Sunday, February 05, 2006

Küng – Der Anfang aller Dinge. Section B, pt 2.

The continuation of my overview of Küng’s book, Der Anfang aller Dinge, will now proceed.
At the moment, I am working through section B (‘God as the beginning?’). To orientate yourself, see the bottom of my introductory post here.

The first part of the overview of section B, dealing with points 1 to 3, can be found here. This is part 2, and there will follow 2 more this week, making the total number of posts on section B as 4.

Why so many? Well, I have decided to spend more time on this section of the book as I felt it was so crucial to Küng’s understanding, general approach and hermeneutic. Plus, its given me lots to think through, and writing it down helps!

4. Reactions to cosmic ‘fine-tuning’ (Feinabstimmung)

Before Küng turns to develop his own answer to cosmic ‘fine-tuning’, he addresses two approaches that have sought to answer the question, ‘how can the beginning of the universe and its balanced intricacy be properly explained?’

Under the title ‘cosmological speculation’, he first overviews the claims made by those promoting ‘alternative universes’, as a way to balance equations and explicate the conditions at the very beginning – even proposing a self-creating universe. Küng’s main criticism revolves around the fact that such speculation is hardly science in an empirical sense, and thus, while it may be correct, cannot compel assent. Not, at least, in the name of that which is true science.

The second approach to the question asked in the first paragraph is that of ‘intelligent design’. Some have attempted to use the ‘big bang’ and ‘expanding universe’ models to justify belief in the Genesis account of creation. These models, after all, point to a definite beginning, a moment of ‘creation’ at which the universe began. However - and here Küng shows that he is no mere apologist - in light of such argumentation, he writes:
‘Ich gestehe freilich, daß mich das ganze Beweisverfahren für eine Anfangssingularität und einen Designer-Gott kaum zu überzeugen vermag’ (87).
And why? Apart from a couple of minor issues, the main reason remains: no physical law can imply a factual endlessness. The sort of arguments he used against scientific arrogance (drawing largely on Kant), he now, entirely consistently, uses against an over self-confident apologetic stance. However, one could challenge Küng’s precise formulation at this point (as quoted above). In the same paragraph he writes that ‘theoretical reason’ cannot compel one to assent to a factual ‘beyond time-space reality’. But ‘to imply’ and ‘to compel’ are two very different notions.

Update: Re-reading this, I am not convinced that my summary is altogether comprehensible for those who may be fresh to such discussions. Unfortunately, as I am condensing a rather complicated argument, this is somewhat inevitable - but hopefully the following two posts will make matters clearer.

Labels: ,


At 10/12/2006 5:50 PM, Blogger freudgod said...

Chris, How can I get an english translation of Hans Kungs book In the Beginning?

At 10/13/2006 12:41 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Hi there,
It hasn't been published in English yet - though Eerdmans are working on one.
I have written an extensive article review of the book in English which summarises the main contours of Küng's arguments. I'm presently looking for somewhere to publish it, but if you want a copy, then e-mail me (address can be found in my profile) - though I'd ask that it remain for your eyes only ...!


Post a Comment

<< Home