From the Dust: Expanding the Paradigm
Note: In honor of the digital debut of From the Dust on the iTunes store, today we're reposting another clip from the film, titled "Expanding the Paradigm", as well as a letter from the movie's director, Ryan Pettey. You can purchase (or rent) the movie today on iTunes, or if you prefer, a physical copy through Amazon or Highway Media.
My name is Ryan Pettey, and I am a documentary filmmaker who has been amazingly blessed to work on a feature-length documentary over the last year and a half called From the Dust.
With From the Dust, we wanted to put something proactive on the table that could help motivate an elevated conversation about the “war” between science and faith. It was our goal to help Christians see (and accept) the complexity of the issues raised by modern science, as well as help them to courageously engage with the theological conversations happening within the sphere of Christian culture today. We wanted the film to address the topic hermeneutically, historically, and socially in order to gain a better perspective on the issues, and, hopefully, address some of the fears (justified or otherwise) concerning what science is telling us about our physical origins.
Personally, this project has been a spiritual shot in the arm and has whole-heartedly reignited my walk with God. I have been truly humbled by my opportunity to speak with so many incredible theologians, scientists, biblical scholars, and authors. As a result of this project, the book of Genesis has become more alive and more dynamic than I had ever allowed it to be. It is my hope that this film will both challenge and inspire people of faith, no matter where they are on their journey, to revere the complexity of God both through his word and his creation.
Through the BioLogos Forum, I will be posting a few short, topic driven clips from the film in the coming weeks as conversation starters.
Thanks for watching!
From the Dust
"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.”
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.