published in London in 1857. Dabney does not refer to it and probably had not seen it. Gosse’s book is quite summarily dealt with by Bernard Ramm in his recent book, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (1954). Ramm makes no mention of Dabney. He prefers to give the scientists all the time that they want to develop a cosmos by what practically amounts to a uniformitarian and naturalistic method, despite the fact that he declares himself to be a supernaturalist. Against such a view Dabney argues: “Why should the Theistic philosopher desire to push back the creative act of God to the remotest possible age, and reduce his agency to the least possible minimum, as is continually done in these speculations? What is gained by it? Instead of granting that God created a cosmos, a world, some strive continually to show that he created only the rude germs of a world, ascribing as little as possible to God, and as much as possible to natural law. Cui bono; if you are not hankering for Atheism? Is a completed result any harder for infinite powers than a germinal one? What is natural law; and what is its source? It originated in the creative power, and is maintained, energized, and regulated by the perpetual providence of God. Do you crave to push God away, as far as possible? It does not help you to say, natural law directed the formation of this mass of marble instead of supernatural creation; for God is as near and as infinite in his common, natural, as in his first, supernatural working.”"

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The second of these conclusions also stands or falls with the assumptions on which they are founded, viz., with the three propositions: (1) that each of the fossiliferous formations contains an order of plants and animals peculiar to itself; (2) that these are so totally different from the existing plants and animals, that the latter could not have sprung from them; (3) that no fossil remains of man exist of the same antiquity as the fossil remains of animals. Not one of these can be regarded as an established truth, or as the unanimously accepted result of geognosis. The assertion so often made as an established fact, that the transition rocks contain none but fossils of the lower orders of plants and animals, that mammalia are first met with in the Trias, Jura, and chalk formations, and warm-blooded animals in the tertiary rocks, has not been confirmed by continued geognostic researches, but is more and more regarded as untenable.

Even the frequently expressed opinion, that in the different forms of plants and animals of the successive rocks there is a gradual and to a certain extent progressive development of the animal and vegetable world, has not commanded universal acceptance. Numerous instances are known, in which the remains of one and the same species occur not only in two, but in several successive formations, and there are some types that occur in nearly all. And the widely spread notion, that the fossil types are altogether different from the existing families of plants and animals, is one of the unscientific exaggerations of actual facts. All the fossil plants and animals can be arranged in the orders and classes of the existing flora and fauna.

Even with regard to the genera there is no essential difference, although many of the existing types are far inferior in size to the forms of the old world. It is only the species that can be shown to differ, either entirely or in the vast majority of cases, from species in existence now. But even if all the species differed, which can by no means be proved, this would be no valid evidence that the existing plants and animals had not sprung from those that have passed away, so long as natural science is unable to obtain any clear insight into the origin and formation of species, and the question as to the extinction of a species or its transition into another has met with no satisfactory solution. Lastly, even now the occurrence of fossil human bones among those of animals that perished at least before the historic age, can no longer be disputed, although Central Asia, the cradle of the human race, has not yet been thoroughly explored by palaeontologists.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"When Your Number Is Up" or "Sydney Episcopalian Diocese Set to Deny Physical Birth of Jesus Christ".

It's interesting what you find when you delve back through your collection of books amassed over decades of Christian life. Sometimes you can't remember from where you purchased a particular book and why you purchased it.

Well such was the circumstance when I found a book in my cupboard written by F.C. Payne as the 14th edition in 1978. The book is called "The Seal of God". In his book, the author goes into much detail about the significance of numbers in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The author presents his case that the high concentration of number sequences in both the Hebrew and Greek testify to the Divine inspiration of Scripture and the utilization of various authors over more than a millennium and who, by separation of time, could not have contrived their writings to present such unity of number sequences. I don't know the theology of F.C. Payne and I have not, in the past, made use of his propositions in my theology. I do note now, though, that nowhere does he deny the historicity of Scripture because of number sequences etc contained therein.

