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Paul Davies, New Scientist, 2 June 1983

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  • alphaori2002
    For those interested, the entire review by Paul Davies that is oft quoted here. paul ... New Scientist, 2 June 1983 pp638-639 REVIEW The Christian perspective
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 12, 2007
      For those interested, the entire review by Paul Davies that is oft
      quoted here.

      paul

      ---------------------------

      New Scientist, 2 June 1983 pp638-639
      REVIEW

      The Christian perspective of a scientist

      The way the world is
      by John Pollinghorne,
      Triangle, pp 130, pbk £1.85

      Paul Davies

      THE CONTINUING clash in perspective between science and religion has
      shifted back once more to fundamental physics and cosmology after a
      century or so of sparring in the biological arena. Revolutionary
      developments in our understanding of the ultimate structure of
      matter, the relativity of space and time, and the astonishing
      success of the big bang theory have cut across the traditional
      religious views of the world and challenge many of the assumptions
      of Christian doctrine. Physics is now invading the subject matter of
      religion in a big way.

      Writers on this topic are usually either scientifically-minded
      theologians, or scientists with an interest in religion and
      philosophy. Rare indeed is the physicist who is also a theologian.
      John Polkinghorne achieved this distinction when, in his mid-40s, he
      resigned the chair of theoretical physics at Cambridge and became an
      ordained clergyman

      Unlike the former professor's previous book, The Particle Play, this
      is not a work of science but a straightforward articulation of
      conventional Christian doctrine. The author takes us through the
      Gospels and explains why he finds the documentary evidence
      concerning the life and significance of Jesus convincing, and how it
      can be reconciled with a modern scientific view of the world.

      Keats wrote that "truth is beauty". All physicists are inspired by
      the astonishing elegance and harmony of nature. Beauty is their very
      practical guide when building mathematical models to describe the
      world. Werner Heisenberg, one of the fathers of quantum physics, was
      of the opinion that "If nature leads us to mathematical forms of
      great simplicity and beauty … we cannot help thinking that they are
      `true'." The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product
      of some sort of `design' [emphasis Davies'], a manifestation of
      subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgement, is overwhelming.

      The belief that there is "something behind it all" is one that I
      personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists. This
      rather diffuse feeling could, I suppose, be termed theism in its
      widest sense. Nevertheless, there is a long way to go from the
      feeling that nature is extraordinarily "clever" and harmonious to
      the idea of Jesus as the Son of God.

      In the Western world, Christianity is so much a part of our culture
      that it is easy to miss just how remarkably audacious the Christian
      claim is. We are asked to believe that God somehow became Man and
      lived out his destiny in a backwater of the Roman Empire at a time
      of relatively minor cultural and political activity 2000 years ago.
      How are we to square this cosy association between God and mankind
      on planet Earth with the vast majesty of the cosmos? Can mankind
      really occupy a position so astonishingly privileged amid the great
      scheme of things?

      For many, the greatest difficulty in accepting Christianity is the
      obscurity of the relation between Jesus and God. The concept of the
      Trinity seems utterly contrived and ambiguous, while the
      resurrection can so easily be dismissed as the product of wishful
      thinking. Polkinghorne addresses this central issue boldly enough,
      but can only, of course, appeal to the Bible. He will fail to
      convince skeptics that they should believe the eyewitness accounts
      of the resurrection any more than those, equally sincere, reports of
      flying saucers and their occupants. And when the point at issue is
      nothing other than the ultimate cosmic reality we are entitled to
      demand some pretty solid evidence. To reason, as the author does,
      that science teaches us to expect the unexpected, is hardly a
      justification for a particular theological scheme.

      Much of the author's discussion is devoted to the paradox that the
      Creator's son, a man whose powers transcended the confines of
      physics and biology, nevertheless met a humiliating and despairing
      end at the hands of ordinary mortals. The death of Jesus remains the
      most startling and unnerving aspect of the entire Christian
      theology. The extraordinary achievement of Christianity is to turn
      the repugnant catastrophe of the Cross into the triumph of the
      Spirit. And caught up in this mind-bending inversion is the
      bewildering complexity of the Trinity and the position of evil in
      the world. How many people who claim to Christians have even the
      remotest conception of these subtleties?

