Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. – Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

R.E. Slater - Finding a New Normal



Finding A New Normal

by R.E. Slater

I thought today we might take a break from the heavy, practicuum stuff of process ecological civilizations to shift our gaze occasionally to the perennial Christian struggle with evolution. Here, at Relevancy22, it was one of the first topics I had focused on to help set the tone and tenor of how to read the bible in the context of science. It was during this time I found myself struggling moving forward with finding a new hermeneutic which might help my reading of the bible in a contemporary sense. Which I did, though it took awhile, and found it all too simple  in solution when applied in the context of an open and relational (process) faith. I wish to always credit Peter Enns with helping me in this journey, and later, Thomas Oord and Tripp Fuller, Roger Olson, and many others.

It took eight years of daily research, study, prayer, and methodically writing through issue after issue, doctrine after doctrine - all of which are recorded here in timeless form in the topics column listed along the right side of this blog. The some 2200+ posts show my path forward through the labyrinth of contemporary evangelical thought and how I was able to move beyond the sanctified beliefs of my generation to where I am now only by the help of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God.

And yes, it was the burden of the Spirit which propelled me for as long as I've attended to these tasks beginning with quite a dramatic first start into my own personal wilderness wherein I was quickly swallowed up and quite unable - and later, unwilling - to leave a very dark time in my life until the Spirit was done filling the cavity of God's absence in my life over the space of a very long year of unlearning and relearning. In this, I am not unlike the beat poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who died this week at 101:
“Generally, people seem to get more conservative as they age, but in my case, I seem to have gotten more radical,” Ferlinghetti told Interview magazine in 2013. “Poetry must be capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this means sounding apocalyptic.” - LF
And though this period of life was a very dark time of deconstructing my past, it had to be done. If not, I could not be released to reconstruct where my once conservative evangelical education, training, and beliefs might go when directed aright by God during an arising time of observed religious atheism and agnosticism amongst my Christian brothers and sisters.

Yes, you read this aright. The church as I knew it had shifted, and in its shift I happened to break away onto another path. I think belatedly but am glad I had by the Spirit's power. And glad that I did in the hindsight of what has happened over these past recent years since 2012 when I began (though it had been building for many decades previously). I suspect the biggest problem I've observed over this time has been my faith's reconciliation of polypluralism with the Jesus-Christian ethic from a dominant white culture I had been raised. However, there are many more issues at work here as I've attempted to write about over the years.

So it wasn't until late last August, 2020, when I realized I had completed my journey when reading through past articles I had written on quantum cosmology here on this site. By now I had discover a helpful biblical hermeneutic to compliment my Reformed faith and decided that evening in the glowing autumnal dusk I could begin a different kind of script for the years ahead.

Essentially, the past eight years I now use as a kind of postdoctoral journey out of one kind of worldview and towards another kind of perspective. Let's call it a process-based expression of my faith. For myself, all learned biblical approaches within an evangelical Reformed context ended last fall. They would not be dropped, only expanded. And placed onto different platforms and foundations. For my hermeneutical search also was looking for a radically different context.

That said, I could continue writing in the same religious venues I had been writing or try to take my journey's life lessons to then lift up the Author and God of my burgeoning faith to write in a post-Whiteheadian, post-process, post-constructivist, post-modernist, sense of a post-Reformed Christianity. I am choosing to do this latter while occasionally looking back as we are today with Peter Enns' podcast on the evolution of Adam. (For more similar articles look under the Science section of the topics list to the right as well as any appropriate indexes which I keep up as I can.)

Here, below, Peter takes his early thoughts on evangelical evolutionary creationism and updates them years later based upon what he has learned in his studies, readings, and lectures. Not unlike myself, Peter is choosing to add to his life-journey lessons which we might learn with him, having gone through his own wilderness journeys under the God of renewing, reviving faith.

Thank you again for walking with us.

Peace.

R.E. Slater
February 24, 2021


* * * * * * * * * *




Episode 148:

Adam, Evangelicalism, and the Metanarrative of Evolution

by Peter Enns

Last Updated November 22, 2020


In this episode of The Bible for Normal People Podcast, Pete talks about his book, The Evolution of Adam, and how his thoughts have expanded since he wrote it as he explores the following questions:

  • Should science influence our theology?
  • How does Paul interpret the Adam story?
  • What are some ways people try to support an argument for a historical Adam?
  • What are entangled particles?
  • What is meant by the “theory” of evolution?
  • How large is the universe?
  • What does it mean for us to call God “Creator” in light of what we know about science?
  • What is quanta?
  • Why are evangelicals resistant to incorporating science into theology?
  • How does quantum physics impact our daily lives?
  • What is third millennium theology?
  • How do we limit our understandings of God?

TWEETABLES

Pithy, shareable, less-than-280-character statements from Pete you can share. 

  • “Trying to solder together the biblical story of Adam and evolutionary science is intellectually and spiritually debilitating—it’s stressful.”  @peteenns
  • “What is needed is a synthesis of theology and science where science influences our theology.” @peteenns
  • “Our state of knowledge of the world today is one that the writers of Scripture—not to mention the first 1500 years of the Church—had absolutely no frame of reference for.” @peteenns
  • “The same science that gives us the bizarre quantum world has also had wide-ranging, very practical impact on our daily lives.” @peteenns
  • “Theology cannot be dissociated from science, in part because Christians believe that the cosmos is God’s “general revelation” of God’s self.” @peteenns
  • “The Christian faith is rooted in an ancient Semitic tradition that had no philosophers or scientists. The traditions that grew out of those times and places were written by men who lived in a very different world than ours, and they cannot be expected to bear for us the burden of doing theology in our moment in time.” @peteenns
  • “What of this world do we carry with us and where is this sacred book limiting God and needs to be set aside, given what we know about the nature of the cosmos today?” @peteenns


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE






PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

[Introduction]

0:00

Pete: You’re listening to The Bible for Normal People. The only God-ordained podcast on the internet. I’m Pete Enns.

Jared: And I’m Jared Byas.