Contrast Payne's position with that of John Dickson and his disciples in the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese. These folk see number sequences, in particular the recurrence of the number seven (7), and automatically their brain slips into autodrive repeating "ahistorical", "ahistorical".

Well, in the sight of F.C Payne at least, for John Dickson and his disciples to be thoroughly consistent in their theology they must dismiss the wealth of historical narrative of Scripture widely accepted by the Church.

For example, the ministry of John the Baptist recorded in Mark 1: 1-8 and in John must, be rejected as history because of its overuse of the number seven (7). F.C. Payne provides the following:

"The words number 126 (18-7's)
And the syllables are 294 (42-7's)
The words in the vocabulary number 77 (sum 14) (11-7's)
The letters in the vocabulary number 427 (61-7's)
The vowels in the 427 letters are 224 (32-7's)
The consonants 203 (29-7's)
The vocabulary words used by John are 21 (3-7's)
Which leaves 56 (8-7's)
Those beginning with a vowel are 42 (6-7's)
Those beginning with a consonant 35 (5-7's)"

Payne also applies his mind to the birth of Christ recorded in Matthew 1: 18-25:

"The number of Greek words is exactly 161 (23-7's)
The numeric value of these is exactly 93,394 (13,342-7's)
The number of vocabulary words is exactly 77 (11-7's)
The numeric value of these is exactly 51,247 (7,321-7's)

Here we have a perfect, double, interlocked design covering every word and letter,which must remain constant, whilst the following designs are woven into it, and not a single letter can be altered:

There are six Greek words which are found nowhere else in Matt.

Their numeric value is exactly 5,005 (715-7's)
These six Greek words have exactly 56 letters (8-7's)

Now the first two verses, a natural division, (6-7's)
having exactly 42 words leaving 119 (17-7's)

The last verse, another natural division,
has exactly 14 words (2-7's)
leaving 147 (3-7's of 7's)

Again, the 161 words occur in 105 forms (15-7's)
The numeric value of these forms is exactly 65,429 (9,347-7's)
In these 105 forms are exactly 35 verbs (5-7's)
There are exactly 7 Proper names (7)
The number of letters in these 7 names is exactly 42 (6-7's)
There is one word 'Emanuel' used nowhere else
in the N.T.; its numeric value is 644 (92-7's)
The sum of its figures is 14 (2-7's)
Their numeric value is exactly 8,715 (1,245-7's)

Now we have another remarkable occurrence.

The angel speaks to Joseph, and although his words
form another pattern of their own, they fit exactly
into the whole!

In speaking to Joseph the angel uses of the 77 vocabulary
words exactly 28 (4-7's)
The numeric value of all the angel's words is
exactly 21,042 (3,006-7's)
The angel uses exactly 35 forms (5-7's)
These 35 forms have exactly 168 letters (24-7's)
The numeric value of these letters is
exactly 19,397 (2,771-7's)
Now the angel in using exactly 28 of the
vocabulary words leaves exactly 49 (7-7's)
In using exactly 35 forms he leaves exactly 70 (10-7's)
The sum of the figures 70 is 7, and its factors
7 + 2 + 5 is 14 (2-7's)

This by no means exhausts the passage but enough has been
shown here to show us that the design in it is not there by chance."

In light of the stance taken by John Dickson and his disciples on Genesis 1 - its high usage of the number 7 - and their subsequent consigning of this passage of Scripture to the category "ahistory", they must naturally reject the birth history of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But, "No!" I hear you say, "Because, the other gospel accounts testify to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ." Nay, Nay, I say because John Dickson and his disciples have introduced an anti-Reformation methodology for interpreting Scripture. They will not allow Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17 help interpret Genesis 1 so they cannot allow the other gospel accounts to help interpret the circumstance of the appearance of Jesus Christ on earth, let alone in human form.

This dog's breakfast theology is set to drive the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese into oblivion. Take warning!


