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Bigger Than We Think

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April 23, 2013 Tags: Science & Worldviews
Bigger Than We Think

Today's entry was written by David Wilkinson. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

Today on the BioLogos Forum, we feature a contribution for Christianity Today by astrophysicist David Wilkinson. Wilkinson writes on how our understanding of the doctrine of Creation influences the way we think about the relationship between modern science and Christianity. As Wilkinson writes, “The Christian doctrine of Creation has often been hijacked by controversies over how old the universe is. It has been hollowed out by the theory that God simply ignites the universe and then goes off for a cup of coffee, never touching his masterwork again.”

Wilkinson identifies a number of themes found throughout the Bible that can help us understand the Creator God in a more complex and fulfilling way—as, in Wilkinson’s own words, “a Creator God who is worthy of worship, enjoyment, and trust.”

The full article can be found here.


David Wilkinson is Principal at St. John’s College and a part-time professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham College. His background is research in theoretical astrophysics with an emphasis on star formation, chemical evolution of galaxies and terrestrial mass extinctions. He later earned his PhD in Systematic Theology and Christian Eschatology from Cambridge University. His present work focuses on the relationship between science and contemporary culture. His books include Christian Eschatology and the Physical Universe, God, the Universe and Everything, and God, Time and Stephen Hawking.

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Eddie - #79017

April 24th 2013

The one statement in the Wilkinson article that I agree with is this: 

“It [the doctrine of creation] has been hollowed out by the theory that God simply ignites the universe and then goes off for a cup of coffee, never touching his masterwork again.”

Very true.  Yet what Wilkinson does not seem to grasp is that this is essentially the view of most of the leaders of theistic evolutionism, the very view that Wilkinson champions.  

To be sure, TEs allow that God interacts with nature long after the creation is complete, for revelatory purposes, as, e.g., in the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament.  But they strongly discourage their followers from thinking of God as performing special divine actions during the process of creation itself.  (Among the very few exceptions is Robert Russell.)

Indeed, Wilkinson does not perceive that his belittling references to “God of the gaps” in his article indicate that he himself believes that God performed no special actions in molecules-to-man evolution, but relied upon natural causes to get the job done by themselves.  God didn’t need to do anything after the Big Bang, because the universe was causally sufficient to produce galaxies, stars, planets, life and man by itself, with the powers God gave it.  In fact, God doesn’t even need to start off the Big Bang, if Hawking is right.  So God can in fact simply watch the spectacle, staring at the “quantum vacuum” and waiting for the universe, life and man, to emerge (emerge, not “be created”) out of it, sipping all the while on his coffee.  And that’s exactly the view that Wilkinson condemns in the quoted sentence.  He has not thought out the matter clearly.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #79034

April 24th 2013

First of all, good science is not the ultimate goal of life. We could know all the secrets of the physical universe and still be miserable selfish people. While knowledge is good and knowledge is helpful, knowledge is not the goal of life.

The problem with Deism is not that God begins the universe and then lets it go its own way. The problem is that it portrays God as uninvolved with humanity. Humanity is the real problem for human beings, not the physical universe. We can know all about the Higgs Boson, while mass murder is carried out in different parts of the world like today.

I have no problem with the idea that God rules the universe by God’s natural law. I do have a problem with the view that God does not communicate with people through prayer, that God does not love, or forgive, or save us from sin and death.

I have no problem with the idea that God works through the molecules and energy and processes that God created to create Humanity. I do have a problem with the view that the “real” God is not the One portrayed in the Bible, but one who cannot love, cannot think, cannot forgive, and cannot create because that god is the Simple One.

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