2 "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
In 1999, ..., President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin astonished an all-black congregation in Baltimore by falling to his knees and begging African-Americans’ forgiveness for the “shameful” and “abominable” role Africans played in the trade. Other African leaders, including Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, followed Mr. Kerekou’s bold example.
We stand here before and irresistible and all-embracing dissolution of the world of time and things and men, before a penetrating and ultimate KRISIS, before the supremacy of a negation by which all existence is rolled up.....But now directs our attention to time which is beyond time, to space which has no locality, to the impossible possibility, to the gospel of transformation, to the imminent Coming of the Kingdom of God, to affirmation in negation, to salvation in the world, to acquittal in condemnation, to eternity in time, to life in death - I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away. This is the Word of God.
The question the book addresses is, “How do contemporary investigations in cognitive and brain science, pragmatic philosophy, and emergent systems theory impact upon a theological understanding of soul and spirit?” (p. 207).
So what are cognitive science and "emergent systems theory"? The Wikipedia entries on Cognitive science and Systems theory give a good introduction and overview to these enterprises. To me, cognitive science is a legitimate and exciting enterprise involving multiple academic disciplines. It is populated by many leading researchers from a range of disciplines and has made important contributions to our understanding of how the brain works and functions (and does not function at times).
However, in distinct contrast "emergent systems theory" seems to be a "theory of everything" that is "going to change the world." It is promoted by people such as Ervin Laszlo who do not hold regular academic positions and argue for highly speculative positions that are well outside the scientific mainstream. Wikipedia states that Lazlo's 2004 book:
Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything posits a field of information as the substance of the cosmos. Using the Sanskrit and Vedic term for "space", Akasha, he calls this information field the "Akashic field" or "A-field". He posits that the "quantum vacuum" (see Vacuum state) is the fundamental energy and information-carrying field that informs not just the current universe, but all universes past and present (collectively, the "Metaverse").
László describes how such an informational field can explain why our universe appears to be fine-tuned as to form galaxies and conscious lifeforms; and why evolution is an informed, not random, process. He believes that the hypothesis solves several problems that emerge from quantum physics, especially nonlocality and quantum entanglement.
I regret to say that this is just scientific "gobbledygook". It claims connections and research results that are not valid.
1So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. 3He burned with anger also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong.4Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. 5And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger.
Why was he so angry? Was he scared that the questions did not have the simple answers he clung to.
if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.
Now, Theology is like the map. Merely learning and thinking about the Christian doctrines, if you stop there, is less real and less exciting than the sort of thing my friend got in the desert. Doctrines are not God: they are only a kind of map. But that map is based on the experience of hundreds of people who really were in touch with God-experiences compared with which any thrills or pious feelings you and I are likely to get on our own are very elementary and very confused. And secondly, if you want to get any further, you must use the map. You see, what happened to that man in the desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, but nothing comes of it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it. In fact, that is just why a vague religion-all about feeling God in nature, and so on-is so attractive. It is all thrills and no work; like watching the waves from the beach. But you will not get to Newfoundland by studying the Atlantic that way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.
Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or Faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come....The Bible really seems to clinch the matter when it puts. the two things together into one amazing sentence. The first half is, 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling'- which looks as if everything depended on us and our good actions: but the second half goes on, 'For it is God who worketh in you'- which looks as if God did everything and we nothing. I am afraid that is the sort of thing we come up against in Christianity. I am puzzled, but I am not surprised. You see, we are now trying to understand, and to separate into watertight compartments, what exactly God does and what man does when God and man are working together. And, of course, we begin by thinking it is like two men working together, so that you could say, 'He did this bit and I did that.' But this way of thinking breaks down. God is not like that. He is inside you as well as outside: even if we could understand who did what, I do not think human language could properly express it. In the attempt to express it different Churches say different things. But you will find that even those who insist most strongly on the importance of good actions tell you need Faith; and even those who insist most strongly on Faith tell you to do good actions. At any rate that is as far as I can go.
In the death of Jesus Christ God has humiliated Himself and rendered Himself up, in order to accomplish His law upon sinful man by taking his place and thus once for all removing from him to Himself the curse that affects him, the punishment he deserves, the past he is hurrying to meet, the abandonment into which he has fallen.
But we ought not to erect and fix any opposition. ... there is no Easter without Good Friday, but equally certainly there is no Good Friday without Easter!