The SBJT Forum: “In The Beginning…” -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 11:1 (Spring 2007)
Article: The SBJT Forum: “In The Beginning…”
Author: Anonymous

The SBJT Forum: “In The Beginning…”

Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the forum’s format. D. A. Carson, Kirk Wellum, Todd L. Miles, Terry Mortenson, and C. Everett Berry have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. The journal’s goal for the Forum is to provide significant thinkers’ views on topics of interest without requiring lengthy articles from these heavily-committed individuals. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.

SBJT: In any complex debate, it is not long before there are “hidden” elements in the discussion, i.e., elements that are gumming up the integrity of debate because one side or the other fails to recognize their existence and significance. What “hidden” elements are there in current discussions over science and origins?

D. A. Carson is Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of numerous commentaries and monographs, and is one of this countr y’s foremost New Testament scholars. Among his many books are The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Zondervan, 1986),Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (Zondervan, 2005), and How Long O Lord: Reflections on Suffering and Evil (2nd ed.; Baker, 2006).

D. A. Carson: I shall mention three, and then offer a concluding reflection.

(1) Considerable confusion exists over what a biblically faithful understanding of the relationship between God and the created order ought to be. Consider three possibilities. (a) In an open universe (not to be confused with “open theism”), God interacts openly with the created order. Everything that takes place in creation takes place because of the explicit control that God exercises. The only determination of any event is the will of God, directly and immediately controlling everything. It is difficult to distinguish “miracle” from any other event, because God stands immediately behind every event; equally, it is almost impossible to envisage what “science” might be, for everything is immediately traceable to the mind and will of God. Moreover, this way of looking at things often leads to fatalism. The only “cause” of anything is the immediate will of God. (b) The direct opposite of the first option is the closed universe. By this I mean that everything that happens in the universe is caused by other things in the universe. There is no outsider, and certainly no God who reaches in and controls things. Cause and effect take place within the closed order of creation. Obviously, science is not only possible, it is ...

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