Monthly Archives: August 2011
Having neglected my basic education for too many years, I thought it would be useful to get a little more up to speed on population genetics, seeing that it is the firm foundation of the Neodarwinian synthesis that currently rules the world. So I downloaded some evidently bog-standard teaching material from a handy New England University which seems to form a good basic introduction. The famous Hardy-Weinberg equation, the accepted mathematical underpinning of evolution, is easy to understand and pretty self-evident. So now I’m a biologist. I finally deserve the distinction in Scholarship level zoology I got at school. Yet some of the discussion, uncontroversial in itself, does a lot … Continue reading
The more I think about it, the more the good folk at BioLogos appear to me to be between a rock and a hard place in formulating a theoretical framework appropriate to their mission. From the start one should acknowledge that, like any such organisation, BioLogos is a broad church. That in itself can cause problems, but it goes with the territory and, in any case, leads to fruitful debate. Rather, I’m restricting myself to the predominant theology of its main supporters, which as I have discussed at length in the last few posts is Open Theism, and to that part of its aim that has to do with reconciling … Continue reading
Just a quick rider to the last few posts (clearly not even a basic handling of a deep subject). Some may not have fully realised that there are two radically different ideas of “free will” in Christianity. The commonest one in the US and UK, owing to the ascendency of Arminianism in Evangelicalism after Wesley, is that the will is a necessarily undetermined, arbitrary and self-governing principle. For it to be limited in any way is to deny it and imprison it. One outworking of this is that we are always equally free to decide to sin or not to sin, to live for Christ or not. Two corollaries to … Continue reading
Flatland has often been used as an analogy for space-time. Flatlanders live in 2-dimensional space, like drawings on a page. Height, for them, is a difficult dimension for them to imagine, as time is for us. But they can move and act freely within their two-dimensional landscape. Imagine, then, a Flatland in which height is a real dimension through which Flatlanders move unconciously and inexorably, as we do through time. You could picture the real Flatland as a cylinder slowly sinking through the relativistic area-height continuum. In the Flatland scheme of things, a Flatlander is born at some point in height c`, at area coordinates ab. He moves feeely round … Continue reading
Lets look now at whether Gods foreordination or foreknowledge actually does destroy human freewill, as Open Theology claims. How unconstrained, in reality, is our freewill anyway? We are limited by physical laws, senses, intellect, strength, courage, education, finance, childhood conditioning, social position, external constraint, sickness, addiction, insanity, disability and death from exercising our wills freely. Yet are these ever cited as evidences against freewill? So we consider our wills free even though multiple constraints prevent many of our volitions becoming realised.
Open Theologys propositions Open Theisms axiomatic starting point is that of the libertarian view of free-will, that is that man is essentially, and unchangeably, free to choose all his actions independent of any external, or even internal, influence. This comes directly from its Arminian roots, though such a view developed gradually and was not clearly stated in the original Five Articles of the Remonstrants. This libertarian view is extended in evolutionary versions of OT to the extreme that the whole of creation must possess this kind of freedom, or God be a despot. After this emerge the following propositions:
I’m still trying to get to grips with the Open Theism that is the ruling theological paradigm at BioLogos in particular, and apparently amongst theistic evolutionists in genereral. At the core of Open Theism is the idea that God is restricted to time just as we are, so cannot know the future because it does not yet exist. Time being a physical part of creation, one would be able to ascertain exactly in which time-frame God is working only by learning his velocity. In theory, he would have a completely different sense of elapsed time were he to be managing the affairs of a light-speed photon rather than those of … Continue reading
Continuing the thoughts in my last post, it occurs to me how much of the prevalent TE theology appears to be influenced by the Open Theism propounded first by the late Clark Pinnock around 1980, and by other popular leaders such as John Sanders, Peter Wagner and (over here) Roger Forster. This may have been encouraged by the espousal of the new theology by scientists and other writers on theistic evolution like John Polkinghorne, Francis Collins, Karl Giberson, John Haught and Ken Miller. But some similar view of God seems to inform even those who (as far as I know) would not call themselves Open Theists, such as George Murphy … Continue reading
One of the things I find most perplexing about theistic evolution, in the guise of BioLogos, at least, is how unnecessarily skewed against mainstream evangelical teaching much of it is. I don’t think this is the fault of people like president Darrel Falk. In a recent blog, he corrects an item on NPR (“an American Radio network, I believe, M’Lud”) which seems to make belief in evolution antithetical to belief in a historic Adam and Eve.
Having thought I’d refuted the multiverse explanation of life-origins, I noticed this on the breakfast table today: Look closely at the sliced grapefruit and the orange. You’ll see they have the same flesh-pattern, the same light reflex, the same moisture droplets. And yet the background shows they’re photos of completely different fruits. Now, I’ve no way of working out the probability of two fruits of different species turning up in a photo with such matching details. But it must be more than 10^150, surely. Some might say an intelligence was involved, but knowing what Kooning has taught us about probability and the infinite multiverse… well, it’s just what you’d … Continue reading