Tuesday, August 18, 2020

What is the creation?

 William Lane Craig's work on theological anthropology was recently critiqued.

His views give rise to a number of problems.

The first misstep in Craig's approach, as mentioned in the article, is that he 'reads' past the concrete history of Genesis 1, etc. and sidesteps those very literary features of the text that prohibit myth making. Myths remove their story from the real world and any existential contact with the reader by their 'somewhere sometime' constructions. As CS Lewis has said, those who claim the Bible is mythical clearly have not read many myths.
Genesis goes out of its way to be concrete and historical, placing God's acts and his very communing presence in the time-space-material world that we live and experience life in. Nor is Craig's dismissal of the reality of Genesis 3:8 true to the text. It is a clear demonstration of God (in the person of the son?) seeking the now broken fellowship with A&E. This underlines the task of Genesis in showing God making the real setting for the real fellowship where he, the infinite personal God communes with his finite creatures-in-his-image.
If the text is not taken seriously, but read through a western-idealistic philosophical lens, tinted deeply by the pretensions of modern ontological materialism, any theology that comes from it is wrecked.

 Part 2

Craig and those with similar views seem to indeed regard Genesis 1 as myth at some level. On their analysis it is figurative and dislocated from our world of experience. The events it relates simply, in their view, did not, and probably could not have happened.

A signal capitulation to materialist dogma.

But Genesis 1 is more than retelling a story to entertain us, as some sort of vain polemic or empty cosmogony. It is relating events that happened that demonstrate the nature of the creation, its purpose as setting for fellowship, and its definition of reality.

What does it tell us then?

First, that the cosmos is not a given. Nothing about it is 'given'. But created, with intention, purpose and for an effect that has an objective. This is evident from God's considered activity throughout the days. Proverbs 3:19, 20 reflects on this.

Not only is the cosmos not 'given' but it is not accidental in any way. It results in an orderly rational causality from the word of God. Word, 'logos', personal will is prior to the mute cosmos and there is nothing between its elements that we experience and their coming into existence (Hebrews 11:3)

The cosmos consists of apprehensible categories that relate in a coherent manner to each other and our understanding, neatly putting paid to both Kant's fiction about perception and Hume s scepticism about causality.

This is a cosmos in which we can have sure knowledge, reliable relationships between word, event and thing (God's word preeminently, but ours too in a communicative sense), and tangible relationships. It is really real, and the way it works is really real. Th infinite God is present in the finite world (putting paid to another of Kant's fictions).

Now, if we take Craig's path, then none of what is recounted in Genesis 1 happened, and nothing it teaches is anchored in our 'life-world'. This means that something else happened and it is this something else and how it happened that define our life-world. It makes materialism our reference point, rather than the Spirit of God.
The Genesis account in summary demonstrates (not just 'says' but demonstrates by a recounting of God's actions and results) the cohesive unified reality of which God is the final referent: it runs from God via his Logos to event and then our experience; all cohering in the one reality where things have their origin from God. This reality is knowable because of the commutativeness between God and we his creatures-in-his-image: we share something such that God's Logos reliably coheres with God and thus we-in-his-image. There is an existential and epistemic congruence.
Thus the events of creation are shown to be in that continuous reality of which God is the referent, the reality that denominates our experience and knowledge of space-time-matter events: demonstrated by God's creating in the categories, configuration and timing of our life-world, being present, active and proximate by his word and will and continuous with the world or our life-experience.
In other words, God conducted the creative acts in the terms of how we would (and now do) experience the creation -- in time, in the categories and configuration of our life-world and directly by his word: the primacy of Logos over matter.
The anti-postlude
On the other hand, detractors will seek to point to the 'science' of long aged life of the cosmos, 'proven' to be billions of years.

A period of such magnitude (and in that shared by ancient pagan 'long periods') has the result of putting the universe and its origin out of human reach: they make human-scale of time meaningless to distance the personal from the creation and thus the creator. It turns the cosmos into myth and delocates origin, creation and creator from the denomination of our life-world.

Thus those who posit hyper-ages start with 'no God, and therefore deny there is a word, a Logos, and following there is no referent for reality. It becomes diffuse, purposeless (despite our pervading purposefulness) and without parameters but mute material. Thus we have the intellectual mayhem that enables people to invent hyperages to characterise the cosmos.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.