Monthly Archives: May 2014

Terms and conditions apply

Time to move away from free-will, I think. I’d like to take a look at the appropriateness, or otherwise, of the term Evolutionary Creation. Not that I would expect, or want, to achieve any change of usage. Short descriptive terms are always of ambiguous value, as Eddie Robinson pointed out in his comments on “classical theism” here a week or two ago, but we couldn’t really do without them. My historian cousin was saying just that last week when we were discussing the shortcomings of the term “Renaissance”. Still, it’s good to question exactly what such labels imply, because that sometimes reveals deeper assumptions or blind-spots in the coining of … Continue reading

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Determinism isn’t dreary (whatever else it may be)

Having done a piece recently on free-will, referring back to the work of one of America’s greatest philosophers, Jonathan Edwards, I see that V J Torley has done a new column on the same theme. His interest is more the denial of the will in materialism than the theological debate, but I want to pick up on one of his intial points for my own purpose:

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Faking history for the better teaching of – history

Further to the discussion about the distortion of history in the new Cosmos series (now, I gather, nearing the end of its run in the US), there has been a new discussion on a historian’s blog suggesting the possibility that the deliberate misrepresentation might possibly be justified for “greater truth”. The link to this came from a piece on Evolution News and Views, which rightly points out the tricky ethical waters this discussion is navigating.

Posted in History, Politics and sociology, Science, Theology | 2 Comments

Music in the natural world

Our dawn chorus, though usually initiated by a resident cock pheasant, Philip, squawking for food, has been dominated recently by a blackbird, probably brain-damaged. The blackbird is one of Britain’s most inventively melodic birds (check out this YouTube clip). But this one has become obsessed with a simple diatonic motif, in Bb, which it will usually repeat back-to back before breaking up into half-hearted warbles. Here is my transcription:

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Roots and branches of openness theology

A week or two ago I finally got down to reading Jonathan Edwards’ Freedom of the Will, of 1754, which I downloaded a while ago when the discussion on the blog drifted from “nature’s autonomy” to “free will”. These discussions have a tendency to do that, and Edwards seems to confirm my previous view that this is almost inevitable, given the theological roots of both.

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Francis Bacon, Owen Barfield, Ian Dury, ID

It’s just astonishing how things fortuitously/providentially connect together. PNGarrison has kindly sent me a chapter of a difficult (oh dear…) book by Owen Barfield, which he has painstakingly transcribed for me. Thanks Preston. Barfield was C S Lewis’s great mentor – which has to be a recommendation – and the book, Saving the Appearances, is about the development of the way humans have viewed the world across history. The Amazon reviews tend in general to say, “This book has changed my life: I don’t understand much of it, but I keep coming back to it.” Having read one chapter, I see what they mean. It’s on my Amazon wishlist, and I’ll … Continue reading

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Jaki – Science and Creation

One of the books often cited with approbium on the Christian roots of science is Fr Stanley Jaki’s Science and Creation. It’s one of the best early (1986) attempts to reverse the Victorian myth that science and religion are incompatible, by showing, to the contrary, how only the Judaeo-Christian concept of creation really made science as we know it possible.

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Chickens, eggs, concurrentism and Job

One of the strands running through some of these posts is that if we want to understand God’s ways in creation (and therefore scientific questions like evolution), we must also understand how he acts now. I’m speaking here as to Christians, who accept Scripture’s inspiration and authority, but who sometimes say these questions of God’s governance in the world are moot. The same (they say) is therefore true of God’s involvement in natural processes and the vexed question of natural evil. There seems to be a feeling that the kind of philosophical-theological views proposed in such concepts as concurrentism are imposed upon the biblical text. But I’m going to argue … Continue reading

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Observing how new orthodoxies arise

Preston Garrison has drawn my attention to a piece by “RJS” on The Jesus Creed, about a christological view of creation. It’s very familiar to me as exactly the same scheme to which I reacted in my series both on divine kenosis and my own seven part series on Christological creation. 

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