- Anything by any other name is… nothing at all 12/08/2020
- UK COVID stats and policy 09/08/2020
- Music – more supernatural than mathematical 07/08/2020
- Lived experience and the liquidation of the kulaks 04/08/2020
- Cancelling Malthus 31/07/2020
Category Archives: Theology of nature
Using an electronic copy kindly sent my new Hump commenter MartinV, I’ve been looking at a recent book by John Schneider, The Darwinian Problem of Evil (it’s not released in UK until the end of the month). I won’t do a review, but from the comprehensive Introduction I found it to be a summary of the kind of theodical problems and novel theological solutions against which I reacted at BioLogos several years ago. Although the new book postdates my own God’s Good Earth, I’d see mine as a response to his, rather than the reverse (and indeed, Schneider does not interact with my work).
Well, I guess that a large proportion of my readers around the world will be locked in against the Coronavirus pandemic, in one way or another. A friend in Sri Lanka is facing enforced curfews, and there are massive queues for food when they are lifted, which rather defeats the object.
One of the theological problems I had with an old earth a decade ago is less commonly remarked than some others: if mankind was created to rule and subdue the earth, as Genesis 1 teaches, how did it manage without him for over four billion years?
In Britain, at least, a common position of many ordinary Evangelical Christians (until they start reading American books, anyway!) is, “I don’t see why God couldn’t have created through evolution.” The rub is that they usually have little idea of what evolutionary theory says: what they mean is that species might well change over long periods of times, under the creative direction of God, as an alternative to each being created de novo.
Creation “groaning” for 13bn years? My retrospective review of this aspect of the last ten years of my research is timely, it seems. For reviewing Joshua Swamidass’s Genealogical Adam and Eve YECs Robert Carter and John Sanford mention Josh’s citing of my book God’s Good Earth, in relation to the subject of death before the Fall.
It was what I fielded about the biblical acceptability of an old earth view that got me “censored” in the original series of articles for a Christian magazine in 2008 (see previous column) that put me on to the science-faith trail.
I thought it would be worth spending a few posts looking back on what has turned out to be a fruitful “research programme” on scientific and biblical origins over the last ten years for me, to see what problems have been resolved, and which, if any, remain unanswered.
Here’s an interesting podcast by Intelligent Design proponent Paul Nelson, a philosopher of science, whom I’ve got to know a little both through Peaceful Science and via a mutual friend.
Three times in the last week, I’ve encountered YEC objections to old-earth thinking in general, and Genealogical Adam and Eve in particular, that stress the theological importance of the direct relationship between sin and death. One of these was in one of the few negative comments on Josh Swamidass’s YouTube interview (a good watch), one was from a scholar into whose correspondence I was copied, and one was from another Christian academic in a video on another topic.
Well, the indexes of The Generations of Heaven and Earth have now gone off to the publishers, which is my last literary input before the book comes out.