      Perhaps the most enigmatic aspect of Christianity is the concept of
      the Kingdom of God—Jesus's central message of hope in those days of
      long ago. I have never understood what, where or when this
      mysterious Kingdom is. Theological discussions about the Kingdom,
      tend to be vague and metaphysical. I had hoped that, as a scientist,
      John Polkinghorne would grasp the nettle and spell out just what we
      can expect from this major promise given to humanity by Jesus.
      Certainly, he leaves us in no doubt as to its importance. But does
      the Kingdom lie just beyond death, or is it to be, as Jesus seemed
      to be claiming, within the physical Universe at some future date?
      What then of the laws of physics that lead inexorably to cosmic
      decline and death aeons hence? We are left uncomprehending.

      The Way the World Is offers an uncontroversial modern Christian
      perspective of the world. As such it is more orthogonal to the realm
      of science than parallel to it. No dogmatist, John Polkinghorne is
      honest enough to mull over the dubious aspects of Christianity too—
      the shaky points of doctrine, the blatant tampering with the
      original documentary material by a power-hungry Church, the shameful
      centuries of oppression and persecution by the Christian
      Establishment. Yet he concludes that there is still much of value
      in the Christian message, that it provides both a framework for a
      good society and a hint of the true meaning behind all that
      tantalizing physics. It won't convert an agnostic, but it will
      interest all those who are intrigued to learn the basis of one man's
      faith.
    • HumanCarol
      I am a fierce opponent of so-called Intelligent Design , and I devote a whole chapter of my book Cosmic Jackpot (published under the title The Goldilocks
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 21, 2008
        "I am a fierce opponent of so-called "Intelligent Design", and I
        devote a whole chapter of my book Cosmic Jackpot (published under the
        title The Goldilocks Enigma in the UK) to denouncing it."
        http://cosmos.asu.edu/


        On October 12, "alphaori2002" <pnoah@...> posted:
        >
        > For those interested, the entire review by Paul Davies that is oft
        > quoted here.
        > paul
        > ---------------------------

