Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
God as a Blown-up Me: re Busen
David F. Siemens, Jr., ASA Fellow
2703 E. Kenwood St.
Mesa, AZ 85213ñ2384
From: PSCF 50 (June 1998): 155-156.
Busen, in his responses to Drozdek and to me, though my name is wrong (PSCF, 50 [March 1998]: 75ñ7, 74f), uncritically cites authors to establish his thesis that the deity is time-bound. But is it true, as Davies claims, that God has to become temporal to communicate to us (p. 74)? I don't think he would have said this if he had read and understood Dorothy L. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker. If Davies is correct, all authors who want the characters in their plays or novels to know something have to become characters within their writings. This is ridiculous, for all that is required is that the clues necessary for the characters to infer or discover the information are included within the internal circumstances of the work. Analogously, God does not have to be within his creation to communicate to the creatures he made sentient. How he places his revelation within their reach is strictly up to him. He has included an ass, apostles, and angels among his messengers. But there is a vital difference between God and human authors: no author can wholly become a part of a literary work, but the incarnate God entered his creation.
I was amazed to find Tillich and Barth cited unquestioningly as authorities in an evangelical context. Both are encumbered with a lot of higher critical and philosophical baggage. Tillich, especially, has no commitment to Scripture or creed. He declares "`God has become man' is º a nonsensical statement" (Systematic Theology, II, 94). When he says that God must incorporate non-being as a dialectical process (III, 284), he has swallowed too much irrational Hegelian dialectic for me. Their claims are fully answered below.
Davies' insistence that personality demands change is totally confused. I recall being asked if the crucifixion had not changed God. The answer is clearly "No," but one must be aware that this is a complex question, as in the chestnut, "Have you quit beating your mother-in-law yet?" Were the question, "Is a Redeemer-God recognizably different from one who is not a redeemer?", the answer would be "Yes" with a qualification. In Perelandra, C.S. Lewis presents a creation story without a fall. So the ongoing revelation of God to Tor, Tinidril, and their descendants would be radically different from his revelation to the children of Adam. Yet there is but one God in the universe, a single deity however many populated worlds he may see fit to produce.
The question about the changing deity assumed that God is tied to a before and after as we are, and so had to change at the time of the crucifixion. But he is immutable and eternal, necessary conditions to being the Creator rather than a purely immanent pantheistic all. This, unfortunately, Pike does not see (p.77). So he turns Genesis 1:26<|>f on its head and produces a deity in his own human image. Busen does not see that ascribing some sort of time to God to "solve" Davies' and Pike's problem merely produces a problem equally heterodox and irrelevant. The eternity appropriate for human beings, namely unending time with change (see Ephesians 2:7), does not have to be ascribed to God, whose eternity is without time, T1, T2,º, Tn included.
What is the alternative? A deity in time of any sort changes, for there is necessarily a before and an after. There is consequently a future which is not yet open to it, making it both finite and liable to surprise. It is but me writ large, an idol though not graven. How can I worship it, when it is such a sorry substitute for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Almighty, the I AM THAT I AM.