Category Archives: History

Firmaments, cosmic oceans and Church Fathers #1

I thought I’d about wrapped up writing on ANE “cosmology” for now, with a three part series on Wayne Horowitz’s magnum opus in the can. But I got into e-mail conversation with Eddie about a remark I’d made in reply to a BioLogos comment. The comment had suggested that accommodation of the Genesis creation story to everyday knowledge only became necessary with the insights gained through modern science. I had replied that the Church Fathers, mainly raised in a Greek Ptolemaic kind of worldview with a round earth surrounded by crystal spheres, would have maybe had to do plenty of work to harmonize that and Scripture. My discussion with Eddie … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, History, Science, Theology | 4 Comments

Ancient Cosmic Geography – the actual modern view #2

Last time I described how Wayne Horowitz’s authoritative book on Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography has no room for the infinite abyss of waters so often claimed to lie above and below the world in “the ANE cosmology”. He stresses this in another passage: In Enuma Elish, KAR 307 and AO 8196, the highest level of heaven belongs to Anu. Elsewhere, this heaven is identified as the “Heaven of Anu” (šamȗ ša danim; šamȗ danim). Additional evidence that the Heaven of Anu is the highest heaven is found in The Gilgamesh Epic and The Erra Epic, In Gilg. XI 113-14, gods ascend to the Heaven of Anu in order to escape the … Continue reading

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Ancient Cosmic Geography – the actual modern view #1

I’ve been having a long, but mainly cordial, discussion on BioLogos on the old questions about whether Genesis 1 is really, as Peter Enns and, earlier, Paul H Seely maintain, teaching “old science” that is erroneous. Regular readers will know there are too many posts about that on The Hump to list easily. Why it even matters is well-expressed in a long article by Vern Poythress, to which I would add that, simply in principle, true interpretations lead to truer applications for life and so justify themselves. Poythress also has a couple of more detailed articles on specific issues here and here. Good stuff.

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(Testable) hypotheses about a historical Eden

Carrying on the theme of biblical archaeology, Kenneth Kitchen’s book On the Reliability of the Old Testament takes a general overview of the “proto-historic” first 11 chapters of Genesis, but there have been some interesting developments since he wrote it that are worth considering, with regard both to the Flood and to the Eden narrative.

Posted in Adam, History, Science, Theology | 1 Comment

Sodom and aetiological tales

I like to keep tabs on Biblical archaeology from time to time, not only because I wanted to be an archaeologist till my Auntie Dorothy put me off by saying they spend all day down a hole, but because it’s fun to see 19th century mythology about the Bible writers slowly being eroded by a steady trickle of confirmatory evidence (by which you can tell that I’m not sympathetic to the archaeological “minimalists” of the last couple of decades).

Posted in History, Science, Theology | 4 Comments

Science and faith – as easy as riding an epicycle

Engaging with a Young Earth Creationist at BioLogos recently, Chris Falter raised the examples of Calvin, Luther and other Reformers opposing Copernican cosmology on the basis of biblical literalism. His aim was to show that this is a dangerous pursuit, and likely to pit theology unnecessarily against science, since nobody now thinks that modern astronomy contradicts the intent of Scripture.

Posted in Creation, History, Science, Theology | 22 Comments

How pseudoscience helped build the modern world

Spending a sweltering summer bank-holiday Monday on an overcrowded Lyme Regis beach with my grand-daughter and her mother last week was a duty rather than a joy. The book on Lyme I’d brought along to read between building sandcastles and queuing for fish and chips told me that the town’s resident population of 3,000 expands to 15,000 on a hot summer’s day, and I could well believe it as they had all apparently encamped on the same small area of sand as us.

Posted in History, Politics and sociology, Science | 6 Comments

Methodological theology, naturally

There’s an interesting new series of YouTube videos (of which I confess to having heard only two so far) of a conference discussing alternatives to methodological naturalism. The organiser is, of course, an ID group – which is hardly surprising, as according to most mainstream scientists MN is just fine and dandy. What you don’t doubt, you don’t examine that carefully. But as I’ve been suggesting here and here there is at least an argument for its being a hindrance not only to the consideration of God’s role in nature, but also to some aspects of understanding nature itself.

Posted in Creation, History, Philosophy, Science, Theology | 35 Comments

Science as she is spoke

Well, I see The Hump of the Camel has had another thread of its very own on BioLogos, courtesy of Joshua Swamidass. The effect is spoiled a bit by the fact that it’s mainly our own contributors here who have posted there. Perhaps Potiphar should organise a kind of roadshow in which we all turn up on blogs around the world and have private conversations, to their great surprise. That would certainly increase our profile!

Posted in History, Politics and sociology, Science | 4 Comments

God’s Good Earth – Chapter 6: Tracking the Fall of Creation

Here is a link to chapter 6 of my book.

Posted in Creation, History, Philosophy, Prometheus, Theology | 6 Comments