        > New Scientist, 2 June 1983 pp638-639
        > REVIEW
        > The Christian perspective of a scientist
        > The way the world is
        > by John Pollinghorne,
        > Triangle, pp 130, pbk £1.85
        > Paul Davies
        >
        > THE CONTINUING clash in perspective between science and religion has
        > shifted back once more to fundamental physics and cosmology after a
        > century or so of sparring in the biological arena. Revolutionary
        > developments in our understanding of the ultimate structure of
        > matter, the relativity of space and time, and the astonishing
        > success of the big bang theory have cut across the traditional
        > religious views of the world and challenge many of the assumptions
        > of Christian doctrine. Physics is now invading the subject matter of
        > religion in a big way.
        >
        > Writers on this topic are usually either scientifically-minded
        > theologians, or scientists with an interest in religion and
        > philosophy. Rare indeed is the physicist who is also a theologian.
        > John Polkinghorne achieved this distinction when, in his mid-40s, he
        > resigned the chair of theoretical physics at Cambridge and became an
        > ordained clergyman
        >
        > Unlike the former professor's previous book, The Particle Play, this
        > is not a work of science but a straightforward articulation of
        > conventional Christian doctrine. The author takes us through the
        > Gospels and explains why he finds the documentary evidence
        > concerning the life and significance of Jesus convincing, and how it
        > can be reconciled with a modern scientific view of the world.
        >
        > Keats wrote that "truth is beauty". All physicists are inspired by
        > the astonishing elegance and harmony of nature. Beauty is their very
        > practical guide when building mathematical models to describe the
        > world. Werner Heisenberg, one of the fathers of quantum physics, was
        > of the opinion that "If nature leads us to mathematical forms of
        > great simplicity and beauty … we cannot help thinking that they are
        > `true'." The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product
        > of some sort of `design' [emphasis Davies'], a manifestation of
        > subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgement, is overwhelming.
        >
        > The belief that there is "something behind it all" is one that I
        > personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists. This
        > rather diffuse feeling could, I suppose, be termed theism in its
        > widest sense. Nevertheless, there is a long way to go from the
        > feeling that nature is extraordinarily "clever" and harmonious to
        > the idea of Jesus as the Son of God.
        >
        > In the Western world, Christianity is so much a part of our culture
        > that it is easy to miss just how remarkably audacious the Christian
        > claim is. We are asked to believe that God somehow became Man and
        > lived out his destiny in a backwater of the Roman Empire at a time
        > of relatively minor cultural and political activity 2000 years ago.
        > How are we to square this cosy association between God and mankind
        > on planet Earth with the vast majesty of the cosmos? Can mankind
        > really occupy a position so astonishingly privileged amid the great
        > scheme of things?
        >
        > For many, the greatest difficulty in accepting Christianity is the
        > obscurity of the relation between Jesus and God. The concept of the
        > Trinity seems utterly contrived and ambiguous, while the
        > resurrection can so easily be dismissed as the product of wishful
        > thinking. Polkinghorne addresses this central issue boldly enough,
        > but can only, of course, appeal to the Bible. He will fail to
        > convince skeptics that they should believe the eyewitness accounts
        > of the resurrection any more than those, equally sincere, reports of
        > flying saucers and their occupants. And when the point at issue is
        > nothing other than the ultimate cosmic reality we are entitled to
        > demand some pretty solid evidence. To reason, as the author does,
        > that science teaches us to expect the unexpected, is hardly a
        > justification for a particular theological scheme.
        >
        > Much of the author's discussion is devoted to the paradox that the
        > Creator's son, a man whose powers transcended the confines of
        > physics and biology, nevertheless met a humiliating and despairing
        > end at the hands of ordinary mortals. The death of Jesus remains the
        > most startling and unnerving aspect of the entire Christian
        > theology. The extraordinary achievement of Christianity is to turn
        > the repugnant catastrophe of the Cross into the triumph of the
        > Spirit. And caught up in this mind-bending inversion is the
        > bewildering complexity of the Trinity and the position of evil in
        > the world. How many people who claim to Christians have even the
        > remotest conception of these subtleties?
        >
        > Perhaps the most enigmatic aspect of Christianity is the concept of
        > the Kingdom of God—Jesus's central message of hope in those days of
        > long ago. I have never understood what, where or when this
        > mysterious Kingdom is. Theological discussions about the Kingdom,
        > tend to be vague and metaphysical. I had hoped that, as a scientist,
        > John Polkinghorne would grasp the nettle and spell out just what we
        > can expect from this major promise given to humanity by Jesus.
        > Certainly, he leaves us in no doubt as to its importance. But does
        > the Kingdom lie just beyond death, or is it to be, as Jesus seemed
        > to be claiming, within the physical Universe at some future date?
        > What then of the laws of physics that lead inexorably to cosmic
        > decline and death aeons hence? We are left uncomprehending.
        >
        > The Way the World Is offers an uncontroversial modern Christian
        > perspective of the world. As such it is more orthogonal to the realm
        > of science than parallel to it. No dogmatist, John Polkinghorne is
        > honest enough to mull over the dubious aspects of Christianity too—
        > the shaky points of doctrine, the blatant tampering with the
        > original documentary material by a power-hungry Church, the shameful
        > centuries of oppression and persecution by the Christian
        > Establishment. Yet he concludes that there is still much of value
        > in the Christian message, that it provides both a framework for a
        > good society and a hint of the true meaning behind all that
        > tantalizing physics. It won't convert an agnostic, but it will
        > interest all those who are intrigued to learn the basis of one man's
        > faith.
      • Ed
        Some interesting ideas are presented here, Carol. I will try to address them for you in depth when I have time.--Ed ... are ... of ... too— ... Some
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 21, 2008

          Some interesting ideas are presented here, Carol. I will try to address them for you in depth when I have time.--Ed


