Ktismatics

3 November 2006

The Subsequent History of the World

Filed under: Genesis 1 — ktismatics @ 4:53 pm

Twenty-six attempts preceded the present genesis, all of which were destined to fail. The world of man has arisen out of the chaotic heart of the preceding debris; he too is exposed to the risk of failure, and the return to nothing. “Let us hope it works,” exclaimed God as he created the world, and this hope, which has accompanied the subsequent history of the world and mankind, has emphasized right from the outset that this history is branded with the mark of radical uncertainty.

— Talmud

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5 Comments »

  1. Although I wouldn’t agree that God has ever made the statement “Let us hope it works” I do think that certain corners of Christianity in recent centuries have far underestimated the presence of “uncertainty.”

    There are many, very juicy dichotomies in theology that are so ripe for the theological picking, and one of these is the certainty/uncertainty. That’s why I love the Open Theism movement: it reopens some voices in Scripture that have been silenced….

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    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 7 November 2006 @ 5:14 pm

  2. There’s a corrolary in the scientific world as well, a kind of open materialistic determinism. In theory it’s possible to reduce everything to completely determinate interactions of energy and matter. But there are no minds capable of predicting what the emergent interactions of the various forces will lead to. Even human will is hypothetically determined by cellular and genetic and environmental factors, but we can’t know even what our own wills are going to come up with. So for all practical purposes we do have free will. This, by the way, is Daniel Dennett’s argument, and he’s one of the most virulent atheistic philosophers out there.

    I haven’t read any of the open theism stuff, but for my tastes its a move in the right direction. My reading of Gen. 1 blurs the distinction between elohim and man virtually to the disappearing point, with “image and likeness” being the dramatic punchline of the whole story. Now if theists will just keep sliding down that slippery slope too — God isn’t perfectly moral, wise, loving, powerful, etc. — maybe we’ll find common ground…

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    Comment by ktismatics — 8 November 2006 @ 10:59 am

  3. Now if theists will just keep sliding down that slippery slope too — God isn’t perfectly moral, wise, loving, powerful, etc. — maybe we’ll find common ground…

    Well, you won’t like me, then, b/c I tend to go the opposite direction! I’m more in line w/ Barth or Kierkegaard.

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    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 12 November 2006 @ 6:34 am

  4. This gets us back to your post on conversation. Maybe we both aim in the direction of goodness, wisdom, love, the responsible exercise of power and creativity. Perhaps we can both move in the same direction, even we have different starting points and from our limited perspectives we see different endpoints. Like you say, maybe there’s room for a lot of indeterminism in the world. Otherwise it’s futile unless we try to convert one another first: you down the slippery slope, me up and out towards immanence. The alternative position is that we occupy alternate realities, so we can talk forever without really making much contact at a meaningful level. On a practical level I guess I see the alternate realities scenario more clearly. I would like to see this other thing happen — both moving toward truth, beauty, etc. within alternate realities — but in my experience it’s pretty rare.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 12 November 2006 @ 7:02 am

  5. […] Twenty-six attempts preceded the present genesis, all of which were destined to fail. The world of man has arisen out of the chaotic heart of the preceding debris; he too is exposed to the risk of failure, and the return to nothing. “Let us hope it works,” exclaimed God as he created the world, and this hope, which has accompanied the subsequent history of the world and mankind, has emphasized right from the outset that this history is branded with the mark of radical uncertainty. Talmud(?) […]

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    Pingback by Ktismetik « Den brinnande busken — 4 July 2007 @ 6:33 pm


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