Friday, July 4, 2008

Bavinck: In the extracts

I’ve just finished reading “In the Beginning” by Bavinck. Bavinck was a well regarded reformed theologian, Dutch, working in late 19C. This book is an extract from his 4 volume systematic theology.

It’s fascinating to read theology that interacts with the concerns of the time, as Bavinck does, so some interesting reflections on science as it was then, and its controversies.

Bavinck was not strict on Genesian ‘days’ being ordinary days. I don’t think that he considered a day to be several millennia, but days 1, 2 and 3 of creation were treated differently by him. He also made the comment that day 6 seemed to have a lot happening…but that’s an arbitrary objection, I think, and really a pretty silly basis for evaluating what Scripture clearly lays before us.

On the other hand, he offers lots of thoughts about creation and its theological significance. I’ve provided some quotes below, with page numbers noted. He treats Darwinism extensively, but I’ve not included extracts of that here. I suggest there is rich food for thought in the connections that run between pantheism, deism, materialism and theistic evolution that Bavinck suggests.

His observations on ‘time’ are fascinating and he gives interesting contemporary information on how the idea of an old earth originated in modern times with the need to accommodate evolutionary fairy tales. The long ages required for evolution were not at the time supported by geologists and others, who saw things very differently: a great example of cultural pressure driving ‘scientific’ consensus as the age of the earth extended to keep up with evolutionary requirements (I’d note that even the current ‘age’ is insufficient given Haldane’s Dilemma.

My comments are in [brackets].

Materialism, however, cannot accept a prime mover existing independently of matter. So the materialist has no choice but to also declare absolute and eternal (like the atom) motion, change or with Czolbe, even this existing world.

A Creation-Based Worldview
Pantheism attempts to explain the world dynamically; materialism attempts to do so mechanically…In both systems an unconscious blind fate is elevated to the throne of the universe. Both fail to appreciate the riches and diversity of the world, erase the boundaries between heaven and earth, matter and spirit, soul and body, man and animal, intellect and will, time and eternity, Creator and creature, being and nonbeing, and dissolve all distinctions in a bath of deadly uniformity. Both deny the existence of a conscious purpose and cannot point to a cause or a destiny for the existence of the world and its history.

Scripture’s worldview is radically different. From the beginning heaven and earth have been distinct. Everything was created with a nature of its own and rests in ordinances established by God. Sun, moon, and stars have their own unique task; plants, animals, and humans are distinct in nature. There is the most profuse diversity and yet, in that diversity, there is also a superlative kind of unity. The foundation of both diversity and unity is in God…Here is a unity that does not destroy [in contrast to all monism] but maintains diversity, and a diversity that does not come at the expense of unity but rather unfolds it in its riches.

[Thus, in biblical creation we have a worldview that defeats reductionist numbing of diversity into a lesser monistic ‘truth’ of all having ‘emerged’ from the one. Such notions make diversity somehow fraudulent, not real, because what is real is the ‘one’. Whereas God has given us genuine diversity as his creation has come from his hand in splendid multiplicity, where there is relationship, but true difference. The many has come from the ‘one’ not by mechanical or mystical emergency, but by thought and will shaped by love.

By extension, biotic diversity is similarly a genuine diversity: it all shares a maker, and a life ’language’ and systems. Evolutionary thinking eliminates true diversity and for Christians, theistic evolution directly denies Genesis 1: 9 and 20-24, where we are told explicitly and repeatedly (with inescapable emphasis) that plants and animals are made to reproduce after their kind: separation is built in, unlike evolution, where separation has putatively, emerged, as something mechanically inherent and not devised in love. Evolution, of course, has no place for love…it is just a machine]

Augustine states that all things are distinct in mode, species [this does not mean modern biological species], number, degree, and order. And precisely by these qualities they bring about that world, that universe, in which God, in his good pleasure, distributes good things, and which on that account is a manifestation of his perfections. For all that diversity can only be attributed to God, not to the merits of his creatures. “There is no nature even among the least and lowest of beats that he did not fashion…the properties without which nothing can either be or be conceived.”

