Category Archives: Science
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.
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
I’ve just finished Seth D Postell’s 2011 book, Adam as Israel: Genesis 1-3 as the Introduction to the Torah and Tanakh, which although perhaps a little scholarly (ie interactive with the “academic literature”) for the average reader is a great eye opener in considering the whole question of understanding the first chapters of Genesis.
I’ve commented more than once on how the accusation “You don’t understand evolution” gets slapped on practically everybody, from Fundamentalists to senior evolutionary biologists. If you already know your ignorance you’ll be used to hearing it should you ask the wrong questions at places like BioLogos (I’ve had it thrown at me there twice this week already, though I’ve studied it a bit over the last 50 years or so). Even if you’re highly trained, though, you are not immune (as my piece linked above demonstrates). In both cases, the ultimate reason is probably the same.
I’m pleased to hear that the Nobel Prize for Literature this year has gone to Kazuo Ishiguro. The Nobel Press Release said: “The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017 is awarded to the English author Kazuo Ishiguro, ‘who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world’”. That description may surprise some unfamiliar with him, when they see the name, but his “Englishness” was stressed with pleasure by an erudite interviewer on the BBC.
Recent internet postings here, here and here make public a disagreement between the movers and shakers at BioLogos and Joshua Swamidass, who of course has posted here and shares our desire to see a genuine rapprochement between historic (particularly Evangelical) Christianity and science. I share his pain in finding his attempt at Peaceful Science being dragged into the culture wars. I regard him as colleague-in-arms on origins and as a brother. I even agree with him sometimes!
My attention has recently been drawn to the work of Olivier Rieppel, a distinguished palaeontologist based at the Field Museum in Chicago, whose writings appear to show a mixture of scientific rigour with the historical and philosophical awareness so rare in scientific writing now. In other words he has the wit and courage to question received wisdom and go where the evidence leads, and moreover to know why he has done so. His latest book is on turtle evolution, provocatively entitled Turtles as Hopeful Monsters, which intrigues me a great deal, but finding its price is above my current budget at Amazon, I browsed some of his other books there … Continue reading