and care about us. God did not begin to love after he created man. God is love because he has an eternal relationship with other eternal persons; the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Trinity there exists the dynamics
of movement and a capacity for change. Love is movement within God and toward us. The creation is a change of activity in God and the incarnation is a
change in form. An eternal singular being could not be intrinsically personal because he would not have
anyone to eternally love and relate too.
God's future is open for
freedom of action
An active pluralistic God experiences time;
has a past, a present, and a future. The creation of the world is in God's past and the day of judgement is in his future. God does what he wants, when he wants. He freely actualizes his own unlimited creative potential in an eternity of open unlimited time. To say that God
is timeless means that he has no time and cannot act sequentially. A timeless God cannot be free because he must always be doing everything he can possibly
do, at the same never ending moment.
God is an infinite personal being
To be personal means to be rational and moral
in our relationships. God has a mind, a will, and emotions, because we are created in his image we can experience love and communication with him and each other.
Our finite personal existence logically implies a infinite personal origin which is the basis for human
dignity. Only the existence of a personal God can give us meaning, morality, freedom, and rationality. There is
no way to prove nor rationally explain how an accidental collision of impersonal atoms can produce life or
how an impersonal, irrational, and amoral spirit--Brahma, can manifest personal, rational, and moral beings.
The sudden appearance of species in the fossil record with no evidence of significant change
Harvard Gazette: "Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard's out spoken and often controversial paleontologist whose ground breaking work on evolutionary theory coupled with his award winning writings brought an expanded world of science to thousands of readers, died Monday morning, May 20, in Manhattan of metastasized lung cancer. He was 60. Born Sept. 10, 1941, in New York City. Gould received his A.B. from Antioch College in geology in 1963 and a doctorate from Columbia University in 1967.
He became assistant professor of geology and assistant curator of invertebrate paleontology at Harvard in 1967. He was promoted to associate professor of geology and associate curator of invertebrate paleontology in 1971 and to professor of geology and curator of invertebrate paleontology in 1973. In 1982, he was named the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology.
Along with Niles Eldredge, a paleontologist at New York's Museum of Natural History, Gould developed a new evolutionary theory called 'punctuated equilibrium,' where long periods of evolutionary stability are broken by shorter spurts of evolutionary change. The theory contrasts with more traditional evolutionists, who believe evolution is a slow, steady process.
"In any local area,
a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its
ancestors; it appears all at
once and fully formed."
The reason for Gould's presentation of a new theory
of evolution is because he was honest enough to acknowledge what many others would not, that the fossil record did not support Darwin's theory of gradualism.
"The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution. The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism:
1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless.
2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and fully formed."
Professor Gould's confessions were not an endorsement of Biblical creation, but stasis and sudden appearance are what one would expect if the world were created then flooded.
remains incomplete until we face the cosmic insignificance that our own evolution
Irrational and cruel process
Professor Gould gave us his atheistic view of human origin. "Natural selection...could scarcely be less available for any hope that evolution might be either cosmically rational or just parochially directed toward the appearance of Homo sapiens. Natural selection is a theory about adaptation to changing local environments, not a statement about "improvement" or "progress" in any global sense. Natural selection...is a remarkably inefficient, even cruel process".
"We never should have sought either solace or moral instruction in Nature, who was not made for us, or even with us in mind, and who existed by her own rules for billions of years before we arrived. Better to learn a stern truth...about cosmic indifference to us than to persist in a myth...that might channel proper attention from our own bodies and minds (true humanism) as the source of ethics and value."
"Darwin's revolution remains incomplete until we face the cosmic insignificance that our own evolution truly implies thus liberating us to grasp the deeply human meaning of our lives and most curious brainpower."
