Monthly Archives: July 2014
One aspect of the close connection between creation and salvation that I didn’t mention in the previous two posts on the subject is that of Missio Dei, the mission of God, which encompasses the outgoing motivation he had both to create all things from nothing, and to restore them in the aftermath of the Fall.
Let me expand a little on the quote I gave in the last piece from Athanasius, because it seems to give some pointers, derived from Scripture, on the essential nature of Christian creation teaching. Here’s the quote: …for, as I said before, though they were by nature subject to corruption, the grace of their union with the Word made them capable of escaping from the natural law, provided that they retained the beauty of innocence with which they were created. That is to say, the presence of the Word with them shielded them even from natural corruption, as also Wisdom says: “God created man for incorruption and as an image … Continue reading
It’s often said that the doctrine of creation is of relatively minor importance compared to the gospel of salvation. What we believe about creation doesn’t make any difference to eternal life. But this view is because creation doctrine is not properly understood. In fact the two things are inextricably entwined – it is not for nothing that the Bible, the story of salvation, begins and ends with creation.
Lydia McGrew has done an excellent piece, Special agent intention as an explanation, which though not addressed to the same specific subjects, relates to the discussions we’ve had here over the last few posts, on frontloading, natural causes, etc. It’s in the comments that much of what is relevant to our concerns crops up, so I recommend reading those, and the article itself.
Hanan (what useful links he gives!) drew our attention in a comment on my previous post to a recent quotation from John Polkinghorne on the compatibility of naturally-occurring processes with God’s will. Eddie and I both agreed that this is unexceptionable as it stands, but that it requires some contextualisation if it is to be fully endorsed.
Hanan’s query on the last thread was trying to sort out what I meant by “guided evolution”. He, Eddie and I all made the same distinction between a universe created with “frontloading”, so that “natural laws” elegantly do all that God might wish in a hands-off way, and a “guided” process where God continues to be active in “nudging” evolution the way he wishes it to go.
The summer I went up to University I had a job decorating somebody’s house. Hearing I was a Christian and that I was going to Cambridge to study medicine, the owner tut-tutted and said it would be hard to keep my faith. I’m not sure if that was because religion has no answer to suffering, or because it has no answers period. One reason I didn’t lose my faith, though, apart from the stubborn desire to prove her wrong, was that I expected to run into all kinds of different belief-systems, promoted by people far cleverer than me, but I told myself that all other things being equal my beliefs … Continue reading
One of the perennial issues underlying the poll to which Edward Robinson draws attention in his post is the question of loss of faith. The most obvious reading of the trend towards support for evolution not guided by God, and away from guided evolution, is that believers see the evidence for evolution (in its original undirected, unpurposeful guise) and are persuaded that God could not have been involved. For all its theological faults, this is one of the central concerns of BioLogos – kids brought up in Creationist churches get to college and, realising the truth, lose their faith. The fact that the poll suggests this is rare (Creationist numbers … Continue reading
It is not often that I agree with Jerry Coyne. Nonetheless, his recent column on the results of a new Gallup poll about creation and evolution hits some nails on the head. This Gallup poll that has been run every two years since 1982. Here are the results, up to and including this year’s:
It’s music time again. Another old song finally brought to completion (though not as old as the last one I posted!)