Monthly Archives: June 2018
I’ve been suggesting in recent months that the Bible is usefully seen as a story in three parts, the very first of which is about the purpose of God to bring in a new spiritual creation, in which his glory would fill all things, through Adam – a purpose which proved abortive because of the temptation of the serpent and the sin of Adam and Eve. If that’s a reasonable assessment, then the whole of the history of Adam’s race (that is, us) has been a story of exile from a world, and a role, that was glimpsed and then lost, and not simply a story of how natural mankind … Continue reading
A frivolous post, since it’s so hot and summery here. Over at Joshua Swamidass’s Peaceful Science blog, he has the same software as does BioLogos, enabling him to give pithy descriptive epithets to regular posters. For me, he has chosen “Indigenous Theologian”.
A distraction on the recent BioLogos thread about Kathryn Applegate’s views on Adam was the old chestnut about theology needing to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept new discoveries in science, a case made mainly by a moderator there, who is a physicist, rather than either a theologian or historian.
When I was doing a home Bible study on the Genesis creation narrative a few weeks ago, one guy asked me, “Who was there to write it down?” I’d not yet explained how to approach the text, so it was a good introduction to that, as well as a good question, and you’ll guess the answer wasn’t “God saw the whole thing,” although he certainly did.
My maternal great-grandmother was Emma Tyler, who came from a non-conformist family (Brethren, Primitive Methodists or Independents to a woman) that I can trace right back to the sixteenth century in Braintree, Essex. There it was, coincidentally, that I ran a back pain clinic for the last two years of my medical career. Many of the Tylers were bakers and confectioners in the nineteenth century, and any older readers who knew Cambridge “back in the day” may remember that the best bread came from Tylers bakery opposite St Johns College. That was started by my 3X great-grandfather’s brother English Tyler in around 1840.
I was reminded to return to the subject of “universals” by a comment on an old post by a new subscriber, Mark Chenoweth. It seems worth raising again, given the new degree of rapprochement between some TEs, IDists and OECs, characterised by the forthcoming Dabar Conference in Illinois. And also by the fact that I recently cut my hand by falling out of our field into the lane whilst chasing a squirrel… don’t ask.
Does Genesis 2 follow from Genesis 1, that is? One of the objections made to the Genealogical Adam hypothesis is that the idea that the story of the Garden follows sequentially from the Genesis 1 Creation account is wrong, and that they are actually different accounts of the same events.
When I wrote a recent piece on the limitations of science, compared to the sum total of truth (and even of knowledge), I was building on discussions with Joshua Swamidass, who liked the article, I’m pleased to say. He might be less in agreement, perhaps, with another thought about science, and that is the dependence on all kinds of “soft” human qualities that make science impossible to define, except by rather ad hoc conventions which, in any case, are full of exceptions.
Some things in the Bible are probably unknowable from our current state of knowledge – and conceivably, our future state, too. This may seem hard to accept since the Scriptures are God’s revelation to us, but then nature is also God’s revelation, and the limits of our comprehension themselves remind us to be humble before God. We see through a glass, darkly, but tend to forget that in our pride.
The Renaissance humanists saw the human being as a microcosm, because the mind of man can reach out to encompass the farthest reaches of the universe, or the smallest particles of matter. It can even raise itself to contemplate the things of heaven, and God himself. The last shows why the microcosm view, which gives man such a central importance in the creation, is both a glorious truth and a misleading half-truth at the same time.