Author Archives: Jon Garvey

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.

I nearly meet a fossil

You know that thing where you can claim to have all-but met someone because you met someone who has? In that way, I’ve met the Queen because my brother shook hands with her royal glove. Well, yesterday the wife and I met, in this indirect way, the celebrated David Attenborough – whose programmes I first watched back in in 1959 – via the intermediary of a new fossil Jurassic ichthyosaur, on which he has just had a documentary broadcast.

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | Leave a comment

Function ≠ evolutionary explanation

On two occasions in the last week, BBC radio scientific programmes have claimed to offer “evolutionary explanations” for observed human phenomena, though admittedly one might (memory is hazy) have been a food programme interviewing a scientist.

Posted in Politics and sociology, Science | 5 Comments

The handwriting of offences

Scholar Michael Heiser has made it his business, in books, blogs and YouTube clips, to rehabilitate the supernatural beings who are, in fact, prominent in both Scriptural Testaments, but who are usually airbrushed out by that wonderful ability we have for selective inattention to what the Bible actually says.

Posted in Adam, Creation, Theology | 14 Comments

Reality, illusion and purpose

In my last post, on occasionalism, I alluded to the recent suggestion that the universe is a “simulation” in the context of the defensiveness people feel over the importance of the secondary causes in our world being “real”: The more powerful objection against occasionalism, it seems to me, is the vague idea that if, in the end, there is no solid basis to physical reality, then God is making us live in a world of illusion. Hence the feelings resonating around the recent suggestion that the universe is a “simulation” in which we are living. Given the demonstrable differences between the classical world we perceive, and the mysterious nature of … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Theology | 1 Comment

Rising to the occasion

Early last year I did a couple of pieces (the most useful here) on a new formulation of the metaphysical position on divine action of occasionalism, called “divine compositionalism”, being developed primarily within the field of science. I liked it.

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Science, Theology | 6 Comments

Etymology and truth

Did you know that the etymology of “etymology” is the Greek etumon = “true”? That’s ironic because one of the basic Exegetical Fallacies Don Carson highlights to preachers in his excellent book of that name is the etymological fallacy. Etymologies often deceive because words, in fact, constantly change their meaning, as I began to discuss in relation to their inherent metaphoric nature here.

Posted in Science, Theology | Leave a comment

Christmas Gifts

One of the less obvious blessings from which we benefit not only here at the Hump of the Camel, but more widely, is that creation is seriously on the theological agenda at all. Wherever we stand on origins, it’s hard to remember that for much of the twentieth century, creation doctrine was sidelined in most branches of the Church.

Posted in Creation, Theology | 2 Comments

Command, relationship and freedom

Someone has lent me Creation by Claus Westermann, a name familiar to me from my days of biblical studies in the psalms. In some ways it’s a bit disappointing, dating from 1971 and therefore, hailing from Germany, rather too assured of the “assured” results of the documentary hypothesis and history of religions theory. He actually uses that adjective “assured” – I’ve been looking for some source that didn’t use it merely ironically for years!

Posted in Adam, Creation, Theology | Leave a comment

Separating Genesis 1 and 2

At the beginning of last month I did a brief series exploring how, expanding an existing modern account of biblical theology, there is really no conflict with the general outline of human history uncovered by the sciences. I particularly suggested how the writer of Genesis might have fully intended 1:1-2:4 to speak of creation, and Genesis 2:5ff to move the subject on to a new initiative of God towards man.

Posted in Adam, Theology | 6 Comments

Science’s mediaeval assumption

One interesting aspect of Dante’s Divine Comedy (around which to reading I’ve finally got…) is to see the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas being applied just a few decades after his death, when it was still new and controversial. Thomas actually makes an appearance in heaven, but spends the majority of his speech eulogising St Francis of Assisi, which is not improbable given the priority he put on faith over philosophyat the close of his life. One thing that Dante deals with is the Great Chain of Being, a key mediaeval idea which I wrote about here.

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Science, Theology | 3 Comments