Monday, 17 September 2007

I'm loathe to post a new post ...

... and thus distract attention from ongoing conversations which refuse to stop being interesting! Conversations have expanded on two different posts.

On my Faith and Criticism post, I am very privileged to have Daniel Driver, an expert on Childs, contribute on the fundamental difference between Barr and Childs, namely their different responses to the challenge of the Enlightenment. He summarises:

“The follow-up point, which I have tried to sketch here, is that the motivation for Barr's criticism stems from a different understanding of the Enlightenment. Unlike Childs, he does not see that much of significance was lost in its advent.”

He goes on to talk about the issue of 'referentiality' in Childs' work, which, as we shall see in the course of this thread (when it finally gets underway), is a central component of Childs' overall approach.

In response to Stephen's rightful emphasis on the 'textual' and inherently interpretive nature of Scripture, John raises important issues on the nature of Christ's presence in the church and the implications of this for our reading of this text as a witness to this reality.

In the 'alethiology' post, John clarifies the nature of knowing by reference to the world of physics and automobiles, calling for restraint in overemphasising our inability to know something objectively:

saying that the impossibility of a totally objective thought implies that we should not try to be objective is like saying that the impossibility of 100% frictionless automobile engine implies that we shouldn't use motor oil.”

Scott, on the other hand, is far more sceptical about the parallels between scientific and theological knowing. The metaphysics of classical physics is an insufficient base in terms of which one can conceptualize theological truth. If you modify the metaphysic (so it no longer has 'modernist' assumptions), you may be able to talk more meaningfully about a truth which shares common ground with both science and theology.

Those are my brief summaries of what has been going on. Check them for yourself and feel free to tell me I've missed the point.


Daniel Driver said...

Don't be loath, post. 29 plus comments is getting a bit excessive. Give us something new to chew on.

Good idea to summarize, though.

And don't go over the top with "expert." Yikes.

(Note to self: Stop using the imperative. Go to bed. Terminate your degree before it terminates you.)

Scott Roberts said...


Yes on being skeptical about parallels. But to be more accurate on the second part, I'm not looking for "a truth which shares common ground with both science and theology". The two just operate in different arenas, though of course theology can't just ignore what science has to tell us. Where there is the possibility of sharing is in reflection on what modern physics has told us, which (along with reflection on other things, including revelation) can lead to a change in metaphysics, one which, in my opinion, is more useful to theology than what has been taken for granted these last two or three hundred years.