Monthly Archives: October 2015
My discussion with Unitarian George at BioLogos led to too much to and fro about the old chestnut of the “solid raqia and flat earth” supposedly espoused in Genesis. My “side” (on which I’ve written before here and here, for example) is that Genesis is pretty indifferent to material or scientific descriptions of creation, but is primarily describing the cosmos as God’s temple, and that dictates its whole content.
Had a spat over at BioLogos with a guy named George (who makes rejection of the Fall his strapline, it seems), who was replying to GJDS to say that the biblical creation story is flawed because of Hebrew lack of scientific knowledge, and in particular because there was no Fall, and humans were actually created flawed. He hasn’t replied to the question of just how he knows what happened so long ago, and the details aren’t important here. I just want to use the opportunity to look at what has been a pretty constant motif in “evolutionary theology” since Victorian times – that evolution is entirely incompatible with a fall … Continue reading
Tomorrow (in case you forgot to organize a party) is the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, when King Henry V and his small band of proletarian archers defeated the aristocracy of France, and the media has not failed to remember it. Significantly it’s had its English pronunciation, with a sounded final “t”, restored after decades of hearing it said the French way. That’s relevant to my post, which is about providing a clearer understanding of the word “myth.”
I find the concept of “free will” to be a very unfruitful one, as I have argued, for example, here. (I’m considering now not the philosophical issues relating to physical determinism, quantum randomness and what not, but the daily experience of choice and its theological consequences). The Bible doesn’t even mention free will, which ought to be significant. It assumes men makes choices, according to common experience, and holds them accountable for them even to the point of acceptance or rejection before God. But it deals with this in relation to character, not to freedom. Its concept of freedom on the other hand, beyond the commonplace and trivial, has to … Continue reading
I continue to be intrigued by the ubiquity of evolutionary stasis as described by Donald Prothero, for example in this piece. It is the breadth and depth of his evidence that makes his case so striking, but the strapline would be: In four of the biggest climatic-vegetational events of the last 50 million years, the mammals and birds show no noticeable change in response to changing climates.
For those who take the authority of Scripture seriously, a commonly stated principle is that one should understand it according to its “plain sense.” For example, a 1970 statement by David L Cooper, founder of the US Biblical Research Society is much quoted: When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.
Sy Garte’s comment on the last post, mentioning panspermia, and GD’s subsequent admission of a liking for science fiction, renewed an intention I formed a while ago to draw together thoughts on the relationship of possible extraterrestrial life to theology. Overall there seems to be a mainstream skeptical generalisation that the existence of ETs would be a threat to Christianity, which echoes a perception that Fundamentalists “don’t hold with Space” (as some Luddite told my father shortly before Sputnik 1 showed that Space didn’t hold with him).
Well-earned prizes have just been awarded for milestone research on DNA Repair. To quote from the Independent as usual (only because it’s cheap) the contributions of the three winners was as follows:
In G K Chesterton’s enigmatic tale, The Man Who Was Thursday, a central theme is the sinister spymaster who turns out, in the end, to be not only a metaphor for Christ, but within the mythos of the book Christ himself. But before this denouement there is a piece of dialogue, in which characters discuss the spymaster, which Chesterton clearly intends to carry great weight: When I see the horrible back, I am sure the noble face is but a mask. When I see the face but for an instant, I know the back is only a jest. Bad is so bad, that we cannot but think good an accident; … Continue reading
I’ve just been re-reading Tom Wright’s excellent book on eschatology, Surprised by Hope, for the first time since 2009, a couple of years before I began to think more intensely about the doctrine of creation in relation to science and all things modern, culminating in this blog. I’d quite forgotten how much the book focuses on the goodness of the current creation, and the stress of the gospel on ushering in a whole new creation, which burst into the world for the first time at the Resurrection and begins to transform it, in preparation for the parousia, by the Spirit’s work through the Church.