[Jaunty intro music]

Pete: Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast and today’s topic is all about evolution, but more than just evolution. Let’s get right into this, shall we? Some of you know a few years ago I wrote a book called The Evolution of Adam, came out in 2012 and I’ve been working on a second edition to that book, which is going to come out sometime next year, I think late 2021. And part of what I did was rewrite some of the pretty terrible prose I had in there. It’s amazing how unclear you are when you read yourself a few years later, but anywho, that’s not the point. The point is that I’m also writing an afterword to the book, pretty much, you know, where I’ve stayed the same and where I’ve changed with respect to the book, and it’s a little bit of both. I’ve stayed the same and I’ve changed, but I wanted to share with all of you today some of my thinking on where I’ve really changed my thinking or, maybe put it this way, expanded my thinking on this whole issue of the Bible and evolution.

So, to do that, let’s start if I may, with just a quick synopsis of what the book, The Evolution of Adam was about. I wrote that, as I said, in 2012 and I wrote it to contribute to a familiar and needed, also a little bit contentious discussion concerning the relationship between biological evolution and Christian faith. And, you know, I assumed evolution at the outset. I just assumed that it’s, you know, the essentially universal scientific consensus that common descent is a compelling and powerful account of how we humans came to be. I don’t contest that. My focus was rather on the key biblical passages that tend to be seen as barriers to this discussion among evangelicals; that’s the primary audience for the book. Not the only one, but the primary audience. And of course, those biblical passages are the story of Adam in Genesis 2-3, and Paul’s use of the Adam story in Romans 5:12-21. Paul talks about Adam as well in 1 Corinthians, but I don’t deal with that because, you know, the book was long enough. Plus Romans 5, I think, is the main passage. Anywho, these biblical passages have normally been read in evangelicalism as, you know, sitting a bit uncomfortably with the scientific consensus. You know, a historical Adam is the cause not only of death, but the inbred sinfulness and even guilt at birth for all humanity. A historical Adam is a theological non-negotiable idea within the evangelical system.

Now in the book, if you’ve read it this is not a surprise, but I argue that Adam is not a historical figure at all, but a synopsis of Israel’s national story that ends in disobedience, that ends in exile, so to speak. Just as Adam, you know, was put into a lush land and given a command to obey and if you obey, you stay in the garden; if you disobey, you leave. In the same sense, the nation of Israel was put into a lush land, the land of Canaan, and if they obey God, they stay in the land; if they disobey, they are exiled. And this is a medieval Jewish idea, at least, I did not invent that. I think it’s a great way of looking at the Adam story. And if you look at it that way, the Adam story really has no bearing on the historical/scientific question of human origins. And attempts to make the Adam story fit that, I think are just completely out of place.

Now, with respect to Paul, I said that he did believe in a historical Adam, and I explain why he would think that—because he is a man of his time, a first century Jew. He’s thinking like an ancient person. He also interpreted the Adam story, and this is getting more to the meat of things, he interpreted the Adam story not, not plainly, not in a way that would be recognized by the original author, but he interpreted the story very creatively. And to cut to the chase, Paul’s interpretation, right, it’s an interpretation, his interpretation of the Adam story is a creative Christ-centered Jewish midrash. And midrash is, you know, sort of a fancy term, but it basically means the creative adaptation of a text to speak to a very different circumstance. And that creative interpretation of Paul’s was driven by a pastoral concern to drive home this new reality that he’s talking about where Jew and gentile together are part of one human family who both need Jesus.

4:58

Now, this is an interpretation of the Adam story, it’s not, it’s not a binding comment on what that author of Genesis meant, and neither does Paul answer scientifically/historically, you know, the question of human origins. And we’re just, we’re asking too much. This is sort of one of the main takeaways of the book. We’re just asking too much of Genesis and Paul to answer questions that they’re not even asking. Our questions were about science and history, and theirs were not.

Now, by trying to solder together, if I can put it that way, trying to solder together the biblical story of Adam and evolutionary science is intellectually and spiritually debilitating—it’s stressful. You know, other Christian traditions have come to peace with a symbolic reading of the Adam story, but even the best expressions of evangelical theology are still very much preoccupied to align some sort of literal first man with evolution—sort of having your cake and eating it too. And the solutions that are usually offered, as I see them, they don’t work because they are, they’re ad hoc. They’re made up to relieve some theological pressure. For example, Adam is seen in some evangelical writings not as the literal first man, in fact, not even a man at all, but as a gene pool. You know, some theories say that all of, all present humans descended from a gene pool of between 5,000-10,000 humans that lived about 100,000 years ago or so. I know some of the numbers are a little bit different, but here Adam is not a person, but a gene pool. Other theories are things like, you know, there’s an evolutionary process, sure we agree with that, that’s fine, but there’s still an Adam and Eve and here’s where we get them. God zapped two humans X number of thousands of years ago and made them Adam and Eve, and everyone past and present and future is somehow connected to these two creatures. So, it’s not that people were descended biologically from them, but, in fact they’re not even the first people. They’re just sort of picked specially by God. Those are two options and ironically, I mean, think of is this way. In an effort to protect the non-negotiable biblical truth of a historical Adam, evangelical theology seems to be content by making up an Adam that the biblical story simply can’t bear.

The truth is, evolution has rocked evangelical theology to its core. They can’t coexist as they are. You can’t fix it by pinning the evolutionary tail onto the evangelical donkey. Evangelicals cannot continue making believe that this theology is rock solid, and they just need to find some way of grafting this annoying bit of science onto it. Nothing is served by finding more and more subtle ways of like, shuffling and reshuffling the same deck and not interrogating evangelical theology itself. So, what’s needed, instead, is a synthesis of theology and science, and it’s a synthesis where the science actually influences our theology. And my thinking over the past decade or so has not strayed from this basic outline. So, that’s pretty much what I was trying to do in the book.

Now, what’s changed? Well, this is what’s changed: I have come to see the need for theology to grapple more with the broader scientific landscape. Okay? The broader landscape within which biological evolution is but one small part, and then doing that, seeing how all of this affects and informs how we talk about God.

