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From: John Bishop <jbishop@zko.dec.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: sub-creation/theology [Digest urth.v030.n173]
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 14:09:20 

I think there's another Wolfean theological point to be made 
about the use of Reason to understand the Universe.

Dan says:
    ...The detectives, professional and amateur, have
    problems that they solve, usually with a combination
    of reason and metaphysics, and so of course Wolfe is
    trying to tell us that our own universe is similarly

And of course that's really worth digging into.

If God makes the universe and us in it in such a way
that we _can_ use our reason to understand it, then
that tells us about God.  We note that there are some
puzzles which are hard (chemistry) and some which are
easy (Galilean physics).  We note that some hard bits
have easy approximations (Aristotelean or "cartoon"

This all seems to imply three things:

1.  We are _meant_ to use reason to uncover the Universe,
    and have been given a graded series of exercises to
    help us do this;  Reason is therefore good, God is good;

2.  This is not the only possible universe and has been
    carefully created to have this characteristic structure
    (c.f. Mozart and "Peace" in my earlier message; the 
    Universe is a work of art (or Art));

3.  We are therefore _meant_ to deduce this and thus be
    lead to see there is a creation, and so be lead on by
    this path as well to much of what used to be called 
    Natural Theology;

In other words, it's a miracle that the Universe is comprehensible
at all, and doubly so that it's comprehensible by Reason.  Gravity
by the inverse square?  Euclidian space (more or less)?  Orbits 
that are conic sections?  How obvious a set-up do you need to catch
the clue?

Now I personally don't believe this, but I think it's a
respectable argument, and one which has an appeal to people
who write or read mysteries.

It's Deism rather than Christianity, but it's not explicitly
modern.  The Classical world was receptive to the power of
Reason.  And since Lewis has said that the way we are created
"in His image" is that we have reason and can love and create,
it fits in with much Christian theology as well (except for not
mentioning sin and the need for redemption).

	-John Bishop

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