Dr. Gould's understanding briefly stated is:
1. Natural selection is an irrational cruel process.
2. It is directionless and inefficient.
3. Natural selection is indifferent to us.
4. It is not a source for ethics or comfort.
5. Natural selection renders our existence
Rationality, meaning, and morals
If what Gould says is true, that our "bodies and minds" are the product of a cruel and irrational process, then how do they become a source of ethics and values? How did we even become rational? How does the acceptance of our cosmic insignificance help us to find meaning? If our understanding of the meaning of life and morals is attached to this perception of human origin, then logically, our lives are as meaningless and cruel as the process itself.
If atheism is true, then, we are not just a product of nature, we are a part of nature. We are not something else because there is nothing else! But it seems that Gould suggests that we have become something other than nature when he says, "We never should have sought either solace or moral instruction in Nature, who was not made for us, or even with us in mind." Man has become something different than nature, man has become rational and moral. Only by creating this illusion can Gould tell us that we can "grasp the deeply human meaning of our lives". But, the sad truth is clear, if we have come from impersonal nature, and if we all turn back to "cosmic dust" when we die, and if there is nothing eternal about humanity, then life is cruel and a search for meaning is irrational and absurd.
Gould's "punctuated equilibrium" is not a proof for evolution, it is an attempt to explain how we can still believe in evolution, even though there is no proof for it in the fossil record. Likewise, he does not prove that we have become something other than nature, he must assume it in order to say that we can find meaning and create morals contrary to the cruel irrational process of natural selection. If it is true that the fossil record does not depict an evolving universe; and that we are morally conscientious rational beings who ponder the significance of our existence; we must conclude that we are created by something other than an irrational and cruel "Nature". We must conclude that we are created by something moral and rational--God.
Christian world view of absolute truth
After doing evangelism in Washington Square Park for three summers I decided to create a website to continue evangelism online. I hope it will become a valuable source of information and encouragement.
Christianity, as a world view of absolute truth, is constantly under attack. In evangelism we must respond to the four major criticisms leveled against Christianity with rational answers if we are going to be effective.
Historical criticism: The Bible is a collection of myths and legends from Hebrew and other cultures that have been altered through time and the work of copyists.
Philosophical criticism: No one can prove the existence of God or the deity of Christ.
Scientific criticism: Science has proven that the world evolved through natural causes rather than created by a supernatural deity.
Theological criticism: If God is all powerful and all knowing, then he is responsible for the existence of evil in the world and is not a God of love.
Because we can answer these criticisms without contradiction from a dynamic free theistic perspective, we do not have to be afraid to enter our world to present the gospel and explain it with confidence and compassion.
I hope you will visit my website, study it, and become more effective in your Christian witness.
Finding a rational answer for the meaning of our existence, and communicating it to modern man was Dr. Schaeffer's life mission. I, and many others have been able to present the gospel to this generation with greater courage and confidence because of the help we received from his books. The God Who Is There,Escape From Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent are three books every Christian, serious about sharing the Gospel, should read. All three are together in one book, The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy.
Dr. Schaeffer is noted for his presuppositional apologetics. His book, He is There And He Is Not Silent, becomes a basis for evangelism today and, in my opinion, the best expression of his brilliance. He explains how the existence of a infinite and personal God provide us with an answer to the meaning of our personal existence; an answer to the reason for the existence of evil; and a basis for rational thought. He also tells us why atheistic philosophies and pantheistic religions do not answer these questions.
Dr. Schaeffer was not a freewill theist perse, but four absolute truths that are the basis of his writings also form the basis of Dynamic Free Theism:
1. Biblical thought is based on antithesis.
2. Love and communication are intrinsic in God.
3. God existed before the creation of the world.
4. Eternity is active and not static.
Dr. Schaeffer, [Before modern thought] "the schools of philosophy...thought in terms of antithesis. If a certain thing was true, the opposite was not true. In morals, if a thing was right, the opposite was wrong. This is something that goes as far back as you can go in man's thinking. As a matter of fact it is the only way man can think. When a man says that thinking in terms of an antithesis is wrong, what he is really doing is using the concept of antithesis to deny antithesis. That is the way God has made us and there is no other way to think. Therefore, the basis of classical logic is that A is not non-A. The understanding of what is involved in casting it away, is very important in understanding contemporary thought." --Escape From Reason, p. 35.