          --- In creation_evolution_debate@yahoogroups.com, "HumanCarol" <humanist@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > "I am a fierce opponent of so-called "Intelligent Design", and I
          > devote a whole chapter of my book Cosmic Jackpot (published under the
          > title The Goldilocks Enigma in the UK) to denouncing it."
          > http://cosmos.asu.edu/
          >
          >
          > On October 12, "alphaori2002" pnoah@ posted:
          > >
          > > For those interested, the entire review by Paul Davies that is oft
          > > quoted here.
          > > paul
          > > ---------------------------
          >
          > > New Scientist, 2 June 1983 pp638-639
          > > REVIEW
          > > The Christian perspective of a scientist
          > > The way the world is
          > > by John Pollinghorne,
          > > Triangle, pp 130, pbk £1.85
          > > Paul Davies
          > >
          > > THE CONTINUING clash in perspective between science and religion has
          > > shifted back once more to fundamental physics and cosmology after a
          > > century or so of sparring in the biological arena. Revolutionary
          > > developments in our understanding of the ultimate structure of
          > > matter, the relativity of space and time, and the astonishing
          > > success of the big bang theory have cut across the traditional
          > > religious views of the world and challenge many of the assumptions
          > > of Christian doctrine. Physics is now invading the subject matter of
          > > religion in a big way.
          > >
          > > Writers on this topic are usually either scientifically-minded
          > > theologians, or scientists with an interest in religion and
          > > philosophy. Rare indeed is the physicist who is also a theologian.
          > > John Polkinghorne achieved this distinction when, in his mid-40s, he
          > > resigned the chair of theoretical physics at Cambridge and became an
          > > ordained clergyman
          > >
          > > Unlike the former professor's previous book, The Particle Play, this
          > > is not a work of science but a straightforward articulation of
          > > conventional Christian doctrine. The author takes us through the
          > > Gospels and explains why he finds the documentary evidence
          > > concerning the life and significance of Jesus convincing, and how it
          > > can be reconciled with a modern scientific view of the world.
          > >
          > > Keats wrote that "truth is beauty". All physicists are inspired by
          > > the astonishing elegance and harmony of nature. Beauty is their very
          > > practical guide when building mathematical models to describe the
          > > world. Werner Heisenberg, one of the fathers of quantum physics, was
          > > of the opinion that "If nature leads us to mathematical forms of
          > > great simplicity and beauty … we cannot help thinking that they are
          > > `true'." The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product
          > > of some sort of `design' [emphasis Davies'], a manifestation of
          > > subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgement, is overwhelming.
          > >
          > > The belief that there is "something behind it all" is one that I
          > > personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists. This
          > > rather diffuse feeling could, I suppose, be termed theism in its
          > > widest sense. Nevertheless, there is a long way to go from the
          > > feeling that nature is extraordinarily "clever" and harmonious to
          > > the idea of Jesus as the Son of God.
          > >
          > > In the Western world, Christianity is so much a part of our culture
          > > that it is easy to miss just how remarkably audacious the Christian
          > > claim is. We are asked to believe that God somehow became Man and
          > > lived out his destiny in a backwater of the Roman Empire at a time
          > > of relatively minor cultural and political activity 2000 years ago.
          > > How are we to square this cosy association between God and mankind
          > > on planet Earth with the vast majesty of the cosmos? Can mankind
          > > really occupy a position so astonishingly privileged amid the great
          > > scheme of things?
          > >
          > > For many, the greatest difficulty in accepting Christianity is the
          > > obscurity of the relation between Jesus and God. The concept of the
          > > Trinity seems utterly contrived and ambiguous, while the
          > > resurrection can so easily be dismissed as the product of wishful
          > > thinking. Polkinghorne addresses this central issue boldly enough,
          > > but can only, of course, appeal to the Bible. He will fail to
          > > convince skeptics that they should believe the eyewitness accounts
          > > of the resurrection any more than those, equally sincere, reports of
          > > flying saucers and their occupants. And when the point at issue is
          > > nothing other than the ultimate cosmic reality we are entitled to
          > > demand some pretty solid evidence. To reason, as the author does,
          > > that science teaches us to expect the unexpected, is hardly a
          > > justification for a particular theological scheme.
          > >
          > > Much of the author's discussion is devoted to the paradox that the
          > > Creator's son, a man whose powers transcended the confines of
          > > physics and biology, nevertheless met a humiliating and despairing
          > > end at the hands of ordinary mortals. The death of Jesus remains the
          > > most startling and unnerving aspect of the entire Christian
          > > theology. The extraordinary achievement of Christianity is to turn
          > > the repugnant catastrophe of the Cross into the triumph of the
          > > Spirit. And caught up in this mind-bending inversion is the
          > > bewildering complexity of the Trinity and the position of evil in
          > > the world. How many people who claim to Christians have even the
          > > remotest conception of these subtleties?
          > >
          > > Perhaps the most enigmatic aspect of Christianity is the concept of
          > > the Kingdom of God—Jesus's central message of hope in those days of
          > > long ago. I have never understood what, where or when this
          > > mysterious Kingdom is. Theological discussions about the Kingdom,
          > > tend to be vague and metaphysical. I had hoped that, as a scientist,
          > > John Polkinghorne would grasp the nettle and spell out just what we
          > > can expect from this major promise given to humanity by Jesus.
          > > Certainly, he leaves us in no doubt as to its importance. But does
          > > the Kingdom lie just beyond death, or is it to be, as Jesus seemed
          > > to be claiming, within the physical Universe at some future date?
          > > What then of the laws of physics that lead inexorably to cosmic
          > > decline and death aeons hence? We are left uncomprehending.
          > >
          > > The Way the World Is offers an uncontroversial modern Christian
          > > perspective of the world. As such it is more orthogonal to the realm
          > > of science than parallel to it. No dogmatist, John Polkinghorne is
          > > honest enough to mull over the dubious aspects of Christianity too—
          > > the shaky points of doctrine, the blatant tampering with the
          > > original documentary material by a power-hungry Church, the shameful
          > > centuries of oppression and persecution by the Christian
          > > Establishment. Yet he concludes that there is still much of value
          > > in the Christian message, that it provides both a framework for a
          > > good society and a hint of the true meaning behind all that
          > > tantalizing physics. It won't convert an agnostic, but it will
          > > interest all those who are intrigued to learn the basis of one man's
          > > faith.
          >

