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Re: [creat] Digest Number 599

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  • Elissa Feit
    ... Jim: An excellent point, and that s how I understood it, too. Though one person seemed to feel it was only a tangent to the discussion that Lenny
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
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      > --- vizenos <vizenos@...> wrote:
      > > Okay, I'm here. It seems only right to continue the
      > > discussion we were having over on the other list,
      > > where we so annoyed the listowner. <grin>

      Morgan:
      > It should be noted that our discussion has previously
      > been taking place at on Lenny Flank's DebunkCreation-list,
      > and that our discussion did not annoy the listowner
      > because of the way in which we carried it out, but was
      > simply due to the fact that Lenny found that it fell
      > outside of the purpose of the list - to discuss scientific
      > topics only.

      Jim:
      An excellent point, and that's how I understood it, too.
      Though one person seemed to feel it was only a "tangent"
      to the discussion that Lenny disliked, it seems clear to
      me that he found the entire discussion inappropriate for
      a science list.

      Me: Since Lenny as much as said that the discussion
      concerning the definition of creationism WAS acceptable
      on his list, I continue to contend that it was the tangent
      concerning definitions of God which was unacceptable.
      However, we're all here now.

      ....

      Jim:
      In addition to the above, I see a difficulty with the
      historical definition of creationism as "belief in the
      divine creation of the human soul" in that this would
      include two very different beliefs: (a) the belief that
      God creates each individual soul upon the physical
      conception of that individual; and (b) the belief that
      the human-type soul was created by God, but that since
      that original creation the human-type soul has evolved
      in concert with the human body (this appears to be
      the belief of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, for example).

      Back to you on all of this, Morgan.

      ------------
      Me: The definition of "Creationism" (capital "C"), the
      tenet that God creates each human soul individually) is
      defined in contrast to "traducianism" (small "t" in the
      dictionary, for some reason), the belief that the soul
      is generated at pregnancy along with the body.

      In this case, only your definition (a) complies with
      this definition of "Creationism".

      It sounds like we've all agreed at this point on the
      current usage of "creationism". So, what's next?

      - Elissa
    • Morgan Grey
      ... (snip) ... creationism . I am not sure that creatio *ex nihilo* (my emphasis) is such a classical doctrine , despite the emphasis modern Christian
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 2, 2002
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        --- Jim Taylor <vizenos@...> wrote:
        > Morgan Grey <cynical_prophet@...> wrote:
        (snip)
        > I think one of the reasons I got off on the wrong
        > foot, in the earlier stages of our discussion, is
        > that I was somewhat surprised to see belief in
        > divine creation of the human soul proposed as the
        > historical definition.
        > I would have suggested belief in the classical
        > doctrine of "creatio ex nihilo" (creation of all
        > things out of nothing by God) as perhaps the more
        > comprehensive historical definition of
        "creationism".

        I am not sure that "creatio *ex nihilo*" (my emphasis)
        is such a "classical doctrine", despite the emphasis
        modern Christian anti-evolutionists have placed on it.
        IIRC, Hodge, in his "Systematic Theology", talks about
        how the church has differed between "mediate" and
        "immediate" creation, where it was only the creation
        of the universe that was considered to be "ex nihilo".
        Unfortunately, I don't have access to this book as of
        now, so this should only be regardes as my
        *characterization from memory* of it.

        And more recently, Van Till has discussed Basil and
        Augustines' views of creation, in which commands like
        "Let the earth bring forth grass" in Gen 1:11 is taken
        to imply that a gradual creation of life.

        (snip)
        > > As can be seen above, I have chosen to use
        > > "Christian" instead of "Judeo-Christian" to avoid
        > > this [confusion].
        >
        > I'm reasonably sure I can live with that. <grin> If
        > anyone wants to accuse either of us of ignoring or
        > denying the fact that Christianity grew out of
        first-
        > century Judaism and thus owes far more to Judaism
        > than Judaism owes to Christianity, we can double-
        > team them until they go away. <grin>

        "<grin>" noted, but I still feel that I must tell you
        that I am not interested in going there at all.
        Creation/evolution debates are emotional enough on
        their own, and since many Christians see the Jewish
        heritage of Christianity as being quite important,
        discussions of this subject only brings additional
        heat to the discussion. And since my beef is with
        *creationism* (as it is understood today), not
        Christianity, I am inclined to a `live and let
        live'-policy on this subject.

