From the Dust: Expanding the Paradigm
This week we feature the next clip from the documentary “From the Dust”, directed by filmmaker Ryan Pettey. It is our sincere hope that, above all else, the film can become a focal point for some of the big questions that inevitably arise at the intersection of science and faith.
To help foster such dialogue, we are once again including several discussion questions with this week’s clip. In the transcript below, you’ll find several prompts that are meant to help viewers dig deeper into the material being presented. Mouse over each highlighted region and a question will appear on the side. We encourage you to watch this video with your friends, your churches, your small groups and Sunday School classes, your pastors -- or anyone else for that matter – and take some time to discuss what is being said (and maybe even what isn’t). You may not all agree, but you will find yourselves engaged in fruitful and spirited conversation. And it is this kind of conversation that will help move the science and faith discussion forward.
"Expanding the Paradigm" Transcript
Dr. Alister McGrath: “I think that one of the questions that arises when thinking about faith and science is whether theology is being forcibly changed simply to accommodate to scientific development. As I look at the long history of Biblical interpretation, I see Christian theologians wrestling with scripture, wanting to make sense of it—sometimes going off in this direction, sometimes in that, but always correcting themselves when they realize, ‘We have gone wrong.’ It is not about forcible revision. Sometimes we have gone wrong, and we need to reexamine questions. Maybe the way we always thought things were isn’t quite right. That is why challenges to our way of thinking actually are to be welcomed. They force us to rethink.”
Reverend Dr. Michael Lloyd: “Changing a worldview or indeed expanding it significantly is quite a painful process. It seems to put a question mark against everything we have previously thought, believed, acted on, felt, and found to be important. Particularly this is true, obviously, of our concept of God.”
Michael Ramsden: “This is difficult for anyone who holds any kind of belief, regardless of its nature, to be willing to be challenged on it. We normally become very defensive. Now, it is inevitable that the paradigm you bring is going to affect how you begin to interpret and arrange certain things. But then, the question that has to come for any person who wants to try to think clearly is the reality of what I am observing and studying has to be able to challenge my paradigm. Either I am going to make everything fit into this paradigm of mine, or I am going to allow the reality of this to inform the way I think about something.”
Reverend Dr. John Polkinghorne: “You have to commit yourself to what you believe to be a point of view, but you have to also recognize that you may be mistaken in that point of view—and you have to be open to correction. And people who are seeking to serve the God of truth should welcome truth in whatever sort it comes.”
Reverend Dr. Michael Lloyd: “I don’t think change is about necessarily being better or worse; it is about being appropriate to the situation. Love in the presence of pain takes the form of compassion. Love in the presence of injustice takes the form of anger. Love in the presence of love takes the form of delight. There isn’t a change there…it is all love; it is all consistent, but it takes a different form.”
Reverend Dr. Lincoln Harvey: “God is lively. God is undomesticated. There is wildness to God, and that is unsettling because that says, ‘I am not finished.’”
Reverend Dr. Michael Lloyd: “Every concept of God is inadequate. Every view of God is too small. Every theology is idolatrous, in one sense—that it is an inadequate presentation of who God is—and therefore, periodically, you have to get a bigger one.”
Reverend Dr. David Wenham: “New generations raise new questions which may actually help our understanding to increase. If thinking about modern science is helping us to actually understand the Bible better, I think that is a real possibility and I suspect that is a real gain—and I don’t think that is us giving way to culture, I think that is us understanding what God has given us in God’s revelation better.”
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
Ryan Pettey is a filmmaker and the director/editor of Satellite Pictures. He produced the feature length video From the Dust, which examines the question of human physical origins from a theological, historical and social perspective.