Category Archives: History
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.
Genesis 1:28 says: “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” I recently mentioned a book I’d read called Silent Fields, which documents how the wildlife of Britain has been systematically wiped out over the last five hundred years, leaving a number of species extinct, many more in an endangered state, and much of the rest depleted.
I left off last time by mentioning that the “time honoured status of natural selection,” which habitually appears as the basis of evolution’s incontrovertibility in discussions, is in fact a historical myth. It’s an easily documented one, too. My source in this piece is principally the Wikipedia entry on “The eclipse of Darwinism,” which nicely summarizes the authoritative history by Peter Bowler.
One of the objections to the Genealogical Adam hypothesis is the case of isolated tribes who, perhaps, have never interbred with descendants of Adam in any plausible historical time-frame.
Here’s a nice little news item along the lines of the story I referred to on wolves back in 2013, here. It shows one way the idea that we got from “fallen creation” teaching since the sixteenth century – that predators are a result of the fall and so are evil – has damaged our world. I explore this false, but near-universal, teaching of a fallen creation fully in my book, God’s Good Earth, which I’m pleased to say now looks like coming to publication at some stage not too far off.
I think my reply to the last critique made by Jay313 to my recent C S Lewis post warrants a longer treatment than an inline comment. So here it is as a post.
Last night Channel 4 aired the documentary on the genome sequencing and facial reconstruction of Cheddar Man, the 8,000BCE mesolithic skeleton discovered in Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge a century ago. It was interesting and well done, though of course the “Hey Presto” effect of unveiling the reconstruction was lost because his photo has been splashed over every newspaper and TV channel for the last fortnight.
Genesis chapters 1-11 continue to intrigue because, for all their “under-determination” of meaning for us moderns, and their mythic style, they keep resonating with details of the most ancient human history. And so, quite apart from any theological reasons, I can’t go along with those who regard them as ahistorical, nor have much sympathy with the idea that they are purely late, exilic, additions – they wear their great antiquity prominently.
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.