        > > > What say you on this?
        > >
        > > Sounds fine.
        >
        > Excellent! As I see it, the two contenders for
        > "historical definition of creationism" on the table
        > are: Belief in the creation of the human soul by God
        > (yours); and Belief in the doctrine of "creatio ex
        > nihilo" (mine).

        See also my discussion of this above.

        > I would begin my defense of "belief in the doctrine
        > of 'creatio ex nihilo'" as the better historical
        > definition of creationism by maintaining that its
        > historicity is impeccable, since mention and
        > affirmation of this doctrine can be traced back at
        > least to Thomas Aquinas, and probably much earlier.

        I haven't read anything by Aquinas, and therefore have
        to ask in which sense he accepted this doctrine. What
        *exactly* was it that had been created ex nihilo?

        > In addition, advantages of this historical
        > definition include extension, exclusion, and
        > utility.
        >
        > Extension: Belief in the doctrine of "creatio ex
        > nihilo" can be found expressed by virtually all
        > Christian authorities for the past millennium if not

        > longer.

        The same question goes for this.

        > Exclusion: Belief in the doctrine of "creatio ex
        > nihilo" cannot be found easily, if at all, among
        > adherents of Cremo, Erhard, or other "New Age"
        > anti-evolutionists.

        Wasn't it you who previously argued that the
        definition I offered was wrong *because* it excluded
        "adherents of Cremo" etc.?

        > Utility: Belief in the doctrine of "creatio ex
        > nihilo" can generally be imputed, with a high degree

        > of accuracy, not only to most if not all Young-Earth
        > Creationists, but also to all people--whatever they
        > may call themselves--who adhere to a literal
        > understanding of Mosaic cosmogeny (i.e. the accounts

        > of Genesis 1-2), and also to the majority of
        > Christians who call themselves Old-Earth
        > Creationists.

        The problem is that creation ex nihilo, if limited to
        the creation of the universe, can be imputed to almost
        everyone who calls themselves Christians. Miller, a
        Christian who is staunchly opposed to "creationists"
        like Morris, Johnson and Behe seems to believe that
        the Big Ban�g represents such a thing, although he
        claims that science will never be able to show this:

        "Either there is a God, and the big bang dates
        the moment of His creation of the universe, or
        there is a tendency of matter to create itself
        from nothingness. If that is the case, the big
        bang merely marks the moment of the self-
        creation of the latest oscilliation in a grand
        series of cosmic cycles: big bang followed by
        big crunch, followed by yet another big bang.
        If cosmology provided us with a way to
        distinguish between these two extreme
        alternatives, we might then wait for the
        scientific word from on high about the status
        of the Almighty. Unfortunately, it doesn't,
        and we can't. ... Cosmology, despite the best
        hopes of believers, will not resolve the issue
        of God's existence, or for that matter, of the
        meaning and purpose of life."
        (Miller, "Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's
        Search for Common Ground Between God and
        Evolution", p. 226)

        > In addition to the above, I see a difficulty with
        > the historical definition of creationism as "belief
        > in the divine creation of the human soul" in that
        > this would include two very different beliefs: (a)
        > the belief that God creates each individual soul
        > upon the physical conception of that individual; and

        > (b) the belief that the human-type soul was created
        > by God, but that since that original creation the
        > human-type soul has evolved in concert with the
        > human body (this appears to be the belief of Pierre
        > Teilhard de Chardin, for example).

        As Elissa has already noted in another post,
        "Creationism" only involves belief in (a).

        (snip)


        =====
        Morgan

        "Creationists say--"Welcome to the war. We are eager to
        join battle, for we have the truth on our side, and the
        consequences are as important as life (eternal life) and
        death."" (Gish, D.T., 1993, "Creation Scientists Answer
        Their Critics", p. 249)

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