See, evolution is a theory, and forgive me, but before we go on, just to talk about that word theory. In contract to popular usage, theory, in scientific usage, does not mean like a hypothetical idea that needs to be tested, but an idea that has been tested, widely and over time and has risen to the level of broad scientific consensus. And that’s why the common criticism that we hear sometimes that evolution is “only a theory,” it really mistakes the scientific meaning of that term with the popular one. So, I will say it again, evolution is a theory that explains not just the emergence of life on this planet but the emergence of the cosmos as a whole; that’s part of this landscape that I’m talking about, this broader landscape.

9:54

Science, evolution rather, explains the emergence of the cosmos as a whole from the Big Bang to this moment nearly 14 billion years later, from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest galaxies. Evolution is also the framework for understanding the emergence of our planet from grains of dust orbiting the fledgling sun that lumped together over many millions of years to form a sphere and thus beginning its 15-billion-year transformation. Evolution, in other words, is the indisputable meta-narrative of how all things came to be; it’s the big, overarching story that accounts for cosmological, geological, and biological reality—so pretty much everything. The question of Adam vis-à-vis biological evolution must be set against the backdrop of the meta-narrative of evolution.

You know, our state of knowledge of the world today is one that the writers of Scripture—not to mention the first 1500 years of the Church—had absolutely no frame of reference for. Those previous historical moments, you know, they’re not adequate for addressing many of the questions that we face today. We all know, for example, something of the truly incomprehensible size of the universe, you know, thanks to the breathtaking photographs of the Hubble Space Telescope: the universe is filled will billions upon billions of galaxies.

You know, our universe—to be precise, the “known universe,” which isn’t the whole thing, apparently— is as I said, about 14 billion years old, and now listen to this, 14 billion years old and 546 sextillion miles across. That’s 546 plus twenty-one zeros, or, if this helps, a billion times a billion times a thousand. You know, in an era where Americans are used to hearing about trillion-dollar national debt, speaking of mere billions seems quaint. But, to offer some perspective, think about this – if we were to count to one million, at one count per second, one, two, three, right?  If we were to do that, it would take, to count to a million, it would take about 11.5 days. Think of doing anything for 11.5 days. It takes a long time to count to a million. Now, to count to one billion would take, well, 1000 times that—which comes out to roughly 32 years of counting one, two, three, right? Ugh, that’s a long time. Now, to work up to the size of the 546 sextillion mile universe, we would need to count to one billion, for starters, a thousand times (that’s 32,000 years), and then do all that again another billion times. That would take, hmm, now is when it gets crazier, that would take 32 trillion years and that is incomprehensible and that’s just to reach one sextillion. Do that all again another 546 times, and it would take you—well, this is where my calculator just gives up and punts and spits out 1.75 followed by 16 zeros, which is just south of 20 quadrillion years to count the size of the universe and that number quadrillion means nothing to us. These are incomprehensible, incomprehensible numbers.

You know, the universe is so large, even the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second, even the speed of light takes 93 billion years to go from one end to the other. If we can even talk about the ends of the universe, we probably can’t since apparently space curves in on itself which I don’t understand, so let’s just keep moving. But just for argument’s sake, you know, 93 billion years to go from one end to the other traveling at the speed of light. It’s unbelievable. To bring some of this down closer to our scale, the speed of light covers in one second 7 ½ times the circumference of the earth. To get to the closest star in our galaxy, okay, just the closest star in our galaxy, one would need to keep that speed up every second, of every hour, of every day, of every year, for about 4 years and 4 months. Just imagine that whooshing around the earth 7 ½ times a second, which it itself incomprehensible, and keeping that up for 4 years and 4 months. That’s, that’s what it would take to get to the closest star.

14:57

You know, and there are apparently between 100 and 200 billion stars in our galaxy—which would take about 3,000 to 6,000 years to count and some estimates are closer to 400 billion stars—and on top of that 100s of billions of galaxies in the known universe. And, just to add insult to injury, the closest galaxy to ours (Andromeda) is about 2.5 million light years away. Just imagine that, whooshing around the earth 7 ½ times a second and keeping that up for 2.5 million years.

[Sigh]

Well, to sum up: the universe is big. It is immeasurably large and old, and our speck-of-dust Earth is insignificant on the cosmic scale. Our home planet is, as Carl Sagan famously put it, a “pale blue dot” just in one solar system on the outskirts of one lonely galaxy. This cannot be left to the side when we speak about the God of the Bible. What kind of a God are we dealing with? What does “God” even mean? Where is this God? Is “where” even a meaningful question? And is this God personal, and what would that even mean for the Creator of such an inhuman scale to be personal? You know, the writer of Psalm 19 raises his eyes to the heavens and praises God, for there he sees God’s glory. And this may be all fine and good from an Iron Age perspective, but for, you know, for us, our “heavens” are not “up there.” There is no “up.” The “heavens” surround us on all sides and just keep on going—infinitely, for all intents and purposes—and the thought of it all should be unsettling for all who are paying attention. You know, I’m struck by the words of seventeenth-century philosopher Blaise Pascal, this rings so true to me. This really, when I first saw this years ago it was like, oh gosh, he’s known me my whole life. 

Here’s what he says:

The eternal silence of the infinite spaces frightens me. When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time been allotted to me?

You know, the universe is disarmingly huge, and the thought of all this makes me freeze in my tracks. We cannot carry on employing pictures of God that arose before our immense, incomprehensible, expanding, and very weird universe came to light. The profound discoveries of the last hundred years especially have changed forever how we perceive reality, of which human origins, really, is just one very, very small part. That’s the much bigger issue before us, and whether Adam was a real person is really, I have to say, easy to figure out against that larger backdrop. Evangelical theology cannot rest content hammering out the Adam question vis-à-vis biological evolution in isolation from the bigger picture of the evolving cosmos that physicists have discovered.

The age and size of the universe are just the beginning of the scientific challenges to evangelical theology. Einstein’s work in the early twentieth century resulted in a fundamental shift in how we look at the universe and our existence in it. Among his many accomplishments, Einstein demonstrated that the passage of time, listen to this, the passage of time is not constant for everyone but experienced differently by, say, someone on the earth’s surface and someone orbiting the earth in a satellite—which is too profound a thought to be skimmed over. Time slows down the closer one is to a massive object (like the earth) and speeds up the further one is away from the object. Time is slower even for those living in a valley compared to those living in the hills above. Time is not stable. In fact, as physicist Carlo Rovelli explains, “Physicists and philosophers have come to the conclusion that the idea of a present that is common to the whole universe is an illusion and that the ‘flow’,” so called flow, “of time is a generalization that doesn’t work.”

19:56

If you’re interested, Carlo Rovelli is an Italian physicist. He wrote this beautiful little book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and I got that quote from page 60 if you’re interested. But right below that, I just love this part, right below that Rovelli goes on to cite a letter that Einstein wrote after the death of his longtime friend Michele Besso to Besso’s grieving sister, and this is what Einstein wrote. He says: “People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction made between past, present, and future, is nothing more than a persistent, stubborn illusion.” Yeah, time is not the constant forward arrow we perceive it to be.

Jared: Stay tuned for more Bible for Normal People.

[Music begins]

[Producer’s group endorsement]

[Music ends]

So, time is relative, and that relativity can only be perceived by atomic measurement devices. It would be experienced more dramatically if one were traveling near the speed of light or were near a massive black hole—you know, a few minutes there might be equivalent to ten years or decades or something to those outside of its gravitational pull (and this was depicted very well in the 2014 film Interstellar). What is truly odd about all this is the fact that gravity is not a “force” at all that “pulls” on things, but it’s only experienced as such by us. And in truth, what we call gravity is the effects of the bending of space and time by the Earth’s mass. Einstein showed that space and time, in fact, are not two independent entities but together form a single space-time “fabric,” which is affected by mass. See, how we perceive space (as like, the “pull” of gravity) and how we perceive the passage of time going in a forward, linear direction, that’s all determined by how close we are to a massive object as well as the speed one is traveling. We may experience our reality as stable (time passes at a constant rate), but the actual reality is much different.

Now, how all this works is well above my paygrade; if you’re confused, so am I. But whatever it means and whatever its implications, I think some pressing questions come to mind, namely this one: you know, if the physical universe is really such a place that at the end of the day doesn’t match our experience, could we really say any less of our experiences, and perceptions, and thoughts about the Creator of that universe? How can all of this not affect our God-talk? What would it look like for us to call God “Creator” in light of these scientific theories of the creation? How would theology change? I’m not sure, but the question can’t be avoided, and, again, in comparison, dealing with the Adam question, is not really that sophisticated or difficult.

Now, as if Einstein’s space-time continuum weren’t enough to process, and it is, his theories led others in his day to discover a world on the other end of the cosmic scale. Apparently, everything—so we’re told—everything, including space/time is made up of incomprehensibly small, discrete units or packets, “quanta” is the word that’s used, the small packets of matter and energy. This subatomic “quantum” world acts in ways that are IMPOSSIBLE according to the mathematical laws, so called, that govern the massive objects that occupied classical physics, like Newton and Einstein’s theory of relativity. Another kind of physics, quantum physics, with its own set of mathematical formulas, was needed to account for this reality.

25:00

One of the better known, and among the more bizarre, notions of quantum physics is that light on the subatomic scale, light behaves like a wave until it is measured by an outside observer, at which point it behaves like a particle. Light is not one or the other, but potentially both—until you look at it. Likewise, electrons that “orbit” the nucleus are actually not orbiting at all but are clouds of probable locations that only pop into existence when measured. Electrons aren’t really anywhere, strictly speaking, until measured.

Now, pardon me folks as I fumble through this, this is a bit comic here almost. You know, this isn’t my area, right? And I just, I’m working with this stuff as best as I can, but you know, another piece of quantum physics that has found its way into popular culture is called “entanglement.” When a particle like a single photon has been split in half (granted, that’s enough of a thought to make me want to go take a long walk somewhere) but a photon that’s been split in half, just imagine that, and the two halves are placed at a distance from each other, the two halves are still instantly entangled—which means something like the behavior of one is instantly mirrored in the other. Now here’s the thing, this happens, this could be called a fact of quantum physics, like, no one really disputes this from what I understand. But, this happens, this entanglement of these two particles, this happens no matter how far apart the entangled particles are. Well, how can that be? Well, if the two particles were, like, “communicating” with each other (whatever it means for particles to communicate, let’s leave that to the side), but if they were communicating with each other, the mirroring of the two particles could not be instantaneous, why? Because nothing exceeds the speed of light. But quantum entanglement is instantaneous. Two entangled particles could be on opposite ends of our galaxy, 200,000 light years apart, and one would still mirror the other instantly. Now, physicists are still debating what all this means, but on the quantum level of the universe, it seems that distance at the speed of light, fundamental to laws of physics, are not laws that entangled particles obey.

Now, one might think that these observations are too weird to be true, but physicists assure us that the math works and has proven itself countless times. And the same science, getting more practical here, the same science that gives us the bizarre quantum world has also had wide-ranging, very practical impact on our daily lives: things like atomic clocks, supercomputers, transistors, uncrackable codes, GPS, MRI, lasers, and a bunch of other things. Many aspects of quantum physics have been debated for a century, and there’s a lot of disagreement on things, and there’s a lot still hidden from us, but quantum physics is not smoke and mirrors. It’s science, showing us something of the universe that we inhabit. 

Now, this is as good a time as any to make clear what you have no doubt sensed already, and that is that I am not a scientist. I’m not trained in physics, you know, though, I have to say learning about the world that I live in has always fascinated me. A basic grasp of evolutionary biology, well, I think that’s possible for most people, but when it comes to relativity and quantum physics, most human beings are in exactly the same boat as I—the science is too technical, it’s too mathematical for the public to be able to follow, let alone incorporate into our theology somehow. And just a side issue here, I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not suggesting that the various dimensions of the study of evolution are, you know, easy to understand. They’re not. These are also things that happen in highly specialized fields that requires years of training. You can’t talk your way around the ins and outs of evolutionary biology after doing a Google search. But given some time and effort, I think most of us can follow more easily basic points concerning things like the fossil record or maybe even the human genome much, much better than something like Schrödinger’s equation, which is a basic building block to quantum mechanics and you can Google that if you want to. But any formula that basically is mostly made up of letters and not numbers and they call it math, I know I’m in over my head at that point. See, most of us, my point, most of us, including myself, should be very cautious about bringing highly specialized sciences into conversations about what God is like.

