Monday, October 18, 2004

Foolishness to the Greeks Chapter 4

Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture on Amazon

Chapter 4: What can we know? The Dialogue with Science

For reading and discussion purposes, we subdivided chapters 4, 5 and 6, so I'll post them in subdivided order.

Here's chapter 4a:

foolishness to the greeks coverThe chapter title, What Can We Know is provocative…when I was at UMass/Boston they offered a course in epistemological sociology called "The Sociology of Knowledge and Ignorance!" Who gets to know what when, how much that do they get to know, and (maybe especially) why do some people not get to know?

One of the reasons I was been slow in getting back to the original discussion site to post (is because I'm becoming in the image of our Slow God? - no, not!) is I didn't have many thoughts on 4a, though I much appreciated everyone else's ideas, especially since I have virtually no background in the natural or physical sciences (which probably is why I was idea-impoverished).

It's no coincidence that God's first recorded creative Word - by the Priestly Pentateuch author, the latest Pentateuch source - was a Word of illuminating, revealing and transforming light. In our discussion, Fred asked, "What else is contained with these words of the Word?" Although the question's not clear to me, with my lack of a scientific background I need to approach the text theologically and I believe the orderliness and careful organization of "P"'s creation account came first when Genesis got compiled in order to show us a God of order and of purpose, telos and very distinctively not a God of randomness, chaos, un-design and disorder.

Back a few posts: I've found many of the unchurched and dechurched often approach Christianity as mysticism, as a contemplative way, and as simply one more-or-less random choice in the contemporary smorgasbord of spiritual choices, not only avoiding the Bible at all costs but avoiding anything resembling social or political activism as well, probably because they won't read and therefore don't interpret the Bible. These book discussions are particularly helpful to me since I'm constantly quandering as to what language to speak in conversation with newly-churched people.

awesomely evocative poetic twentieth-century hymnody:

God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens, by Catherine Cameron, 1967; © 1967 by Hope Publishing Company

1. God, who stretched the spangled heavens infinite in time and place,
Flung the suns in burning radiance through the silent fields of space;
We, thy children, in thy likeness, share inventive powers with thee;
Great Creator, still creating, teach us what we yet may be.

2. We have ventured worlds undreamed of since the childhood of our race;
Known the ecstasy of winging through untraveled realms of space;
Probed the secrets of the atom, yielding unimagined power,
Facing us with life's destruction or our most triumphant hour.

3. As thy far horizon beckons, Father, give us strength to be
Children of creative purpose, serving others, honoring thee,
Till our dreams are rich with meaning, each endeavor, thy design;
Great Creator, lead us onward till our work is one with thine.

New Century Hymnal, No. 556, alt.

Great God, Our Source, © by George Utech:

1. Great God, our source and Lord of space,
O Force of all by whose sheer power
The primal fires that flared and raged were struck, blazed on and still are made:
Oh, save us, Lord, at this fierce hour from threatening fires that we have laid.

2. Ah! God of fire, incarnate Flame,
Through Christ in whom your love has burned,
And burns the way for our dark pace on cosmic routes within us turned:
Lead us beyond atomic night; Guide now in hope our broken race.

3. Lord of the atom, we praise your might,
Expressed in terrifying light;
Before us rise the flames as pyres, or bursts of love--they blind our sight:
Help us, our Lord, O help us see new forms of peace through suffering fires.

Lutheran Book of Worship, No. 466, alt.

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