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engaging response to Rob Bell's New ..
I have now read quite an interesting very recent article by QSmithat in whichhe concedes the case against 'well it's just so': buttries toargue that is a better explanation thanGod. Thereis,as you would expect, a considerable amount of philosophicalslight-of-hand involved in this! There is also the bizzare'argument'that God would not have created order out of chaos - he seems to thinkthat God's creation began with the Garden of Eden. How anyonewithsuch apparent basic ignorance of what the montheistic religionsactually teach can be taken seriously when they comment on God is oneof the mysteries of late 20thC secular thinking. But toretreatsoclearly from the nonsense stated by many atheists means that he is,perhaps, "not far from the Kingdom of God"
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Preliminary Response I think there arethree points here:
1. God, in love, choses to limit His omniscience as well as Hisomnipotence. In order to give us the freedom to learn to love, we aregiven the freedom to act, and chose.
2. God can exist outside time but still experience progression - indeedif (as we strongly suspect) that is fundamental to being a Person thenthere could be a series (T*) in God's experiences into which the time twe experience on Earth maps in an order-preserving way. In particularJohn has suggested that the mapping between earthly time and God's timecould well be such that, whenever we die, our resurrections happen atthe same moment at the end of (t) time. Provided the t->T*mappingis order-preserving then there can be a causal link.
3. In physics and morality the act of observing is an act. Even ifSuperman has 'x-ray eyes' so that he can look right though Lois Lane'sclothes, if he loves her he will choose not to look.
format response to literature ..
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John adds All human knowing involvesperception from aparticular point of view, which will offer opportunities for insightbut be bounded by its inherent limitations. I certainly do not thinkthat this implies that we are unable to get beyond misleading tricks ofperspactive, but it does mean that we have to be careful. Nicholasquoted Michael Polyani (a very helful writer on this subject) whoemphasises that science is precarious (it does not trade inunquestionable proof) but also reliable (it affords usverismilitudinous knowldge). One place where you could find my take ontis is Chapter 2 of (CUP). I wouldextend thiscritical realism to theology also (see (Yale UP) Chs 2 and 5).
Preliminary Response St Paul knew, evenbetter than Freud,that our perceptions of truth can be distorted by our hopes, fears andearthly beliefs. John, as you know, espouses the approach of 'CriticalRealism' which suggests that we can get progressively more accurateunderstandings "Scientists are mapmakers of the physical world. No maptells us all that could be concievably be told" ( Ch 5) John refers quite rightly to "the mastersofsuspicion ... like Marx and Freud who claimed to reveal that humanthought has its origin not in the ostensible objects of its engagement,but in the hidden motivations of class or sex" ( p2) and contrasts this with the manifest successofCritical Realism in scientific matters. In summary, the fact that ourperceptions are imperfect does not mean that they are always wrong,merely that we have to adopt "the frame of mind where I may firmly holdto what I believe to be true, even though I know that it mightconceivably be false" (p34quoting Polyani p214) but recognising that even for verygoodexplanations "there may be a significant element of modelling, at leastin the way in which the express their insights in everyday language" ( p 84)
3:5 Summary of the response of the city to Jonah's preaching.
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—. From England to Bohemia: Heresy and Communication in the Later Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press , 2012. [Abstract: “This is the first book-length study of the influential cultural and religious exchanges which took place between England and Bohemia following Richard II’s marriage to Anne of Bohemia in 1382. The ensuing growth in communication between the two kingdoms initially enabled new ideas of religion to flourish in both countries but eventually led the English authorities to suppress heresy. This exciting project has been made possible by the discovery of new manuscripts after the opening up of Czech archives over the past twenty years. It is the only study to analyze the Lollard-Hussite exchange with an eye to the new opportunities for international travel and correspondence to which the Great Schism gave rise, and examines how the use of propaganda and The Council of Constance brought an end to this communication by securing the condemnation of heretics such as John Wyclif.”]
—. Textual Situations: Three Medieval Manuscripts and their Readers. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2002. [Taylor discusses Lollardy in the context of one of the manuscripts here, BL MS Royal 10.E.4, the Smithfield Decretals. He uses the conflict on the ms page between the text, which is meant to regulate society, and the marginalia, which depict an often very disorderly society, to open up an examination of the 1381 peasant’s revolt and its attribution to the Lollards; as Stephen Justice (in Writing and Rebellion) and others have discussed, the rebellion seems to mirror the later medieval divide between litterati and illiterati.]
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Evangelical response to documentary …
Created in theImage of God? I have readwith interest the website of John Polkinghorne and I am deeplyappreciative of his thoughts on integrating science and religion. If itwere possible, I would like to know some of his thoughts on what hethinks Genesis 1:26-27 means, especially in trying to understand whatit means for humankind to be created in the image of God. I am agraduate student at XX University in XX Texas. I also pastor the XXChurch in XX Texas. We are studying the account of Creation for one ofour graduate seminars and I am writing a paper on Genesis 1:26-27. I'mjust curious at what some of Dr. Polkinghorne's thoughts would be.
evangelical response to documentary ..
John's Comments Nick, thanks for yourmessage about and your very helpful reply. Just a few more thoughts onemightadd:
Debate about the meaning of the "image of God" has gone on forcenturies in the Christian community. Nicholas is right that it is veryrich, multifaceted concept. Other components include:
g. Science's power to fathom the deep structure of the Universe, whichI believe to be a pale reflection of our being in the Creator' image
h. The granting of 'dominion', understood in the sense of a caringshepherd-king rather than an exploitative despot and perhaps alsolinked with the custom in the ancient world for absent kings to erectstatuary images of themselves to recall their authority exercisedthrough local vice-regents.
I think one of the most important meanings is Nicholas' d(valuable in God's eyes) which liberates us from taking too functionala view of God's gift (rationality etc..). The fundamental worth of thegravely handicapped surely derives from the fact that they too arebearers of the divine image.
Evangelical response to documentary hypothesis ..
John adds All human knowing involvesperception from aparticular point of view, which will offer opportunities for insightbut be bounded by its inherent limitations. I certainly do not thinkthat this implies that we are unable to get beyond misleading tricks ofperspective, but it does mean that we have to be careful. Nicholasquoted Michael Polanyi (a very helful writer on this subject) whoemphasises that science is precarious (it does not trade inunquestionable proof) but also reliable (it affords usverismilitudinous knowledge). One place where you could find my take onthis is Chapter 2 of (CUP). I wouldextend thiscritical realism to theology also (see (Yale UP) Chs 2 and 5). I am sure that God is notlessmerciful than we are inclined to be.
I do not think everyone's eternal destiny is fixed at death - think ofthose whose geographical or historical situation prevented theirhearing the gospel, of those whose response has been crippled byexperiences like child abuse. Yet wittingly to turn from Christ in thislife is spiritually very dangerous and I think that is what the sternNT language about judgement is principally intended to convey. For amore detailed discussion see (Yale UP) esp. ch 11.
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