"Prior to the
creation there is love and
love and communication
are intrinsic. When modern man screams for love and communication Christians
have an answer."
Love, communication, and creation
Dr. Schaeffer writes in his book, Genesis In Time and Space,"'In the beginning' is a technical term stating the fact that at this particular point of sequence there is a creation ex nihilo--a creation out of nothing. All that is, except for God himself who already has been, now comes into existence. Before this there was a personal existence--love and communication. Prior to the material universe, prior to the creation of all else there is love and communication [within the Trinity]. This means that love and communication are intrinsic. And, hence when modern man screams for love and communication (as he so frequently does), Christians have an answer."-- p. 24.
Love and communication are forms of movement that require sequence which is an aspect of time. The creation requires a "before and after" in the Trinity and a change in activity from "day" to new "day", both of which are aspects of time. We cannot believe in the Trinity nor in the creation, as Dr. Schaeffer explained it, without also believing there is movement, change, and time within God. It would be completely contradictory, irrational, and against antithesis to say otherwise.
Time, history, and eternity
Dr. Schaeffer speaks of eternal time when he asks, "When did history begin? If one is thinking with the modern concept of the space-time continuum, then it is quite obvious that time and history did not exist before 'in the beginning.' But if we are thinking of history in contrast to an eternal, philosophic 'other,' or in contrast to a static eternal, then history [and time--Dave] began before Genesis 1:1."--Genesis In Time and Space, pp. 18-19
A static eternity is immovable, motionless, inactive and timeless. If eternity is not static then it is active. Activity means movement and movement involves a sequence of events which are either past, presently occurring, or to occur later in the future. The Biblical God is active, involved in history, and inhabits an eternity of unlimited or unending time. A timeless, static, and inactive deity can be the cause of all events in history but cannot be actively involved in any events of history, even the creation of the world. A God who is timeless cannot be personally involved with us nor respond to our prayers. To believe that God can be both timeless and involved in history is saying he is eternally both active and inactive at the same time in the same relationship to the world. This is a contradiction, not a paradox, and absolutely absurd.
Dr. Schaeffer states the importance of this when he writes, "What is involved is the reality of the personal God in all eternity in contrast to the philosophic other or impersonal everything which is frequently the twentieth century theologian's concept of God."--which are timeless.
Dr. Schaeffer, did not, to my knowledge, write anything directly dealing with the development of natural theology, it's conflict with Biblical revelation, nor it's assimilation into Catholic and Reformed theology. He simply states in Escape from Reason, that, "the autonomous in Aquinas takes on various forms. One result...was the development of natural theology...natural theology is a theology that could be pursued independently from the Scriptures. Thought it was an autonomous study, he [Aquinas] hoped for a unity and said there was a correlation between natural theology and the Scriptures." --p.11
Dr. Colin Brown points out in his book, Philosophy and the Christian Faith, that natural theology, "goes back to the classical Greek philosophy of Plato and Aristotle."
Dr. Brown goes on to say Aquinas produced a theology that is a synthesis of faith and philosophy--a two-storied approach, "where a theology is based partly upon the Christian revelation and partly upon alien philosophical ideas." --Inter Varsity Press, p.33-35.
A diagram of Aquinas's theology, put in upper story and lower story form, would look like this:
Plato and Aristotle
Unfortunately, we cannot agree with Dr. Schaeffer when he states in Escape From Reason that, "For the reformation, final and sufficient knowledge rested in the Bible--that is, Scripture Alone, in contrast to Scripture plus anything else parallel to the Scriptures, whether it be the church or a natural theology." --p. 20 The natural theological concepts of an immovable, changeless, and timeless "Perfect Being" (Plato) and "Unmoved Mover" (Aristotle), are an integral part of Reformed and Calvinistic theology as well as the basis for their apologetic.