As a result of this worldview Christianity has overcome both the contempt of nature [better: creation] and its deification. In paganism a human being does not stand in the right relationship to God and therefore not to the world either. Similarly in pantheism and materialism the relation of human beings to nature is fundamentally corrupted. One moment man considers himself infinitely superior to nature and believes that it no longer has any secrets for him. The next moment he experiences nature as a dark and mysterious power that he does not understand, whose riddles he cannot solve, and form whose power he cannot free himself. Intellectualism and mysticism alternate. Unbelief makes way for superstition and materialism turns into occultism….Here, accordingly there is room for love and admiration of nature, but all deification is excluded. Here a human being is placed in the right relation to the world because he has been put in the right relation to God. For that reason also creation is the fundamental dogma: throughout Scripture it is in the foreground and is the foundation stone on which the Old and New Covenants rest.

Finally, this doctrine rules out an egoistic theology and a false optimism. Certainly there is an element of truth in the view that all things exist for the sake of man, or rather for the sake of humanity, the church of Christ…But that humanity has its ultimate purpose, along with all other creatures, in the glorification of God. To that all things are subordinate.

For, according to Genesis, all the creatures which were brought forth in those six days…did not emerge by immanent forces in accordance with fixed laws from the available matter in the manner of evolution. That matter was in itself powerless to produce all this solely in the way of natural progression by immanent development. In itself it did not have the capacity for it; it only possessed a capacity for obedience. From the primary matter of Genesis 1:1, God, by speaking and creating, brought forth the entire cosmos. While in every new act of formation he linked up with what already existed, the higher phase did not solely proceed by an immanent force from the lower. At every stage a creating word of God’s omnipotence was needed.

[He then goes on to criticise Herder’s separation of the work of creation into “two ternaries”…foreshadowing as it did the ‘framework hypothesis’…but sees the six days as representing days of ‘separation’ followed by days of ‘adornment’ with a general progression from “a lower level to a higher level, from the general conditions for organics life to this organic life itself in its various forms.”]

Influence of ANE myths (97f)
The derivation of the creation story from the land of the Tigris and Euphrates therefore is only a small part of this pan-Babylonianism. What we are dealing with here is not an isolated instance, but a general intellectual trend which, after the literary-critical school had displayed its impotence, attempted to explain the problem of the Bible along religious-historical lines. [Then discussion of historical and linguistic questions]…But upon a careful reading none of these passages yields virtually any ground for the assertion that belief in creation in Israel still in many respects bears a mythological character. For, in the first place, it cannot be denied that these representations serve to describe very different things…Second, when these words are used as descriptions of natural powers, they never in Scripture refer to the natural power that the Babylonian creation story introduces as Tiammat…But we are nowhere told that at the creation there was a natural power opposed to God which he had to overcome.

But when Scripture, from its own perspective precisely as the book of religion, comes in contact with other sciences and also sheds its light on them, it does not all at once cease to be the Word of God but remains the Word. Even when it speaks about the genesis of heaven and earth, it does not present saga or myth or poetic fantasy but offers, in accordance with its own clear intent, history, the history that deserves credence and trust. And for that reason Christian theology, with only a few exceptions, continued to hold onto the literal historical view of the creation story. [Remember, he writes in late 1800s]

There is no advantage for people to say that it is better to be a highly developed animal than a fallen human. The theory of the animal ancestry of humans violates the image of God in man and degrades the human into an image of the orang-utan and chimpanzee. From the standpoint of evolution humanity as the image of God cannot be maintained. The theory of evolution forces us to return to creation as Scripture presents it to us.