30:05

But what I will say is this: even a nontechnical, general, superficial grasp of the scientific landscape I think is enough for us to marvel at the mystery, the complexity, the incomprehensibility, the unpredictability of the cosmos in which we find ourselves. How we conceive of God needs to keep pace with what we know about the cosmos on the scale of the very large and the infinitesimally small. This would not require anyone to, you know, solve the mysteries of the physical universe, but simply to acknowledge that the mysteries are profound, not going away, and—whether we admit it or not—do not leave theology unaffected.

Theology cannot be dissociated from science, in part because Christians believe that the cosmos is God’s “general revelation” of God’s self. Special revelation, in technical theological terms, that usually refers to the Bible and/or Jesus. Mainly Jesus, but the Bible as well, that’s a special revelation, but creation is a general revelation. We learn something of God from creation. Right, the declaration of Psalm 19, I mentioned earlier, that “the heavens declare the glory of God,” that still holds, but our “heavens” today are markedly different from what medieval theologians or Iron Age psalmists understood—we know more. The staggering dimensions and vast age of the universe coupled with the revolutions of relativity and quantum physics are psychologically and spiritually disorienting. I mean, particularly for Christians whose theology, what they believe about God and all sorts of things, for people whose theology was shaped fundamentally in the 16th century and the wake of the Protestant Reformation—and that is the roots of evangelical theology today. For us to declare along with the psalmist that God’s glory is seen in our cosmos, that takes theological energy, it takes imagination, it takes an all-in embrace of mystery and ambiguity, and above all, it takes a willingness to allow for and to experience and to embrace theological change. In my experience, however, these are not always the marks that are typically associated with evangelical theology.

Now another reason why theology and science can’t be kept at a safe distance from each other, they simply CANNOT be kept at a safe distance from each other, is that they are never actually distant to begin with. Theology is a discipline that has ALWAYS expressed itself in the contexts of current ways of thinking about the world and anything else. And here, just a quick shout out, hopefully this is a good resource for you, we did a podcast a while back with Ilia Delio, a Villanova theologian, and she also has a book The Unbearable Wholeness of Being where in the first thirty or forty pages she fletches things like this out pretty well. But anyway, theology

reflects our human context. There is no “theology from above” because people do theology and all theology is a human endeavor, and this is certainly true within the Bible itself, the ancient Israelites, whose origins stories in Genesis 1,2, and 3 reflect ancient views of the cosmos in general. It’s true of the timeless Gospel which is nevertheless expressed in the clearly NOT timeless categories of 1st century Judaism. Similarly, the Early Church, which was gentile, left behind the Jewish apocalyptic vibe of the New Testament to embrace another worldview. You know, the Jewish apocalyptic view of the New Testament, it is Jewish, Jews were writing it, they’re writing it within the context of the Jewish tradition and it’s apocalyptic, meaning God’s gonna set all things right pretty soon. And Jesus’ resurrection is like the first stage of that, and the second stage is coming like, real, real, real soon. That is the context of the New Testament, that’s sort of its structure almost, but with the Early Church that was left behind. The Jewish apocalypticism of the New Testament is not a factor anymore, and another worldview is embraced, Greco-Roman philosophy.

34:54

And so they spoke of God as omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and Christ as, in the words of the Nicene Creed, “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten of the Father, not made, being of one substance with the Father. . . ..” You know, all this stuff which is fantastic and wonderful, but strictly speaking, none of this is a biblical concept, it’s all shaped by the “state of knowledge” at the time.

Even the God that many take for granted today—sovereignly directing all things along the axis of linear time according to inviolable laws—well, this God owes a great deal to Newton’s mechanistic cosmos, were what we see is what is and can be explained by conventional “laws” of physics. Speaking of God in such ways has grown steadily obsolete over the last century. Astrophysics, relativity, and quantum physics have presented us with models of the cosmos that have fundamentally changed our understanding of reality—these models did not exist even remotely in the minds of those who gave the church much of its theological language over the centuries, including the biblical writers. These scientific models of the cosmos stagger the imagination and are placing increasing and relentless pressure on the church to develop accessible theological models that can keep pace with the science.

Historically, Christian theology has been geocentric with humans as the crowning centerpiece. This is why the church strongly resisted the heliocentrism, sun at the center of the solar system, the heliocentrism of Copernicus and Galileo, not just because the notion was not found in the Bible, but because decentering earth and humanity – we’re not the center of everything – that really destabilized the worldview within which the church has always conceived of God. You know, we’re it, and we’re at the center of the center. We’re on earth, and this is, everything is the focus of what’s happening on this planet. The Christian faith has largely come to terms theoretically with the idea of a solar system in a vast cosmos, but you know, it took time—and a willingness to conceive of God differently as our understanding of the universe changed. This posture must continue even with—I’m gonna say especially with—the unique challenges of relativity and quantum physics. And that is the real challenge before us, far more sweeping in scope and far more necessary for the church’s thriving than fixating on whether Genesis should be taken literally. Of course it shouldn’t. Why are we still talking about this?

Perhaps the time has come for what Peter Todd calls “third millennium theology,” and this is a very provocative book, Peter Todd, The Individuation of God in Integrating Science and Religion, it’s 2017. But, you know, maybe it’s time for a third millennium theology, a theology that’s suited for our state of knowledge in the third millennium. We can’t know beforehand, at least I can’t, what that third millennium theology might look like and where it might lead, I don’t know. But one thing I do know: continuing to talk about the Creator while keeping our understanding of the creation at arm’s length will ensure a parochial theology, one that’s more centered on self-defense than actually helping explain the Creator and our place in the world with, you know, I think what’s really needed, with a sense of conviction and also a sense of hope and a sense of compassion.

The Christian faith is rooted in an ancient Semitic tradition that had no philosophers or scientists. The traditions that grew out of those times and places were written by men who lived in a very different world than ours, and they cannot be expected to bear for us the burden of doing theology in our moment in time. To claim that God does not change does not mean that our understanding of God should never change. Moving forward on the question of evolution would mean embracing the fact that the biblical story reflects an ancient world, and then to have the freedom to ask, “What of this world, of this biblical world, do we carry with us and where is this sacred word limiting God and needs to be set aside, given what we know about the nature of the cosmos today?” But whatever we do, we can’t simply merge the ancient world and the modern scientific one. Yet that is exactly what evangelical theology has been trying to do by saying yes to science and then quickly adding “but we need a historical Adam, too.” Drawing a historical Adam of the Bible into the story of evolution can only fail. It may serve as a temporary sort of holding pattern, but it will not give us a true and lasting synthesis. 

The future of evangelical theology, if it wants to have a future, will have to be in true theological conversation with the meta-narrative of evolution, cosmic, geological, and biological.  This is not time for a hesitant, protective, or ad hoc posture. The question evangelicalism has to ask itself is whether its theological temperament is constituted for this theological task, for it will mean allowing in an uncomfortable degree of theological flexibility—or perhaps even rethinking core elements of that theology altogether.

The question of Christianity and evolution is only one small piece of a much larger and more pressing conversation. The first step in entering that conversation would be for evangelicalism to interrogate its own theology, especially with respect to the alleged necessity of a historical Adam when all evidence is to the contrary.

[Music begins]

Pete: All right folks, that’s enough of me on my soap box for a week, but listen, thanks for listening. Just before you go, just a quick plug here: did you know, I hope you know, did you know that we have an online shop with tons of Bible for Normal People merch and swag and every book that I’ve written and Jared too? And we have books for normal people and books for abnormal people, geeky scholars and stuff, and all the snarky theological swag that you can think of – even onesies for littles ones of Noah’s flood and all that kind of stuff. It’s fantastic. Listen, head over to https://peteenns.com/store/ and buy at least one thing for every person you know. I think that’ll pretty much cover your bases. Okay, or do the best you can. That’s fine too.

Hey listen folks, again, thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.

Narrator: Thanks to our team: Executive Producer, Megan Cammack; Audio Engineer, Dave Gerhart; Creative Director, Tessa Stultz; Marketing Wizard, Reed Lively; transcriber and Community Champion, Stephanie Speight; and Web Developer, Nick Striegel. From Pete, Jared, and the entire Bible for Normal People team – thanks for listening.

[Music ends]

[End of recorded material]


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Toward Ecological Civilization, Introduction to Incompleteness

 


Eco/Civ Models & Objectives

AN OPEN MODEL FOR INCOMPLETENESS

Ecological civilization is a term that describes the final goal of social and environmental reform within a given society. It implies that the changes required in response to global climate disruption and social injustices are so extensive as to require another form of human civilization, one based on ecological principles. Broadly construed, ecological civilization involves a synthesis of economic, educational, political, agricultural, and other societal reforms toward sustainability.

A Set Theory Model

As introduction, it should be immediately noted that the concepts of “ecological civilizations” and “constructive postmodernism” have been associated with the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. As we have spoken at length on each subject, that of ecological civilizations and societies (ECS), constructive postmodernism and complimentary eras (CP/CE), and Whiteheadian process philosophy and theology (WPPT), it is the intention here to focus why all three go together as common subjects rather than viewing each area as separate from one another.

We might add a fourth area, that of all derivatives of green sciences and technologies (GST). And for good measure let's include All natural Sciences and CryptoEconomics (AS/CE). This must necessarily include all social models expressing the common good such as social equality and justice (SE/SJ) including environmental justice (EJ) models expressing balance and harmony of biophyllic communities. These communities must necessarily include mankind in them - and not apart for them - in order to be complete and workable biophyllic communities (BC). Combined, lets designate this latter as SE/SJ + BC as Communities of Completeness (CoC).

Process thought then takes all these elements in together as a complex web of non-interchangeable component parts, each part as infinite as the other, and just as incomplete by nature of its unfolding process. As such, one could understand these together as integral theorems (IT) expressing the fullness and variety of process philosophy. Each positing a fully insufficient world alone while striving to be wholly contiguous and wholly self-affirming together bearing elements of agency, chaos, randomness, and novelty, building upon past novelty towards present and future novelities.

In terms of set theory, the greatest power set (PS) of all would be the set of all five areas working together as one in their infinitely, incomplete forms:


(WPPT) ⊃ {∅, {EC}, {CE}, {S/E}, {GT}, {CoC}, {{EC}, {CE}, {S/E}, {GT}, {CoC}}}


IT = WPPT - Whiteheadian Process Philosophy & Theology
EC = ECS = Ecological Civilizations & Societies
CE = CP/CE - Constructive Postmodernism & Complimentary Eras
S/E = AS/CE - All Sciences & CryptoEconomics
GT = GST - Green Sciences & Technologies
SJ/EJ + BC = CoC - Communities of Completeness

*if a mathematician could write this up for me using Godel's
Incompleteness Theorems it would be deeply appreciated. BUT
keep it simple using theorem 1, then 2, then both together.


Godel's first incompleteness theorem states that no consistent system of axioms whose theorems can be listed by an effective procedure (i.e., an algorithm) is capable of proving all truths about the arithmetic of natural numbers. For any such consistent formal system, there will always be statements about natural numbers that are true, but that are unprovable within the system. The second incompleteness theorem, an extension of the first, shows that the system cannot demonstrate its own consistency. - Wikipedia 

 

If a system only creates true statements and allows the construction of the sentence: "A: This statement cannot be proved" in the system. Then by definition it is a true statement, so that A is true and cannot be proved." - Kurt Godel. [As corollary, neither can that system demonstrate its own consistency.]

