- At last! An end to not-understanding-evolution misery! 20/10/2017
- If the Universe is flat, is it round? 16/10/2017
- The biblical doctrine of natural evil… not 13/10/2017
- Martin Luther King on mankind 12/10/2017
- On being English 10/10/2017
Category Archives: Prometheus
In this essay, I argue that our orientation should be a more important focus than the precise locations of boundary lines with regard to where our eternal hope resides. And since boundaries come up at all for discussion, it should go nearly without saying, that I’ll have my philosophical and theological hat on as I examine a landscape that subsumes science (its modern form) as one of the included territories. My route meanders a bit to include discussion of the contrast between the materialist agenda and the Christian one.
Here is a link to chapter 6 of my book.
In the last post I referenced C S Lewis’s essay on the modern Myth of “Evolutionism” (as distinct from the scientific theory of evolution, just to remind you…), of which one major, and undoubtedly correct, point is that the ideological motivation to believe in evolution as an overarching principle precedes Darwin’s biological theory by several decades. But Lewis doesn’t attempt to explain fully why it should have developed in the first place. Here’s my attempt to do so.
Let me present three apparently disparate themes and then show that, together, they give some useful theological insights.
I’m reproducing here a longish post I’ve just done over at Biologos (#82822), only because posts there are ditched after 6 months and I’d like to preserve it. Ted Davis posted a link to an excellent article by Dennis Danielson, on the prevalent myth that the old “geocentrism” implied anthropocentrism. But it also answered a question to me by PNG about sources for TOF’s claim in his blog series on heliocentrism that Renaissance folks preferred the new views because they elevated man to the celestial realm. My post follows:
The Reformation, and the upheavals associated with it, were paradoxically both a reaction against, and dependent upon, the humanists’ new view of “freedom”. The piety of northern Europe could not accept the anthropocentricity of the ideas that swept the south, even infiltrating the Papacy. So Luther’s protests, and those of Calvin, Zwingli and the rest, were largely fired by a desire to return to the humble God-centred faith of the Bible. Yet it was only the humanist scholarship of people like Erasmus that made the original Bible text available to them, and both Luther and, even more, Calvin were educated in humanist methodology. Equally, support (especially political support) for Protestantism … Continue reading
I showed in #2 that the Bible’s approach to free-will is based on the commonsense reality of our daily experience, with its positive teaching aimed at showing how that experience should be modified by God’s revelation. Any resulting paradox it leaves unresolved, calling only for humility before God’s truth (eg Romans 9.19-21). Any resolution of such issues requires theologising which is, at least in part, philosophical. Indeed, the need to resolve them usually arises from philosophical speculation.
In the last post I suggested that “laws of nature” are better understood as the properties of the natures of entities themselves, as in Aristotelian metaphysics. Seen in this light, the concept of “freedom” in nature makes little sense, since there are no “external” laws either maintaining order or restricting freedom. Rather, everything in nature is simply created to act according to its God-ordained nature. It would be no violation of the natural order by God either to create some new type of nature in the world directly, or to act on existing forms according to their existing natures. On the other hand neither would it be a problem for … Continue reading
Michael Ruse, in his book Debating Design, quotes (as have many others) a letter from Charles Darwin to Asa Gray about why he cannot see the hand of a good creator in nature. The interesting thing is how he presents his argument. I’ll summarise it.
In my last post I alluded to the hardening in the attitude of American Fundamentalists towards evolution after the Great War. And I mentioned that some of the authors of the Fundamentals had previously been sympathetic to evolution. Here’s a quote I turned up from one of them, G F Wright: