Easter thoughts

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit. (1 Peter 3.18)

G K Chesterton famously answered the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” with two words: “I am.” Christ did not become creation – he became man. And he did not die for suffering, but suffered for sins. Yet in doing so he redeemed both the suffering of man and the suffering of creation, both of which are the result of our sin. The cause is a deeply sobering thought. The solution is one of the fundamental truths of the Gospel.

But another fundamental truth is that Jesus’s suffering was only the means to an end – the defeat of sin and its swallowing up in the victory of the Resurrection and Ascension to the Father. Jesus is now declared in power to be  both Lord and Christ, and in him we who are redeemed also sit at the right hand of the God who dwells in unapproachable light. That’s both the personal and cosmic meaning of the Easter. This weekend above all is the time to glorify him in that fact: it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

crucifixion10c

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Mariolatry and Bibliolatry

The word “bibliolatry” has cropped up in a comment on BioLogos again recently, interestingly without scare quotes, indicating that its validity as a word was being somewhat assumed. But buzzwords seldom foster truth. “Bibliolatry” used to be a word used by theological liberals against Evangelicals – it’s a sign of the times when Evangelicals use it against … well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Continue reading

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All work and no play…

I’ve not been posting much in the past week, partly because of our granddaughter being here, and partly because I was involved in playing in the first 3 large-scale performances of a new oratorio by a friend of mine, Andy Hague, called Christ Crucified. I was privileged to play lead guitar, classical guitar and bazouki (learned for the occasion) in a superb 7-piece  rhythm section that was part of a 40+-string orchestra accompanying a local choir of 60 or so. Continue reading

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Answered prayer and creation

This is not a new discussion so much as a closer focus on one that I’ve raised a couple of times before, in thinking about the issue of whether God would be “expected” to be active in the natural world, including the process of evolution. To certain kinds of theistic evolutionist, God is definitely not expected to act in nature apart from by sustaining laws he has established, perhaps even very fine tuned laws with emergent properties. This is because of the theology of autonomy, in which nature “ought” to be free to create itself. Of course, the more fine tuning you have, the less like autonomy it looks and the more like computation, but we’ll leave that consideration aside here. Such TEs weigh in with arguments from natural evil and so on to support their presupposition, so it’s not just a question of “wait and see what the science shows.” There’s a prior commitment there, which since it cannot be adjudicated by the science can only be appraised as theology and philosophy, whence it arose anyway. Continue reading

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Small earthquake in Chile, Not many dead

What’s the big deal about evolution anyway? Not scientifically, as an interesting little group of theories about the varieties of organisms, but as “the most important scientific development in the history of mankind”. The theory that makes the world a different place forever. What’s with all that heart searching about whether it does away with the need for God? That stuff about making it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist? Aren’t we forgetting something basic? Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

Creation doctrine and natural law

Arguments from natural law form an important part of Catholic deliberation on issues like abortion, but play little role in Evangelical thinking (though they are implicit in the US constitution and were explicit in Martin Luther King’s politics). However, I suggest that natural law is an important implication of Christian creation doctrine, and another demonstration of the way that, as I have argued in various places on The Hump, creation is foundational for much of our correct understanding of the faith. Creation is not just about scientific origins. Continue reading

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Mind, quanta and algorithms

Given the difficulty of quantum theory, the last post has generated an unusually high level of interest in a short time, both in comments and hits. I surmise that it’s fascinating because it’s fundamental, rather than that the OP was world-changing. I want to reflect on just a couple of thoughts arising from the generalities of the subject, rather than the valuable and serious discussion of our more erudite readers on that thread. My prompt is the article on “qbism” referenced by pngarrison in his post, which opens up again one of the ways that “mind” seems (like King Charles’s head in Mr Dick’s Memorial) to keep impinging itself on the very nature of the quantum world. Continue reading

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Quantum concurrentism

For my next trick, ladies and gentlemen, I shall attempt the impossible: trying to say something coherent about quantum mechanics from the background of a “B” grade in A-level physics. My only encouragement is that proportionately few people in the world have any understanding of QM, and those who do disagree about its interpretation. I’m aware (with some hope of useful feedback and correction) that our subscriber Ian Thompson, a nuclear physicist who has a very similar approach to theistic science that I do and is a concurrentist and Neo-Aristotelian to boot, has actually written a book on quantum theory and philosophy of science – currently on my Amazon wish-list. Continue reading

Posted in Science, Theology | 30 Comments

Education as love

The separation of science and religion has recently been discussed on BioLogos in the context of Ted Davis’s mention of Langdon Gilkey, who advocated the complete separation of science and religion. Pretty soon in that discussion Gilkey’s particular approach was compared to Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA (Non-Overlapping Magisteria), in which science has to do with “facts” and religion with “values”. Continue reading

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Classic providential naturalism – towards a manifesto

When The Hump was relaunched with multiple authors around last October, after various events at BioLogos, I cobbled together a kind of working brief to the prospective writers whimsically entitled The Hump Strategy (or “Evolutionary Creationism in a cheap camelskin coat”). The reference to a certain infamous wedge should be obvious to those in the know. In the light of Sy Garte’s call to arms in a comment yesterday I fished this document out for inspiration (rather than reading through the whole of what is now approaching a million words on the blog). The summary with which I concluded was this: Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | 11 Comments