- Model soldiers 24/11/2017
- Why randomness and free-will are not comparable 21/11/2017
- Dennis Venema on God and Intelligent Design 19/11/2017
- Genealogical Adam and Reformed theology 17/11/2017
- Allegations of Sneaky Machinations at BioLogos and Discovery: Overreaction on Both Sides 15/11/2017
Author Archives: Jon Garvey
There’s something of a clash of the titans going on over at BioLogos, where Dennis Venema is defending his claim in the book Adam and the Genome that science makes belief in a single original human couple untenable. In the blue corner is Richard Buggs, of Kew Gardens and Queen Mary College, London and, ruining the boxing metaphor somewhat, Steve Schaffner (“Glipsnort”) is doing expert computer simulations on the side within his sphere of undoubted expertise.
For some reason, Bilbo started a thread on BioLogos directed at me, in which (as far as I can tell) he argues basically, “If God can create free wills that make decisons without reference to him, why could he not create random processes that similarly cause things without reference to him?” Many cans of worms open because of that, which you can read about on that thread. Here I just want to deal in more depth than is possible there on the question of whether the comparison between free-will and randomness is actually a valid one. I suspect it isn’t, except at the most superficial level.
It’s my impression (which admittedly may be mistaken) that the Reformed churches in America, at least, find it hard to avoid agnosticism on matters of creation and origins. Or when they don’t, they find it theologically necessary to cut across what they see as the current opinions of science, leading to a degree of cognitive dissonance. They’re not unique in that, of course – some Evangelical theology nowadays seem to be based on cognitive dissonance as a virtue.
… or how streptomycin proves, or disproves, God I’m still interested in showing how God appears to be hidden in the workings of the world more because the prevailing materialist worldview is blind to him than because he is intrinsically invisible. There was a long (and ongoing) discussion on BioLogos recently based on a case-study I gave of a healing in response to prayer. I could have perhaps sorted the materialists (believing as well as unbelieving) from the atheists better by choosing a less “religious” example, such as the kind of phenomena pretty familiar in everyday life, but absolutely verboten in serious discourse, such as premonitions, knowledge of being watched … Continue reading
Since I considered “heaven and earth” in the recent series, in relation to the deliberate parallels between the Genesis 1 “cosmic temple” and Israel’s tabernacle and temple, it’s interesting to muse on how the ancient Hebrews thought about “heaven”.
This is by way of being an appendix to the main conclusions I’ve drawn in previous posts about the possible implications for human origins of seeing Adam, in the context of Genesis, as proto-Israel, yet also as a real and historical (not fictional) archetype. I’ve suggested that we should distinguish the whole race of mankind, created in Genesis 1, from Adam as one member of that race, chosen to become the forerunner of a new kind of relationship with God as Yahweh, analogous to the calling from the generality of humanity of Abraham, or of Israel the nation, or of those born again into Christ. But someone may ask if … Continue reading
At this point in the series, let’s move on to consider the world outside Eden, and perhaps before Eden, by summarising what I’ve already concluded from adopting the “compositional strategy” of the Pentateuch or Torah proposed by John Sailhamer, and applied to the beginning of Genesis by Seth Postell. I put this overview in list form in the previous post, so please refresh your memory there if you need to.
In the last post I tried to show the overall thematic “plot” inherent in the Pentateuch or Torah, which John Sailhamer calls its “compositional strategy”. This makes the foundation-document of Israel a narrative of linked themes, which I will list below the fold.
Around thirty five years ago I noticed something very significant in the book of Deuteronomy (during an uninspiring church Bible study, as it happens), which I’d never heard of before and have seldom come across from others since. It’s in ch.5, in which Moses, addressing Israel on the border of the promised land after their wilderness wanderings, restates the Ten Commandments of the Sinai covenant, and says: Hear, Israel, the decrees and the laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this … Continue reading
I want today to take another tilt at the question just how theory-laden our view of the world is, following a frustrating conversation with an atheist at BioLogos (whose posts were “liked” by a good number of non-atheists there). He just couldn’t see why his naturalist view of a “Nature” containing only the “material” governed by “laws” and “chance” (metaphysical concepts all) is not simply self-evident truth, into which one might somehow be able to fit a God if there were enough evidence. The “evidence”, of course, would have to be investigated using the methodological naturalism that excludes God a priori, and in the extraordinarily unlikely situation that it jumped … Continue reading