Monthly Archives: November 2012
Theistic evolution is potentially a very satisfying position for Christians interested in science. It’s sad, then, that it’s so very rare to find TE writers who don’t wander off down all kinds of theological byways – hence my love-hate relationship with BioLogos, which seems particularly fond of hacking through the doctrinal undergrowth. One has to go back to B B Warfield to find an authoritative figure with a good understanding of science and a biblically sound theological position – and he died nearly a century ago, being largely ignored today. As shown in other posts, I was pleasantly surprised by Robert J Russell’s position on divine action and many other … Continue reading
About half a dozen times on The Hump I’ve made passing mention of the Prometheus myth in relation to modernity. Maybe I should expand that, as it truly is a foundation myth in the sense that it is a simple and potent key to understanding much of what our modern world is all about. I stumbled across its scope when researching how the original Christian teaching about the goodness of creation came to be changed into the modern Christian assumption that the natural world is fallen and spoiled – but that’s a smaller and more specialised story which may yet come into print. Prometheus himself may be understood, with little … Continue reading
What with other commitments and the temperamental editing software at BioLogos, I’ve only posted there once recently, but at least I got a reply. My post was on Mike Beidler’s (so far) four-part article on his conversion from Young Earth Creationism to BioLogianism – a common pathway, or so it seems. Expanding a point of Eddie’s I suggested that the Socinian view of incarnation applied to the Bible by Peter Enns, Kenton Sparks and their like, with Scripture’s consequent susceptibility to historico-critical dismemberment, was inherently unstable and will inevitably lead to a re-run of nineteenth century liberalism. My respondent was Cliff Martin, whose main point was that recycling the liberal … Continue reading
When I’ve commented about divine action on this blog, I’ve usually been very careful to distinguish the pre- and non-human creation from the affairs of mankind. That’s because it’s usually been in the context of that chimaeric concept of “nature’s freedom”, and many TE’s are determined to confuse that with human free will. And even others, raised on the Promethean myth of human autonomy, are also keener to draw lines in the sand about human freedom that comment about what, if anything, “a creation free to create itself” means. But I’ve come across a biblical example of God’s role in human affairs that raises some interesting thoughts about the detectibility … Continue reading
Commenting on an Uncommon Descent thread about chance, I used the example of tossing 1000 heads in a row with a coin as being evidence, without any further information, of design. It was the old argument that strictly, even miracles are likely to be indistinguishable from chance except by their having a specific meaning and greater improbability. The division between miracle and chance, as I said there, is theologically somewhat of a false dichotomy, as is all talk of divine intervention. And that’s because classical theology attributes all actions in the Universe to God as first cause. You can’t intervene in what you’re already doing.
On a BioLogos blog I recently mentioned, in passing, the increasing resistance to the herbicide Roundup in association with GM maize in the US (public protest has, so far, effectively banned GM crops over here in the UK). A respondent criticised me on the grounds that maize has been under genetic modification by selective breeding for millennia. And that’s true, but exposes an important, maybe deadly, practical division between those who buy into the Neodarwinian synthesis and those who don’t.
Today they’ve officially announced that Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, is to become the new Archbishop of Canterbury. He’s an Evangelical, which is good, though that doesn’t necessarily make him a good Archbishop (or even, given the state of Western Evangelicalism, a good Evangelical). Nevertheless, the word on the street is that he’s potentially both a good leader, a good mediator and a truly committed Christian.
If there is a distinctive about the Evangelical tradition of Christianity, it is that Scripture is the highest source of authority for faith and practice. That, if you like, is the filter through which “Evangelical doctrine” has to pass, which is the simple reason Evangelicals don’t believe in papal infallibility or operating thetans. It’s always possible for any individual to hold any belief at all, but some beliefs just don’t sit easy with ones presuppositions and will prove hard to justify using them. A Marxist, for example, running a Capitalist economy is always going to appear rather ideologically compromised (though the Chinese are managing it in the short term). But … Continue reading
A bit of light relief after all that heavy stuff on creation. You’ll be aware how scientists of a naturalistic bent often claim that their naturalism follows on from the findings of science, rather than being merely a metaphysical or philosophical assumption grafted on to science. Many of them are deeply suspicious of both metaphysics and philosophy, almost as much as they are of theology. That may be for good reason, for if you read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Causal Determinism you’ll see that there is growing doubt amongst philosophers as to whether fixed laws of nature exist at all, and that those who maintain there are … Continue reading
At long last I’m in a position to look at the content of most science-faith discussion, that is the material Universe, in the context of what we’ve seen from the Bible about its purpose. That means especially, in terms of (a) the glory of God, (b) his eternal purpose in glorifying Christ through sacrificial suffering and (c) the central role of mankind. We can even say a little about creation in relation to the angelic realm, if I remember.