I’ve collaborated with my friend Martin on musical projects for several years, but we’ve not met for over forty, when we were both on the committee (and separately presidents) of Cambridge University Folk Club. He’s an atheist, but not a Gnu, since he uses a capital for “God”, and religion came up when he asked my news recently, and I told him about The Hump. We normally only talk saxophone solos and studio techniques. Continue reading
This is mainly an Old Testament word study prompted by, but conceptually quite removed from, my last two posts on formal causation. Such categories of Greek philosophy were, of course, quite unknown to the Old Testament writers. The English word “form” is often used of God’s creation, but is less often thought about than words like “create” or “make”. Getting a feel for what the Bible’s vocabulary means will help us to decide whether the “Statistical Deism” of modern theistic evolution is actually compatible with it. Continue reading
The question of God’s oversight of evolution has come up yet again on BioLogos, as it must so long as it’s denied there. Bren, in defending evolution as a substantially undirected process, raises again the analogy of evolution being like a child given freedom to make mistakes by its parents.
It’s a superficially plausible idea, and was used on me by Darrel Falk a couple of years ago, so maybe its origin is in one of those popular theistic evolution books in which theology is done by buzzword. But since it is being used to overthrow the fundamental monotheistic doctrine of universal providence, it had better have some pretty good bona fides. Instead, like the rebellious Sheba son of Bicri (2 Sam. 20), it’s actually a “worthless fellow”, so I’m not here to trace its lineage but to be its executioner – for which I have a little qualification, having studied developmental psychology at Cambridge. I therefore have few qualms about inflicting on it cruel and unusual punishments. Continue reading
In 1853, a mere 6 years before the publication of Origin of Species, a minor textbook written for the education of the public was published with the title Library of Natural History, and the subtitle “containing scientific and popular descriptions of man, quadrupeds, birds, fishes, reptiles, and insects, compiled from the works of…” and there follows a list of the most active and well known naturalists of the day. While most of the text is not very interesting, there are some remarkable aspects of this book, clearly meant to be an up to date summary of the field. First, the word biology is never used.
I don’t suppose any of my American brethren will be posting on Thanksgiving Day, so have a good one!
Here’s a conversation that Werner Heisenberg said changed his life:
Heisenberg: “We cannot observe electron orbits inside the atom…Now, since a good theory must be based on directly observable magnitudes, I thought it more fitting to restrict myself to these, treating them, as it were, as representatives of the electron orbits.”
“But you don’t seriously believe,” Einstein protested, “that none but observable magnitudes must go into a physical theory?”
“Isn’t that precisely what you have done with relativity?” I asked in some surprise…
“Possibly I did use this kind of reasoning,” Einstein admitted, “but it is nonsense all the same….In reality the very opposite happens. It is the theory which decides what we can observe.”
The Theology of St John Chrysostom
St John Chrysostom (347-407) is generally hailed as the most eloquent preacher in the Greek language among the early church fathers. The doctrine of divine providence saturates his sermons and treatises. This is particularly interesting, in that sometimes a strong doctrine of providence is associated with Augustinian theology. Continue reading
August 1970 – It was the end of my gap year, men had walked on the moon twice and I saw Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival just a couple of weeks before he died. Continue reading
Much attention has been given to the subject of how to properly read Scriptural narrative, whether it must be historical before it can lay any other claim to truth, or if a Christian can see some of it as mythology and still be considered a faithful student of the Word. These are worthy subjects in need of continued attention; but in this essay I will set these questions aside and focus on an old story that not only taught Truth about peoples long ago but, I propose, may still be unfolding today. Continue reading
There is a remarkable thing about scientific discoveries in all fields. They generally tend to be surprising. Nobody expected that the universe had a clear beginning, and that space and time started at a particular moment, before which there was….. well, nothing. Not even time. How surprising was that?
Let me present three apparently disparate themes and then show that, together, they give some useful theological insights. Continue reading