How Science Can Inspire Faith

Bookmark and Share

October 27, 2010 Tags: Biblical Authority

Today's video features Daniel Harrell. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

In this video “Conversation,” Daniel Harrell, Senior Minister of Colonial Church in Edina, Minnesota, discusses what often gets in the way of getting Christians to consider evolutionary science.

Christians immediately see it [evolutionary science] as a challenge to the biblical authority because it upsets a literal interpretation of the creation narrative found in Genesis. They might say, “If I can’t read six days as twenty-four hour periods, then how do I know what to believe?” In cases like these, there is just some education that needs to occur, says Harrell. For example, if Christians are shown that there is not just one definition for “day” in the Bible, or if they are given some analogies to common experience this could be helpful.

It is also important to “draw a distinction between scientific data and its interpretation,” notes Harrell, because the science has nothing to say about Genesis 1 and how it should be read. Problems arise when Christians try to take on the scientific data itself.

If indeed the world is the handiwork of God, says Harrell, then this [evolutionary science] is the handiwork of God—and to challenge that “is just not necessary.”

  • Get Embed Code

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Daniel Harrell is the Senior Minister of Colonial Church in Edina, Minnesota. He is the author of the books Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith, How To Be Perfect: One Church’s Experiment with Living the Book of Leviticus, and the forthcoming Wisdom of the Saints (And Near Saints): Christian Inspiration from A-Z. He also teaches theology at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul.


View the archived discussion of this post

This article is now closed for new comments. The archived comments are shown below.

Loading...
Page 1 of 1   1
conrad - #36945

October 27th 2010

That is VERY GOOD!

Challenging the data leads to junk science.

The REAL data SUPPORTS GENESIS.

There are certain INTERPRETATIONS OF GENESIS THAT CONFLICT WITH THE REAL DATA.

AND THE BIGGEST FALSE INTERPRETATION OF GENESIS IS THE ONE THAT GETS THE GREATEST SUPPORT HERE ON THIS BOARD….............THAT THE FIRMAMENT IS SOME COVERING OVER THE EARTH.

The earth did not exist when God created the firmament.

The firmament is spaces between waters,... the things that George Smoot maps out.

The solar system was created 5 billion years ago.
The firmament was creates about 12 billion years earlier.
THAT IS HOW THE STRUCTURE OF THE UNIVERSE WAS MOLDED….... during the period of cosmic inflation .

Once you place the earth in the events of the first billion years you are so screwed up nothing can straighten you out.
And almost every “conventional commentary” about firmament does that.


conrad - #36946

October 27th 2010

Excuse me I meant the firmament was created 12 billion years before now.
It was only 8 billion or so before our earth and it’s solar system were created.


conrad - #36949

October 27th 2010

And I believe our guest speaker hits the nail on the head about the use of words.
The Actual stuff of the early universe was described as quark/gluon plasma.

I think “waters” describes it pretty well.
The particles were uniformly distributed like water.
It was soupy stuff not hard chunks of material.

THAT IS WHY CREATING PERMANENT SPACES WITHIN IT WAS MIRACULOUS.

Try sticking your finger into a cup of water and pulling it out fast enough to leave a hole in the liquid.
Tough huh?
GOD DID THAT.
AND THE UNEVEN DISTRIBUTION OF “STUFF” LED TO THE CLUSTERS OF GALAXIES THAT WE SEE TODAY.

Go to TED.com and watch the 20 minute talk by George Smoot.
He has a computer simulation of how that all worked.

BUT THE EARTH WAS NOT EVEN THERE AT THAT TIME.
So discussions of the the sky over the earth or the clouds over the earth or the birds flying over the earth are out of order.

And referring to some guy who lived in the 3rd century will not explain it either.

But you could check the latest data dump from the Wilkinson satellite if you want more detail on those spaces expanding the distances between waters.

The word “firmament” should never have been used. It was one of those “bad interpretations” Harrell mentions.


conrad - #36974

October 27th 2010

Dr. Harrell’s commentary really is right on target.
It is the darned INTERPRETATION of both science and scripture that creates all the ruckus.

And overly ambitious interpreter’s of science are to blame for part of the useless debate too.
Evolution works great for evolving new species from existing DNA, but when people interpreted the date backward and said life first evolved here on earth they were speculating.

No one has yet shown how the original DNA evolved.

And the man from- monkey story has chinks in it too.

You can definitely modify DNA to produce a new species [which is all Darwin really claimed] but reconstructing the history of first life and forming the first DNA cannot be done from the data.

Life may have arrived here on earth on things like the Murchison meteorite.


conrad - #37048

October 27th 2010

Another thing I like about Rev Harrell’s view how common usage of words should be applied applies to the word “dust” in the story of Adam’s creation.

It just means,... the material already easily available on the earth.

God did not create new material to comprise Adam.

There was plenty of DNA that was usable in the animal population already evolved at that time.

God used this and added “the breath of life” which may have been some refinements we do not fully understand.
I don’t think “dust” necessarily refers to common dirt.
Dust particles are small particles.
Molecules of DNA are small particles.

How would you describe DNA in that vocabulary that humans had when genesis was inspired?

You wouldn’t say deoxyribonucleic acid I don’t think.

Human genes are largely the same as other genes found in other life forms that were already on the earth.

The verse could have been written, “God made Adam out of readily available material already found in abundance on the earth.”

But “dust” is a briefer was of saying the same thing.


JM - #37265

October 29th 2010

Wonderful!  Here we have a pastor who doesn’t believe Moses or Jesus!  This is the kind of church Biologos wants to promote.

He claims it is helpful for Christians to know that a word can have more than one meaning.  How dumb does he think we Christians are?  Is a little re-education all that we need to solve this problem?  No way!  We know the word day can have and does have more than one meaning in Scripture. No one argues against that.  The point is, how is the word “day” used in Genesis 1, Ex. 20:10,11, etc.  You have to come up with good reasons to choose the “long age” - “indefinite period of time” meaning to use in this passage.  Why is that we believe the author intended this meaning when he used the word “day” in Genesis 1?  Couldn’t he have expressed the same meaning using other words that would have made his point more clear if he meant a long period of time?

Then he claims the problem is the interpretation of the data.  I agree completely.  The data for both sides is the same.  What mindset/worldview/assumptions do we use when we interpret that data?  No one is arguing against the data itself, but how to interpret it correctly? - that is another question!


conrad - #37420

October 29th 2010

I don’t think the vocabulary of the day had many choices for words regarding lengths of time.

Can you give the ancient word that would have been correct if the meaning was epoch, or era?


Page 1 of 1   1