        • Joe
          ... I go away for three days and there are umpty-squat messages... many of them are from you, Ed. It seems you have a LOT of time to respond. Joe
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 21, 2008
            --- In creation_evolution_debate@yahoogroups.com, "Ed" <village_idiot_ed@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Some interesting ideas are presented here, Carol. I will try to address
            > them for you in depth when I have time.--Ed
            >
            I go away for three days and there are umpty-squat messages... many of them are from you,
            Ed. It seems you have a LOT of time to respond.

            Joe
          • prs7795@aol.com
            In a message dated 2/21/2008 7:37:30 P.M. Central Standard Time, ... I go away for three days and there are umpty-squat messages... many of them are from you,
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 21, 2008
              In a message dated 2/21/2008 7:37:30 P.M. Central Standard Time, Star57@... writes:
              --- In creation_evolution_ debate@yahoogrou ps.com, "Ed" <village_idiot_ ed@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > Some interesting ideas are presented here, Carol. I will try to address
              > them for you in depth when I have time.--Ed
              >
              I go away for three days and there are umpty-squat messages... many of them are from you,
              Ed. It seems you have a LOT of time to respond.

              Joe
              Carol,
               
              I turn things over to you. I made a fool of myself thinking he was earlier serious about a topic.
               
              Our discussion is over and he won't be burdened with finding facts and figures or data to support his position which we were discussing. Time for another person who may perhaps have a more unique ability to understand what apparently, if I understand things is beyond my ability to comprehend. I believe you are worthy of his intellect and you will do well.

              I look forward to his defense of his statement.
               
              Paul Swanson




              Delicious ideas to please the pickiest eaters. Watch the video on AOL Living.
            • Ed
              Paul S., Carol never tries to discuss anything. She just makes long posts like this and refuses to give an opinion. If she does make a few limited comments,
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 22, 2008

                Paul S., Carol never tries to discuss anything. She just makes long posts like this and refuses to give an opinion. If she does make a few limited comments, they are insults or stating her opinion as if it settled the question. Now as far as me having time to respond to this article, human stupidity is infinite. I am trying to overcome infinite human stupidity, but I do not have infinite time.--Ed


                --- In creation_evolution_debate@yahoogroups.com, prs7795@... wrote:
                >
                >
                > In a message dated 2/21/2008 7:37:30 P.M. Central Standard Time,
                > Star57@... writes:
                >
                > --- In _creation_evolution_creation_evoluticreati_
                > (mailto:creation_evolution_debate@yahoogroups.com) , "Ed" <village_idiot_villag> wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > > Some interesting ideas are presented here, Carol. I will try to address
                > > them for you in depth when I have time.--Ed
                > >
                > I go away for three days and there are umpty-squat messages... many of them
                > are from you,
                > Ed. It seems you have a LOT of time to respond.
                >
                > Joe
                >
                >
                >
                > Carol,
                >
                > I turn things over to you. I made a fool of myself thinking he was earlier
                > serious about a topic.
                >
                > Our discussion is over and he won't be burdened with finding facts and
                > figures or data to support his position which we were discussing. Time for another
                > person who may perhaps have a more unique ability to understand what
                > apparently, if I understand things is beyond my ability to comprehend. I believe you
                > are worthy of his intellect and you will do well.
                >
                > I look forward to his defense of his statement.
                >
                > Paul Swanson
                >
                >
                >

              • Ed
                ED: Here I am charging windmills again in the hope of overcoming infinite human stupidity for those who are devoted to it. There is little hope, I know, but it
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 22, 2008

                  ED: Here I am charging windmills again in the hope of overcoming infinite human stupidity for those who are devoted to it. There is little hope, I know, but it helps that I am a village idiot, so I don't know what can't be done.


