Monthly Archives: September 2014

Metaphysical heavy lifting

I’ve now finished William Dembski’s Being as Communion and I have to say it’s probably had the most significant influence on my thinking of any book I’ve read in the last year or more, not excluding Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge, which incidentally he cites with understanding, as he does a wealth of other sources we’ve used on The Hump, from Ed Feser to Owen Barfield. Whether the world will agree with my positive assessment of the book is less certain – Polanyi didn’t have to cope with being stigmatized as a Fundie Creationist in a culture war. I think that materialist metaphysics is so deeply embedded in our psyche that Dembski will faze even … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science, Theology | 1 Comment

Chance, necessity and information

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life as a cruise

Way back in 1968, for reasons I couldn’t fathom even then, I found myself as a Lower Sixth form student on a school cruise somewhere in the Mediterranean, being asked to join a “Brains Trust” panel to entertain the other students. Mercifully I remember little about it, apart from its being chaired by a well-known journalist from the Daily Mirror (we didn’t take the Mirror so I’d never heard of her). The most memorable thing was that she took us panel-members for an illicit alcoholic beverage in the ship’s lounge, strictly off limits to the broad masses of students, afterwards. It was my first and last experience of academic privilege.

Posted in Creation, Science, Theology | Leave a comment

The changing face of God and creation

There’s an apocryphal story about the days before 1857 (when the law was reformed) when a divorce in Britain could only be obtained by a private Act of Parliament – clearly only possible for the rich and powerful. The tale goes that when a lengthy, tedious and ill-attended bill about the Corporation of Liverpool (some say Birmingham) was presented, the town clerk managed to slip into one interminable clause the words, “and hereby the town clerk N. is granted a divorce.”

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Science, Theology | Leave a comment

Chain of being – still binding us?

After I posted my piece on the Great Chain of Being I was informed that the definitive treatment of that theme is the 1936 book (of the same name) by Arthur Lovejoy, So I thought I ought to check out how far I’d erred in my ad hoc treatment of it.

Posted in Philosophy, Science, Theology | 4 Comments

Middleton’s Further Thoughts on the Empty Temple

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Design with a Designer but without a definition

The third part of Robert Bishop’s critique of Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt on BioLogos begins: All Christians agree that the universe is designed; otherwise, we would not be able to say that this is God’s creation. Where we may differ is on the nature of that design and the how as well as on expectations for detectability of design.

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Science | 2 Comments

Milgram revisited

My attention was drawn to this news item. It stirs memories from nearly as long ago as the 1961 experiment itself, of my time studying social psychology in 1973. Milgram’s experiment was one of those most often cited on my Cambridge course, but not for the reasons given most prominence in the item.

Posted in Politics and sociology, Science | 1 Comment

Middleton on the empty temple

Those helpful chaps at alerted me recently to an interesting piece by J Richard Middleton. Richard has commented here, and is one of the scholars doing good work on the science-faith interface. He’s written a book, Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (which unfortunately is still on my “to-read” list) on the image of God, and this new article updates and extends that thesis.

Posted in Creation, Theology | 11 Comments

Fully gifted conservation

At a couple of separate points in the BioLogos discussion to which Eddie Robinson’s recent piece refers, the question of creation and its sustaining arises. Argon in a comment refers to a well-worn TE phrase (which I seem to have neglected in favour of other equivalent terms on The Hump before), ie “fully-gifted creation,” meaning that God at the point of creation endowed it with all it needs to manage its own affairs and, specifically, evolution. I, for my part, drew attention to Deborah Haarsma’s repetition of the rather constricted language regarding God’s “sustaining” of creation used by Darrel Falk in 2012. Like him, she appeared, at least, to limit … Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Theology | 2 Comments