Though I completely agree with Dr. Schaeffer as to what happened historically in Escape From Reason, I disagree as to why it happened. It's the synthesis of Scripture with Greek philosophy by Augustine that sets reason apart from faith and not Aquinas' view that the intellect of man was not fallen (p.11). Aquinas simply builds on the foundation set by Augustine before him. Fortunately, for us,
Dr. Schaeffer parts from classical apologetics in, He Is There And He Is Not Silent, and from classical theology in, Genesis In Time and Space.
Dr. Schaeffer gave us a presuppositional apologetic with Biblical and rational power for evangelism. He freed us from natural theology and the weaknesses of the ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments for the existence of God. He takes the position of Dynamic Free Theism that gives us Biblical and rational power for communicating the true nature of God. DFT frees us from the irrationality of the timeless concept of God from natural theology.
For three summers I spent my weekends discussing and debating the existence and nature of God in Washington Square Park at new York University. After setting up my posters, inspired from Dr. Schaeffer's book , He is There and He is not Silent, I would begin by saying that I can't prove there is a God. I can't prove that everything is God; nor can I prove there is no God. But, in regard to human origin, only one world view of ultimate reality can be true. It's irrational and unrealistic to believe that all three propositions can be true at the same time. We are either the creation of a personal God, a belief we call monotheism; we have evolved from the chance collision of impersonal atoms, a belief we call atheism; or, we are the manifestation of an impersonal world soul, a belief we call pantheism.
The same can be said about human destiny, we will stand before God in a day of judgement to be rewarded with eternal life in heaven or perish in hell--theism, or we will be reincarnated--pantheism, or we will simply cease to exist after death--atheism.
The answer can be found in our regard to human dignity. Human dignity is our own self worth and the respect we show to others. It is measured in four ways; the meaning of life, morality, rationality, and freedom. Meaning comes from discovering the purpose of our personal existence. Morality governs our relationship with others and how we discern the nature of evil. Rationality is the consistency and non-contradiction of our thinking and conduct. Freedom is our ability to make uncoerced and personal choices.
"How am I, as a temporal
being imprisoned in time and space to escape from my imprisonment, when I know that outside space and time lies nothing, and that I, in the ultimate depths of my reality am nothing also?"
We must asked ourselves: 1. What is the meaning of life? 2. What is morality? 3. How do we account for rationality and freedom? A. If there exists a personal God; B. If there is no God; C. If everything is God.
Theists, atheists, and pantheists do not give the same answers to these questions. Bertrand Russell said, "Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving...no intensity of thought and feelings can preserve an individual beyond the grave." Jesus said, "God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." Buddha said "Those whose minds are disgusted with a future existence...go out like this lamp."
In the process of a dialogue the differences and their implications become very clear and it's easy to see why belief in a personal God is the only rational and optimistic way for us to understand human origin, destiny, and dignity. Samuel Beckett makes it very clear, "we are nothing" if there is nothing personal beyond our own existence in a vast impersonal universe.
Dynamic Free and Open Theism
Welcome to the first edition of DFT magazine. Its purpose is to provide exposure, encouragement, and inspiration for the teachers, churches, mission groups, organizations and followers that make up the world of Dynamic Free and Open Theism. It will contain:
1. Announcements of coming events
2. Historical perspective of DFT/Open theology
3. News and prayer requests
4. Theological and apologetic articles
5. Introduction to people and their websites
Followers of DFT and Open theology are many and scattered through out the world, but not locally or nationally organized into any one denomination or church affiliation. Connect and fellowship with others that share your perspective on God and salvation. Pray for and join each other for evangelism and worship. Please send me e-mail and pictures at "Let's Talk" so I can enter your name, organization, or church in the Network directory. Send me your e-mail address and I will e-mail you a link for the next issue when it is ready.