                  "I am a fierce opponent of so-called "Intelligent Design", and I
                  devote a whole chapter of my book Cosmic Jackpot (published under the
                  title The Goldilocks Enigma in the UK) to denouncing it."
                  http://cosmos.asu.edu/

                  ED: Well, you do not have to be right in order to be fierce. See below.


                  On October 12, "alphaori2002" <pnoah@...> posted:

                  >
                  > For those interested, the entire review by Paul Davies that is oft
                  > quoted here.
                  > paul
                  > ---------------------------

                  > New Scientist, 2 June 1983 pp638-639
                  > REVIEW
                  > The Christian perspective of a scientist
                  > The way the world is
                  > by John Pollinghorne,
                  > Triangle, pp 130, pbk £1.85
                  > Paul Davies
                  >
                  > THE CONTINUING clash in perspective between science and religion has
                  > shifted back once more to fundamental physics and cosmology after a
                  > century or so of sparring in the biological arena. Revolutionary
                  > developments in our understanding of the ultimate structure of
                  > matter, the relativity of space and time, and the astonishing
                  > success of the big bang theory have cut across the traditional
                  > religious views of the world and challenge many of the assumptions
                  > of Christian doctrine. Physics is now invading the subject matter of
                  > religion in a big way.

                  ED: Perhaps it is. If so, it is because the same materialist assumptions used in biology are being applied in physics.

                  >
                  > Writers on this topic are usually either scientifically-minded
                  > theologians, or scientists with an interest in religion and
                  > philosophy. Rare indeed is the physicist who is also a theologian.
                  > John Polkinghorne achieved this distinction when, in his mid-40s, he
                  > resigned the chair of theoretical physics at Cambridge and became an
                  > ordained clergyman

                  ED: This does not make him a COMPETENT theologian. There are many clergymen who are incompetent in theology.

                  >
                  > Unlike the former professor's previous book, The Particle Play, this
                  > is not a work of science but a straightforward articulation of
                  > conventional Christian doctrine. The author takes us through the
                  > Gospels and explains why he finds the documentary evidence
                  > concerning the life and significance of Jesus convincing, and how it
                  > can be reconciled with a modern scientific view of the world.

                  ED: I think his reconciliation is foolish. He accepts the mistaking of materialism for science, and thinks he can tack God on to it somehow.

                  >
                  > Keats wrote that "truth is beauty". All physicists are inspired by
                  > the astonishing elegance and harmony of nature. Beauty is their very
                  > practical guide when building mathematical models to describe the
                  > world. Werner Heisenberg, one of the fathers of quantum physics, was
                  > of the opinion that "If nature leads us to mathematical forms of
                  > great simplicity and beauty … we cannot help thinking that they are
                  > `true'." The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product
                  > of some sort of `design' [emphasis Davies'], a manifestation of
                  > subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgement, is overwhelming.

                  ED: Why is it a temptation? It is actually self-evident that there is design in the universe, if you do away with the need to account for all phenomena by materialistic philosophy.

                  >
                  > The belief that there is "something behind it all" is one that I
                  > personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists. This
                  > rather diffuse feeling could, I suppose, be termed theism in its
                  > widest sense. Nevertheless, there is a long way to go from the
                  > feeling that nature is extraordinarily "clever" and harmonious to
                  > the idea of Jesus as the Son of God.

                  ED: Not really. Jesus is essential for providing an objective method for overcoming infinite human guilt before the demand of God for perfect righteousness. No other method is possible.

                  >
                  > In the Western world, Christianity is so much a part of our culture
                  > that it is easy to miss just how remarkably audacious the Christian
                  > claim is. We are asked to believe that God somehow became Man and
                  > lived out his destiny in a backwater of the Roman Empire at a time
                  > of relatively minor cultural and political activity 2000 years ago.

                  ED: Yes, it is called "the offense of the Cross." It offends human understanding, because human understanding is really stupidity.


                  > How are we to square this cosy association between God and mankind
                  > on planet Earth with the vast majesty of the cosmos? Can mankind
                  > really occupy a position so astonishingly privileged amid the great
                  > scheme of things?