 

 


Kurt Gödel & the Limits of Mathematics





 



Objectives of Process Cultures

Contemporary culture is still enthralled with the 17th century view of nature articulated by philosophers Rene Descartes and reinforced by Immanuel Kant who each objectified the world about us reducing its cosmic-natural understanding to mechanistic structure alone to be used, consumed, destroyed, and controlled.(1) In the aftermath of modernity's long industrialization of the planet there was, and still is, no healthy ecological civilization plans for living equitably with one another nor sustainably with the earth which gives us life and breath.

To break this binary system of mind over matter, or nonsymbiotic "I-Thou "relationship between man and nature we must propose to enter into a new kind of civilization. Promoting an attitude which leaves an ecosystem's biophyllia better than it was when we came to it when deeply disrupted it "organic QI," if you will, through misappreciation of its being, misunderstanding of its becoming, and misuse of its "organic soul". To supplant mankind's brutish efforts with a process attitude willing to relearn nature's rhythms and balances so that its biotic communities may increase in complexity and richness as both it, and we ourselves, learn to flourish together in nurturing harmony. A biotic harmony which creates polycultures of biophyllia rather than human monocultures of invasive plants and weeds, not unlike our green lawns of death to bugs and insects found throughout America residential zoning laws.

Further, process cultures learn to build architectural ecologies which Paolo Soleri speaks of as "arcologies." These are the urban(e) communities willing to reduce their carbon footprints to incorporate multiplexes of sustainability infrastructures from buildings to roads, from environmental/human research to consumerism, agricultural production to distribution, focused on healthy social contracts with nature and back again. Each serving the other and all serving the whole.

A rich and diverse ecological society fully dedicated to the enrichment of biophyllically designed communities through ecological charters created to enrich deeply complex ecosystems between man and nature. And in every way: from education to economics; and, from technology to science. By rethinking every part of humanity's impact on the earth until it walks in harmony learning to leave no disturbance on the earth but every possibility of regeneration back to a process filled, and thriving, biota of the "circles of life" heathily moving along in evolutionary character.

A Short History of Eco/Civ

One last in closing. Ecological Civilization originated in Russia in the 70s but was fully developed by China in the 90s. It is not a new idea but is one that has been around for 35-50 years. And, as can be historically demonstrated, should work in the communist and maoist economies of "being and event," as philosopher Alain Badiou has come to describe them.

In promoting what China has come to think of as "it's second enlightenment," it seems to be working well its culturally agrarian past and historical religious traditions of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism marking the essence of Chinese culture. Lately, it has become connected with Alfred North Whitehead's process thought. In recent years (2005? 2007? onwards) Process Philosophy has become even more pronounced through conferences between Whiteheadian think tanks in America and China. And as process philosophy is taking flight, it is now being adopted more fully across the world in amazing progressive conclaves rethinking the 21st century's postmodern future with the industrial collapse of the past 500 years of modernism.

However, let us be mindful that the transition to organic, systemic, and ecological thinking is not dependent on a single philosopher, leader, or country. Many are reaching these basic ideas of earthcare independently within their own localities dedicated to clean water, green spaces, breathable air, in movement's akin to Aldo Leopold's "Green Fire" endeavors. Other notables which come my American mind is the environmentalist Bill McKibben, the Terrapin Bright Green organization, the Green Infrastructure Center, and many, many more.

There are many reasons to hope as cities and rural communities begin asserting within their own localities and regions what is necessary to a global world of reform. It is to these efforts of individuals and grassroots organizations which are purposely designing in their own fashion ecological civilization thinking for a globally committed, and locally effected, effort of green industrial and community sustainability, regeneration, and success.

R.E. Slater
February 21, 2021
edited February 22, 2021

*The second part of this Introduction reviews Philip Clayton's Preface and
  John Cobb Jr's Forward in the book What Is Ecological Civilization?

(1)What Is Ecological Civilization, by Philip Clayton, Preface


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Ecological civilization

Ecological civilization is a term that describes the final goal of social and environmental reform within a given society. It implies that the changes required in response to global climate disruption and social injustices are so extensive as to require another form of human civilization, one based on ecological principles. Broadly construed, ecological civilization involves a synthesis of economic, educational, political, agricultural, and other societal reforms toward sustainability.

Although the term was first coined in the 1980s, it did not see widespread use until 2007, when “ecological civilization” became an explicit goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In April 2014, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization founded a sub-committee on ecological civilization. Proponents of ecological civilization agree with Pope Francis who writes,
"We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature."
As such, ecological civilization emphasizes the need for major environmental and social reforms that are both long-term and systemic in orientation.

History

In 1984, former Soviet Union environment experts proposed the term “Ecological Civilization” in an article entitled “Ways of Training Individual Ecological Civilization under Mature Socialist Conditions,” which was published in the Scientific Communism, Moscow, vol. 2.

Three years later, the concept of ecological civilization was picked up in China, and was first used by Qianji Ye (1909―2017), an agricultural economist, in 1987. Professor Ye defined ecological civilization by drawing from the ecological sciences and environmental philosophy.

The first time the phrase “ecological civilization” was used as a technical term in an English-language book was in 1995.

The term is found more extensively in Chinese discussions beginning in 2007. In 2012, the Communist Party of China (CPC) included the goal of achieving an ecological civilization in its constitution, and it also featured in its five-year plan. In the Chinese context, the term generally presupposes the framework of a “constructive postmodernism,” as opposed to an extension of (i) modernist practices or a (ii) “deconstructive postmodernism,” which stems from the deconstruction of Jacques Derrida.

Both “ecological civilization” and “constructive postmodernism” have been associated with the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. David Ray Griffin, a process philosopher and professor at Claremont School of Theology, first used the term “constructive postmodernism” in his 1989 book, Varieties of Postmodern Theology. A more secular theme that flowed out of Whitehead's process philosophy has been from the Australian environmental philosopher Arran Gare in his book called The Philosophical Foundations of Ecological Civilization: A Manifesto for the Future.

