Origins News Roundup for July 23, 2014
This week in origins news, a great collection of articles by key players in the conversation about theology and science, a surprising science fair discovery, and the Apollo 11 anniversary!
For my part, the historical setting of the text plays an important role in how I read. It’s not a problem in my view to see the authors of Genesis embedded in their times, writing in the scientific/mythological terms they knew, even if those terms are now obsolete.
“There are clues in a text as to how the text should be written, so with Genesis, the rhythmic nature of Genesis 1 and 2, the almost poetic, and hymnic, function that it would have played in the liturgy of the earliest Jewish lives… it seems to me that there are clues here that it should be read in a theological way.”
We must press beyond the various creation narratives in the Hebrew Bible, including the final chapters of Job, to the picture of God revealed in the New Testament—the Creator who does not rationally explain away the scandal of suffering but who instead enters into it.
The confident assertion that the Bible trumps science stems from a misunderstanding of the purpose of the scriptures, and a misapplication of the Bible to answer questions that can only be answered by the application of science.
The BioLogos Book Club discussion of Francis Collins’ The Language of God.
“Being confronted with evolution may have been the catalyst for asking the difficult questions, but the real problem for me was not evolution – it was biblical literalism.”
Once we recognize that no one takes the text literally, and that we have often failed to account for the details in the text regarding the time of day, we can begin anew to try to understand the text as an ancient text rather than as a modern one. As such, we must begin with the idea that the text operates in the world of omens, not the world of physics and astronomy.
This series, by Old Testament scholar Richard S. Hess, was first published as an appendix to Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove: IVP Academic; Nottingham: Apollos, 2011).
We need to hear stories from others who have wrestled with evolution and Christian faith. What arguments made them change their views on science? How did they hold fast to their relationship with God? The essays in this series will eventually comprise a book, provisionally titled, “Evolving: Evangelicals Reflect on Evolution.”
... I would exhort these, my fellow conservative evangelical shepherds and thinkers, to set aside all reticence and fear, emerge from anonymity, and storm the forum of discourse, engaging this most pressing matter with vigor, equanimity, and humility. In doing so, know upfront that there will be few handrails to guide; you will not be building upon an extensive precedence of published conservative thought.
Although committed to the principle of sola Scriptura, Calvin recognized that the Bible would have been written in terms its original recipients would have understood. Calvin inherited the medieval cosmology of his time, a way of viewing the world heavily influenced by Greek thought and one which was about to receive shocks from astronomers such as Copernicus and Galileo. But not just yet.
This ongoing series written by historian Ted Davis begins with a brief synopsis of his personal background, and then goes on to reveal his passion for debunking “the now-common view that the history of science and Christianity is one of ongoing, inevitable conflict.”
The debate is often not about evidence, but about making sure that others do not transgress our interpretive boundaries and insist that we're wrong. We've bitten from the tree of knowledge and we love its taste.
Many Christians believe that they face a painful choice-- either life was designed by God or it is an evolutionary product of natural selection. Charles Darwin himself believed in this dichotomy, and people ever since have felt the need to "choose sides". However, looking back at history, we find that one of Darwin's chief scientific colleagues, Asa Gray, did not share this perspective. In this three-part essay, part 1 charts the relationship of Asa Gray and Charles Darwin. Part 2 describes Darwin's struggle with the problem of natural evil and design in nature, and part 3 explores how Asa Gray was able to embrace evolution without rejecting the idea of design.
Our desire to engage in gracious dialogue with fellow believers who reject biological evolution has been receiving increased attention in both the Christian and secular press. More importantly, we are being joined in this reconciling project by our brothers and sisters in Christ who have often been defined primarily as our “opponents”.
I ask the question, “Why is the universe so special?” Now scientists don’t like things to be special; we like things to be general, and our natural anticipation would have been that the universe is just a common specimen of what a universe might be like.
Design arguments have been around forever and expressed in various ways. Most of them fall into what we call natural theology, which is the process of inferring something about the existence and nature of God by the inspection of nature.
I will take some time to clarify exactly how Michael Behe, the biochemist and Intelligent Design (ID) proponent who has most extensively developed the "irreducible complexity" argument, uses the term.