The Age of Humanity
In connection with the theory of the origin of man the doctrine of evolution also tends to conflict with Scripture in regard to the age, the unity and the original abode of the human race. Great age was attributed to the human race by many peoples, including the Japanese, the East Indians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, who spoke of several world ages and of myriads and hundreds of thousands of years. Modern anthropology has from time to time returned to these fabulous figures but is no more consistent than pagan mythology; it ranges between 10,000 and 500,000 years and more.

In recent years there is a general tendency to observe greater moderation in calculating the age of the earth and humanity. Darwin, of course, demanded an incalculable number of years to allow for the origination of species by minute changes, for if evolution never proceeded faster than it does now, the origin of life and of every type of organism required an extraordinarily long time. When scientists began to compute, consistently with this theory of evolution, how long it would take for the human eye to develop from a tiny spot of pigment and for the brains of animals to develop from an original ganglion, they automatically arrived at immensely long times, which had to be multiplied a number of times for the duration of all of life on earth. Some of them along with Darwin himself in the first edition of his Origin of Species therefore came to a figure of 300 million years for the age of life on earth and the majority used even higher figures.

But gradually physicists and geologists began to register objections to these figures. They themselves began to calculate, attempting in various ways and by various methods to estimate the age of the earth, the ocean, the moon, and the sun. And although they differed among themselves over millions of years, still the time they assumed for that age was generally much shorter than that demanded by biologists. They spoke at most of 80 or 100 million, and sometimes went down as low as 10 re 20 million years—and as is clear from this difference, the calculation is again highly uncertain and subject to modification at a moment’s notice—it is self evident that the origin of life and humanity is much less remote…Of more value for that determination of the age of the human race are the chronological data that are furnished us by the history and monuments of different peoples…[a number of authors are then cited with ages within the biblical range and he discusses a number of factors that point to a recent age for the human race…]

This view then unwittingly prompts them to accept the theory of evolution, according to which the essence of man is situated not in what he was or is but in what he, in an endless process of development and by his own exertions, may become. Paradise lies ahead, not behind us. An evolved ape deserves preference over a fallen human. Original bearing the image of an orang-utan and chimpanzee, man gradually pulled himself up from a state of raw brutishness to that of a noble humanity.

It hardly needs saying that Holy Scripture is diametrically opposed to this theory of evolution. Christian churches, almost unanimously rejected the naturalistic Pelagian view of the image of God and man’s original state. Aside from the arguments for the Darwinian hypothesis…there are actually no direct historical proofs for the animal state…as far as we go back in history we find a condition of relatively high levels of civilization…

The Problem of Pantheism
Pantheism knows of no distinction between and the being of the world and—idealistically—lets the world be swallowed up in God or—materialistically—lets God be swallowed up in the world. On that position there is no room for the [act of] creation and therefore no room, in the real sense, for preservation and government. Providence then coincides with the course of nature. The laws of nature are identical with the decrees of God, and the rule of God is nothing other than “the fixed and immutable order of nature” or “the concatenation of natural things.” On that view there is no room for miracle, the self-activity of secondary causes, personality, freedom, prayer, sin, and religion as a whole. While pantheism may present itself in ever so beautiful and seductive a form, it actually takes its adherents back into the embrace of a pagan fate. On its premises there is no other existence than the existence of nature; no higher power than that which operates in the world in accordance with iron-clad law; no other and better life than that for which the materialism are present in the visible creation. For a time people may flatter themselves with the idealistic hope that the world will perfect itself by an immanent series of developments, but soon this optimism turns into pessimism, this idealism into materialism.

