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One of the things that fed the philosophical turmoil I referred to here over the centuries was the same conundrum that binds the prevalent materialist worldview, and so influences ours, now.
This is a guest post by J. Richard Middleton, in response to issues raised by Jon Garvey in a post called Middleton on the empty temple. A native of Jamaica, Richard is currently Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary, in Rochester, NY, USA. Trained in both philosophy and Old Testament studies, his writing and research have focused on the biblical worldview, creation theology, Hebrew narratives, lament literature, and eschatology. His most recent book A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology will be published by Baker Academic in November. I’m delighted to respond Jon’s post, which reflects on a previous post of mine where I … Continue reading
Since we’ve been talking about worldviews, let me refresh a theme I’ve covered a little before, and that is how difficult it is for us moderns – whether Christians or not – to escape from our materialist worldview at its broadest. By this I don’t mean the idea that the material is all that exists (snare though that is), but the fact that, for all of us civilized folks, material explanations for things remain the default “reality.”
The news that “creationism” has been banned in science lessons in British Academy Schools by HM Government almost passed our national press by, whereas there are a multitude of Google hits from the US. In fact, on the main “secondary” source, a UK site, nearly all the comments are from US culture warriors of one persuasion or another. My conclusion from this is that (a) Americans are too obsessed with it and (b) the British are too complacent.
How do you catch a lion with your bare hands? Catch two and let one escape.
More by chance than intention I’ve been examining some classical philosophical ideas in the last few posts, and how they unconsciously shape science generally, but also in particular Christian approaches to creation. I first looked at Aristotelian categories of causation here, here and here,and showed how modern science’s refusal to acknowledge anything but efficient and material causation hampers its own work (formal causation being necessary to understanding information and form, and final causation being smuggled in by the back door anyway). But I also showed how we modern Christians, by taking a similarly restricted view of causation, can make a proper understanding of God’s work in creation impossible.
Go to the Ant – Ghillean Prance Here’s a review of a book of meditations on scriptural passages related to nature, published by the Iona Community. I’m not really one for books of meditations (with the notable exception of the work of Thomas Traherne), but I got this one because it’s by a near neighbour, Prof Sir Ghillean Prance, FRS. Ghillean has an astonishing CV – amongst many things botanist, Amazon explorer, Fellow of the Royal Society, former director of Kew Gardens, scientific director of the Eden Project, vice-president of Nature in Art Trust and a trustee and former chairman of Peter Harris’s A Rocha. Peter is astonished how he packs … Continue reading
It’s easy to forget that the Christian teaching on Christ’s incarnation is closely, and mysteriously, related to the doctrine of creation: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. All of us at the Camel’s Eyrie wish you all a wonderful holiday and a prosperous New Year Jon, Sy, Penman and Merv … Continue reading
As you can see, The Hump of the Camel has undergone a cosmetic makeover. But the changes are far more than visual, because today The Hump becomes a co-operative venture, with several authors and a specific focus. The camel has become a caravan. To read about the purpose, see What we are, and to read about our writers see Who we are. New members will soon be joining the team as other commitments allow. We’re all rather excited about it, and we hope you are too, and that you’ll want to join the discussion.
At the heart of the concept of Intelligent Design, though surprisingly often obscured in the discussion, is the issue of probabilities. William Dembski’s work, for example, seeks to show that the probabilities of, say, self replicating molecules arising by known natural processes are too low to be practically feasible. In contrast, he argues, a process that is intelligently planned is, by its nature, improbable (like the contents of this post), and so is a good candidate explanation for complex, organised, entities. I don’t think that would be controversial if it didn’t lead to theological conclusions.