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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pieper - Historical Theology - "What Einstein does not know"

Pieper was a contemporary of Albert Einstein and commented on a speech he gave.  Pieper's comments are found in Concordia Theological Monthly, January 1931, pgs 69-70.  Translations from the German language portion are largely from Google Translate:

What Einstein does not know about he gave himself distinctly in an Associated Press report, dated Berlin, 15 November 1930:

"Dr. Albert Einstein, originator of the relativity theory, lectured on the laws of cause and effect last night before a crowd of young (page 70) radicals in Humboldt Hall. He encouraged his audience to ask questions and not to imagine they were foolish questions. 'For before God we are relatively all equally wise or – equally foolish,' he remarked. He touched on the metaphysical and psychological aspects of causation, beginning with the ideas of primitive peoples, who are able to conceive only an 'animistic will cause'; who, in other words, believe all happenings are directly caused by a thinking agency, human, divine, or demoniacal. He said he saw nothing to prove that the world was 'causal.' As to the 'first cause,' he said, he couldn't even now tell which came first, the hen or the egg. Determinism, which lays down that everything that happens is due to the law of necessity, Einstein said, 'is belief, not knowledge.' Physicists no longer believe in strict determinism, he added. Mankind, he said, has not gone very far in knowledge. 'The farther we proceed, the more formidable are the riddles facing us,' he asserted. He said the ultimate issues were beyond man's ken."
The talk is modest. And this modesty is in order. There is a "metaphysical problem". It will remain true that no created spirit penetrates into the interior of nature. It was also pointed out recently by naturalists that the mysteries of nature increase as the the tools are sharper with which we observe nature. The reason is this: As God has created all things, he is also the one who receives all things in their being and life and movement, Col.1, 16:17. God is invisible, 1 Tim. 6, 16, so out of reach for the microscope and telescope. Hence, the result that with the increasing sharpness of our observation instruments the riddles increase. But this "modesty" can be carried too far. This happens when it degenerates into agnosticism. The world is "causal" in the sense that it is recognized as made by God if it is looked with understanding (xxxx), Rom. 1, 20: "God's invisible nature, that is, his eternal power and Godhead is clearly seen, so one perceives in the works, namely the creation of the world." As for the famous question of priority, whether the chicken or the egg, or - what is on the same line - whether it was the oak or the acorn first, the Scriptures teach, as is well known, that through God's creative word a complete, fully-trained plant and animal world came into existence. The plants are more likely than their seed, and the animals rather than their offspring. Likewise, man is ready and created fully trained. On the contrary assumption, the whole and the half evolution, prudent scientists even of the modern era admit missing the "filling intermediate link".
Modernists can claim all kinds of answers to Pieper's mention of the "missing link" but it does not change Scripture which clearly does not admit a theory of Evolution.  Pieper is a true judge of Einstein and this issue.

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