This series of posts augments the messages I am just now presenting on Sunday mornings at my church. There is just too much knowledge out there to get it all in on Sunday morning. This subject is now taking over my writing at aintsobad and also at http://aintsobad.typepad.com/pastorspal, beginning today.
As you have caught on this series is actually about the epistemology of metaphsics. Can we know? How can we know? Can we know God? How can we know God? How can we say we know God? How can we say even those things we know about knowing God?
Knowledge of God is God's goal for us, cf. I John 3:1-3. We cannot know perfectly now or here but that does not mean we should fail to seek out knowledge of God in the best possible ways. If we are ever to become more than mechanics in metaphysics knowledge of God will be that fulcrum to leverage us from blind faith to deep certainty of such nature we can reliably guide our lives by it and offer it to others.
Religion-Can We Know?-Day Four-Senses
Creation declares the wonder (awesome power) of God. It is not too much a stretch to go from that passage, Romans 1:20, to the increasingly acceptable explanation of a science-obsessed world, i.e., that much of the natural world is better explained as the result of an Intelligent Designer.
When a life-long atheist like Professor Antony Flew moves from outright atheism to a kind of reluctant deism (Deists believe in an impersonal, detached deity who creates intricate loops of the natural world and then mostly ignores creation except as an intellectual exercise; the old saying about deists is a "deist is an atheist who has not lived long enough," but Fleet changed his mind in his mid-80's) we wonder if all of science might not catch up to theology if the science advocates were simply more intellectually open and honest. However, we also acknowledge that Professor Fleet's sudden conversion to Intelligent Design does not prove the existence/activity of God any more than his atheism disproved God's love work.
The order (unity, functional nature/powers of creation) most clearly suggest the presence of an Intelligent Designer when we observe (sense-touch, hear, smell, taste or see) orderly actions that result quite apart from human intervention. The "Green Scientist" who argues that nature is best when left mostly alone advance the Creation argument of the Intelligent Designer. The "Hard Science" proponent who admits he does not "dabble in metaphysics" shows his clear understanding of the minimal power of scientific researchers, who can only observe, test and research to find reliably recurring processes, with which they tamper only to the detriment of the process.
That is, "Hard Scientists," with all their helpful suggestions, cannot venture into the natural world without changing that world artificially (from the natural to the synthetic). Let me illustrate.
My friend, Biff, a molecular scientist, has developed a process by which he believes damaged tissue can be immediately identified mechanically and medicine rushed to the most needy tissue. He is, as I tell him, doing "God's Work," in the synthesis of "smart medicines." Perhaps you do not know of his work. This is because he cannot seem to find reliable funding to commercialize his product.
When he steps out of the laboratory into the street where he must "sell" his product, he enters the realm of the theologian, or, at the very least, of the ethicist/moralist. He can research forever. He must interact with persons who see the good in his work. Thus far, apparently, healing the sick is not a sufficient motive for mass production of his benevolent product.
Yes, he senses the reliable recurrence of chemical reactions in the damaged tissue. These reliable recurrences exist apart from human interaction. Men experience these forces, they do not cause them. When we sense what we do not cause, we start to experience the Intelligent Design.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone, not those of any other person, organization or institution.