The largest international conference held on the theme “ecological civilization” (Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization) took place at Pomona College in June 2015, bringing together roughly 2,000 participants from around the world and featuring such leaders in the environmental movement as Bill McKibben, Vandana Shiva, John B. Cobb, Jr., Wes Jackson, and Sheri Liao. This was held in conjunction with the 9th International Forum on Ecological Civilization--an annual conference series in Claremont, CA established in 2006.

Out of the Seizing an Alternative conference, Philip Clayton and Wm. Andrew Schwartz co-founded the Institute for Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv), and co-authored the book What is Ecological Civilization: Crisis, Hope, and the Future of the Planet, which was published in 2019.

Since 2015, the Chinese discussion of ecological civilization is increasingly associated with an “organic” form of Marxism. “Organic Marxism” was first used by Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr in their 2014 book, Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe. The book, which was translated into Chinese and published by the People’s Press in 2015, describes ecological civilization as an orienting goal for the global ecological movement.

See also
  • Deep ecology
  • Ecological crisis
  • Ecological economics
  • Ecological modernization
  • Ecomodernism
  • Environmentalism
  • Environmental movement
  • Sustainability
External links
  • United Nations Environment Programme Report: Green is Gold - the Strategy and Actions of China's Ecological Civilization
  • Institute for Ecological Civilization
  • Institute for Postmodern Development of China
  • Pando Populus

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ADDENDUM 1

Consistency Systems always hold within them Inconsistent

The LIAR PARADOX: "This sentence is false".

Bertrand Russell's Set: {x: x∉x},  a set x, such that x is not a member of itself. But logically x is a member of itself. Thus the paradox making the statement inconsistent. (Later proofs have shown x to both be a member of itself and not a member of itself.)

The power set of A is the set of all subsets of A: P(A) = {x:x⊆A}
Example: P({0,1}) = {Ø, {0}, {1}, {0,1}} = the set expression of the power set A
In Cardinality terms of "size": | P({0,1}) | = | {Ø, {0}, {1}, {0,1}}| = 4 = 2^2 = 2² > |{0,1}| = 2

Observations
  • The size of the power set will always be bigger than any elements of that set
  • Closed System logic games are exercises in absurdum
  • Finite Systems cannot be used to prove Open Systems; this would be illogical

ADDENDUM 2

Godel's Incompleteness Theorems

Incompleteness Theorem 1 - Take all sets G (for Godel) such that if a formal system is consistent, then G is not a Theorem (T), nor is it not a Theorem. G says "I am not provable. If I am true then I am false. And if I am false, then I am true. This then says to all  formal, closed systems that they are inconsistent. Now if that formal system is open, then it is a moot question and doesn't matter.

Incompleteness Theorem 2 - There is no consistent Theorem (T) which can prove its own consistency:

Example 1: If T is consistent then G is not derivable in T.
Example 2: If T is consistent the G is derivable in T.
Summation: Consistency Theorems are inconsistent in-and-of themselves since G cannot both be derivable and not derivable in Theorem T.

This then presents a crisis in set theory but like quantum sciences, math and physics move on, living in tension with their logic and systems to be solved or left unsolved for another day. The fact is, like science, mathematics has blind spots within its system. And it are these blind spots which may be placed into the upper level of mathematical philosophies we might call "Metamathematics." Mathematics which are left to another time to be solved from another direction as has lately been done since Godel's propositions by work arounds, assumptions, limit mathematics, probability and statistics, and so on.


ADDENDUM 3

"If a truth theorem is complete, it's closed.
If a truth theorem is incomplete, then it's open."
- re slater

I asserted in Integral Hermeneutics ala Kurt Godel's Incompleteness Theorems that there can never be a final hermeneutic to help interpret God or His Word fully (sic, the bible, nature, event, experience, or enlightened insight). Nor can there be a final hermeneutic for one's life. There are many systems out there. Some closed, some open. Some are preferred over others such as we are using now with Process Philosophy and Process Theology. They seem to address both the divine and the creational in expressive, uplifting terms of hope. These systems can inform us how God operates in the world and how we must live in symmetry with the world. Such helpful systems can help break other systematic modes of self-imposed, or religiously-imposed, constrictions we chain or bind ourselves and others to.

And like Godel's Incompleteness Theorems, no one system is ever enough in the infinite, open-ended streams of life. Or, processes of life. Some come and go while others stay and expand. But they can never be complete because the (cosmopanpsychic) process of evolving life is ever evolving towards a process future of becoming. All events and experiences are incomplete and it is best to learn how to flow with them while learning to unlearn our set boundaries in order to relearn and expand them if we are to be testimonies to the God of grace and mercy.

As such, all of life is a never-ending process and there will never be a time on this earth, or in the life to come, where process isn't bubbling forth newness, novelty, creativity, or redemption. It is who God is. It is how God's creation works. It is what God's Love means when enacted through the process creational system expressed from His ontic being and essence.

In conclusion, let me propose a new axiom:
"If a truth theorem in complete, it's closed. If a truth theorem is incomplete, then it's open." - re slater
Any formal dogmatic systems of religion, regardless of that religion, be it Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or Christian, must always be rightly expanding and growing from all previous instances of itself. Thus, it would be wise to affirm that all religionists should be careful of what they plant in this world - be it good or be it bad.

As seems all too familiar with too many historical examples of good religion gone bad in this world. (I think of American evangelical faiths moving towards neofacism having lost its center in God's Love and Jesus' examples of service of ministry through grace and mercy, forgiveness and hope.

From this we can see that the former statement re closed dogmas have sealed themselves off from outside criticism becoming insular within itself alone shunning all other voices. Whereas the latter statement has attracted more open religions to examine themselves in healthy ways of reflection, revision, and enlightenment, much like the many disciplines of science attempting by their own assertions, explorations, and continual revisions of its set theorems, objectives, and momentary conclusions.

Open systems live in tension with themselves and are the better for it. Closed systems do not and are the worse for it. Learn to live in tension. And in the tension exploit your inner creativity towards goodness, love, and peace.


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RESOURCES












Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 1

Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 2

Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 3

Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 4

Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 5

Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 6

Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 7

Toward Ecological Civilization, Chapter 8

Toward Ecological Civilization, Conclusions