Over against this pantheism it was the task of Christian theology to maintain the distinction between creation and preservation, the self-activity of secondary causes, the freedom of personality, the character of sin, the truth of religion. It did this by rejecting fate and by clearly elucidating the confession of God’s providence in distinction from it. The distinguishing feature of the theory of fate is not that all that exists and occurs in time is grounded and determined in God’s eternal counsel, but the idea that all existence and occurrence is determined by a power which coincides with the world and which, apart from any consciousness and will, determines all things thought blind necessity. According to Cicero, the fate of the Stoa was “an order and series of causes with one cause producing another from within itself.” A further distinction made was that between a mathematical or astral fate when events on earth were thought to be determined by the stars and a natural fate when they were deemed to be determined by the nexus of nature. It is in this latter form that the theory of fate presently appears in pantheism and materialism…Belief in fate, after all, proceeded from the idea that all things happen as a result of an irresistible blind force having neither consciousness nor will and those events were called fatalia which happen apart form the will of God and men by the necessity of a certain order.

The Problem of Deism
On the other side of this spectrum stands Deism, which separates God and the world. This position is one which, in total or in part, separates the creatures, once they have then created, from God and then, again in larger or smaller part, it allows them to exist and function on their own power, a power received at the time of creation. Deism thus basically revives the pagan theory of chance. ..

The period beginning in the middle of the seventeenth century was marked by a powerful effort to emancipate nature, world, humanity, science, and so forth from God and to make them self-reliant in relation to him, to Christianity, church, and theology. In this respect latitudinarianism, Deism, rationalism, and the Enlightenment were all in agreement. This is the best of all possible worlds; humanity endowed with intellect and will, is self-sufficient; natural law, the forces of nature, natural religion, and natural morality together comprise a reserve of energies with which God endowed the world at the creation and which are now entirely adequate for its existence and development. Revelation, prophecy, miracles, and grace are totally redundant. Deism did not deny the existence of God, nor creation or providence. On the contrary, it loved to refer to the “Supreme Being” and discoursed at length on providence. But there was no longer any vitality in this belief. Deism in principle denied that God worked in creation in any way other than in accordance with and through the laws and forces of nature. Thus it was, from the outset, antisupranaturalistic. Preservation was enough; a kind of cooperation or divine influx operative along with every act of a creature was unnecessary.

In its eighteenth-century form, this deism indeed belongs to the paste. But in substance in both theory and practice it still holds sway in wide circles. Since, especially in the present century [19th], our knowledge of nature has greatly expanded and the stability of its laws has been recognized, many people are inclined to separate nature in its pitiless and unchanging character from God’s government to let it rest independently in itself…

Deism is essentially irreligious. For the Deist the salvation of humanity consists not in communion with God but in separation from him. The Deist’s mind is at ease only in detachment from God, that is, if he can be a practical atheist…In principle Deism is always the same: it deactivates God…Especially today, now that everyone is so deeply convinced of the stability of the natural order, there is no room in it for chance, and Deism again falls back into the embrace of ancient fate while chance is mainly reserved for the domain of religious and ethical concerns. But the doctrine of chance is no better than that of fate…chance and fortune are un-Christian through and through.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dead Duck

From ON LINE, another in the vein of Bozarth: is the SAD listening? This is a representation of the general cultural view of origins and Genesis:

ON LINE opinion - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

The Christian Doctrine of Creation: dead duck or saving truth?

By Peter Sellick

Posted Thursday, 8 January 2004

It seems to the modern mind that the Christian doctrine of Creation is a dead duck. This follows from the geology of Lyle and the evolutionary theory of Darwin. While the former extended geological time far beyond the biblical time scale, the latter explains the existence of life on earth in terms of sheer chance. The offence to the religious mind of Darwin is not that we are descended from apes but that our presence has come about by accident; there is no grand design, humanity is not at the centre of creation, we are but linguistic animals. Thus the Christian doctrine of creation, which presumes a purposive creator, is seen to be forfeit. This leaves such a wound in the body of Christianity that one wonders if it can survive. For this is no peripheral doctrine, it is central to Christian faith.

Any defence of the doctrine of creation cannot rely on the fuzzy logic that tells us that God was a player in the evolutionary process (if He was what did he contribute?), or by pushing the activity of God back to the big bang. Both of these solutions dispose of God.