- The world as a global app. 24/03/2017
- Secularism, autonomy and the loss of self 21/03/2017
- How I became a societal misfit 18/03/2017
- The distinguishing marks of the impossible 15/03/2017
- Minor Theological Footnote to a Good Series on BioLogos from Snobelen and Davis 12/03/2017
Category Archives: Theology
Last month I wrote a post arguing against the neo-scholastic belief (often shared with less than clear understanding by Evolutionary Creationists) that God’s activity cannot on first principles be observed in the world, lest he be regarded as just another cause within the causal system of the cosmos. I argued that though the principle of God’s radical separateness from his Creation is sound, the conclusion that the Creation must be causally complete within itself is not. I argued from the Genesis creation account that established secondary causes are not, theologically, necessarily sufficient to explain all we see around us.
Carrying on the vaguely moral/ethical theme touched upon in the last post, I noticed another long and tedious thread on BioLogos about the New Atheist meme concerning the inexcusable immorality of the Bible in endorsing slavery and genocide. You can view all the old arguments there, but I want to take a slightly different approach.
Avid Hump readers (if there are any!) may have noticed in my piece on C S Lewis my passing mention of Lewis’s own philological error, or at least oversimplification, in his book The Four Loves.
I’ve been interested to see discussions from time to time about what it is that causes the Intelligent Design pioneer Michael Behe to be excluded from the “broad church” of theistic evolution by those within the “Guild”. It’s not just that he happens to be in a different denomination, but that he attracts regular opprobium, even scorn, for his ideas, and particularly for irreducible complexity.
Over at BioLogos, a vigorous discussion is going on under the column entitled “Signal and Noise”. Cornelius Hunter has returned to debate the soundness of evolutionary theory, and, predictably, he is being ganged up on by all the usual suspects.
Herbert McCabe, and other philosophers for whom I have a lot of respect overall, suggest from time to time that according to classical theology à la Thomas Aquinas we shouldn’t expect to see any signs of God’s handiwork in creation, even though it is all utterly dependent on him ontologically. This is because he creates secondary causes to be sufficient explanations in themselves – there are no gaps for God to fill. This argument is used by them and, derivatively, by Evolutionary Creationists to dismiss not only ID but all natural theology (and, strictly speaking, an active theology of nature too) on principle.
In the early days of Internet for the masses I wrote a website for my church at the time, including transcripts of sermon series. One day I discovered Google Translate, and thought what fun it would be to see my sermon on Job in French. The algorithm, bless its heart, translated “Job” as “métier” throughout. That’s irrelevant to this continuation of the series on the Bible’s treatment of Genesis 1, but a bit of humour helps get the Job done.
The first chapters of the Book of Proverbs include a paean to the supremacy of wisdom. I’ve already commented, in my recent piece on “the deep”, on the brief passage in Prov. 3:
Given the modern interpretations of “which cosmology Genesis 1 teaches” (which I’ve argued is “no cosmology at all”), it can be quite instructive to see how other writers of the Hebrew Bible interpret the creation story when they use it themselves.
Just one more piece on detailed linguistic objections to the “goldfish bowl” cosmology so frequently attributed to the Old Testament. I’ve still one or two more generalised arguments to come, so if you’re not interested you’d better go off to the bar! This one is about the idea that the Hebrews believed that there were windows in the solid raqia of the heavens which God habitually opened to let in the cosmic ocean as rain. I’ll restrict myself to the negative case against this, rather than the positive, but surprisingly controversial, case for rain actually coming from clouds because I’ve dealt with it before here .