                  ED: Yes, it offends the stupid understanding most people have of Copernicanism, "there is nothing special about the earth." This is an unscientific, metaphysical extrapolation of the observation that the earth goes around the sun, just like evolution is an extrapolation of the observation that there is change in species.

                  >
                  > For many, the greatest difficulty in accepting Christianity is the
                  > obscurity of the relation between Jesus and God. The concept of the
                  > Trinity seems utterly contrived and ambiguous, while the
                  > resurrection can so easily be dismissed as the product of wishful
                  > thinking. Polkinghorne addresses this central issue boldly enough,
                  > but can only, of course, appeal to the Bible.

                  ED: Well, just because Polkinghorne is incompetent, that does not mean that you can dismiss Jesus. You then have no way to approach God without facing His wrath for your sin.

                  He will fail to

                  > convince skeptics that they should believe the eyewitness accounts
                  > of the resurrection any more than those, equally sincere, reports of
                  > flying saucers and their occupants.

                  ED: Yes, if you are committed to considering God not self-evident, you will always find a way.

                  And when the point at issue is

                  > nothing other than the ultimate cosmic reality we are entitled to
                  > demand some pretty solid evidence.

                  ED: Who is it that "entitles" you? You are assuming that there is a higher entity than God that can define Him for you. This is stupidity. God must be considered self-evident, since He defines reality.

                   To reason, as the author does,

                  > that science teaches us to expect the unexpected, is hardly a
                  > justification for a particular theological scheme.

                  ED: Yes, Polkinghorne is incompetent, and does not understand what he is doing, I agree. He does not understand that he has accepted the basic assumption of the materialist, that God is not self-evident, and on that basis trying to prove God, the Trinity, and Jesus.

                  >
                  > Much of the author's discussion is devoted to the paradox that the
                  > Creator's son, a man whose powers transcended the confines of
                  > physics and biology, nevertheless met a humiliating and despairing
                  > end at the hands of ordinary mortals. The death of Jesus remains the
                  > most startling and unnerving aspect of the entire Christian
                  > theology.

                  ED: Yes, it is called "the offense of the Cross." It is disturbing that God would die on a cross at the hands of those He wished to save. But it was the only way to provide an objective manner of dealing with the infinity of human guilt before the demands of God for perfect righteousness. Only God could provide the infinite sacrifice needed to satisy His own demand for perfect righeousness in those who approach Him.

                  The extraordinary achievement of Christianity is to turn

                  > the repugnant catastrophe of the Cross into the triumph of the
                  > Spirit. And caught up in this mind-bending inversion is the
                  > bewildering complexity of the Trinity and the position of evil in
                  > the world. How many people who claim to Christians have even the
                  > remotest conception of these subtleties?

                  ED: Unfortunately, not many. Observe how many of those who claim to be Christians here do not have the slightest idea what they are doing.

                  >
                  > Perhaps the most enigmatic aspect of Christianity is the concept of
                  > the Kingdom of God—Jesus's central message of hope in those days of
                  > long ago. I have never understood what, where or when this
                  > mysterious Kingdom is.

                  ED: I agree, you haven't.

                  >

                  >  Theological discussions about the Kingdom,
                  > tend to be vague and metaphysical. I had hoped that, as a scientist,
                  > John Polkinghorne would grasp the nettle and spell out just what we
                  > can expect from this major promise given to humanity by Jesus.

                  ED: You can expect judgment and expulsion from the presence of God because of your denial of His relevance, and having the wrath of God poured out on you.


                  > Certainly, he leaves us in no doubt as to its importance. But does
                  > the Kingdom lie just beyond death, or is it to be, as Jesus seemed
                  > to be claiming, within the physical Universe at some future date?
                  > What then of the laws of physics that lead inexorably to cosmic
                  > decline and death aeons hence? We are left uncomprehending.

                  ED: This is because of your refusal to realize that God must be considered self-evident in order to have the concepts of knowledge and truth. Searching for truth without considering God self-evident only results in confusion, since there is no basis for truth.

                  >
                  > The Way the World Is offers an uncontroversial modern Christian
                  > perspective of the world. As such it is more orthogonal to the realm
                  > of science than parallel to it.

                  ED: No, it is "orthogonal" to MATERIALISM, not science. Most scientists mistake the two. It is orthogonal to the realm of materialist mythology.

                  No dogmatist, John Polkinghorne is

                  > honest enough to mull over the dubious aspects of Christianity too—
                  > the shaky points of doctrine, the blatant tampering with the
                  > original documentary material by a power-hungry Church, the shameful
                  > centuries of oppression and persecution by the Christian
                  > Establishment.

                  ED: Yes, the religious establishment is not faithful to Christ. It is called the "Harlot" in the book of Revelation.

                  Yet he concludes that there is still much of value

                  > in the Christian message, that it provides both a framework for a
                  > good society and a hint of the true meaning behind all that
                  > tantalizing physics. It won't convert an agnostic, but it will
                  > interest all those who are intrigued to learn the basis of one man's
                  > faith.

                  ED: Agnosticism is just the failure to realize that God must be assumed to be self-evident in order to find truth. This does not mean that one has to believe in God, since belief is not under human control. However, an assumption is an ACTION which will get one through a crisis in belief. One does not have to believe, since that is not under his control. But he can always make an assumption.





                  Theological discussions about the Kingdom,

                  > tend to be vague and metaphysical. I had hoped that, as a scientist,
                  > John Polkinghorne would grasp the nettle and spell out just what we
                  > can expect from this major promise given to humanity by Jesus.
                  > Certainly, he leaves us in no doubt as to its importance. But does
                  > the Kingdom lie just beyond death, or is it to be, as Jesus seemed
                  > to be claiming, within the physical Universe at some future date?
                  > What then of the laws of physics that lead inexorably to cosmic
                  > decline and death aeons hence? We are left uncomprehending.
                  >
                  > The Way the World Is offers an uncontroversial modern Christian
                  > perspective of the world. As such it is more orthogonal to the realm
                  > of science than parallel to it. No dogmatist, John Polkinghorne is
                  > honest enough to mull over the dubious aspects of Christianity too—
                  > the shaky points of doctrine, the blatant tampering with the
                  > original documentary material by a power-hungry Church, the shameful
                  > centuries of oppression and persecution by the Christian
                  > Establishment. Yet he concludes that there is still much of value
                  > in the Christian message, that it provides both a framework for a
                  > good society and a hint of the true meaning behind all that
                  > tantalizing physics. It won't convert an agnostic, but it will
                  > interest all those who are intrigued to learn the basis of one man's
                  > faith.





                • Ed
                  Darn, I didn t get this right. Well, I never claimed to be a genius. Materialists CAN expect good things out of the Kingdom of God because of common grace. As
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 22, 2008
                    Darn, I didn't get this right. Well, I never claimed to be a genius. Materialists CAN expect good things out of the Kingdom of God because of common grace. As a postmillenialist, I expect the manifestation of the kingdom here in time and on earth before the final return of Jesus, and do not require a rapture or anything else before the manifestation of the Kingdom. What the Kingdom will amount to is a return to a belief in the relevance of truth. Truth will rule as supreme, because truth is an essential attribute of God. The error of mistaking materialism for science will finally be overcome, allowing science to actually do unheard of things which we cannot now even imagine. The materialists may reject these good things because of their stupidity, however.--Ed
                     
                    >>DAVIS:   Theological discussions about the Kingdom,
                    > tend to be vague and metaphysical. I had hoped that, as a scientist,
                    > John Polkinghorne would grasp the nettle and spell out just what we
                    > can expect from this major promise given to humanity by Jesus.

                    >ED: You can expect judgment and expulsion from the presence of God because of your denial of His relevance, and having the wrath of God poured out on you.

                  • Laurie Appleton
                    ... From: Joe To: creation_evolution_debate@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 11:36 AM Subject: [creation_evolution_debate] Re: Paul Davies, New
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 22, 2008
                       
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Joe
                      Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 11:36 AM
                      Subject: [creation_evolution_debate] Re: Paul Davies, New Scientist, 2 June 1983

                      > Some interesting ideas are presented here, Carol. I will try to address
                      > them for you in depth when I have time.--Ed
                      >
                      I go away for three days and there are umpty-squat messages... many of them are from you, Ed. It seems you have a LOT of time to respond.

                      LA> Wouldn't that be why he does NOT have time to answer Carol in depth! He already spends a lot of time in answering other messages!

                       

                      Laurie.

                      "I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus
                      far been a pilgrimage of reason.  I have followed the argument where it
                      has lead me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent,
                      immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being." (Antony
                      Flew, (an atheist for fifty years), "There is a God", 200, p.155)

                      ..


                       

                      .

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