Origins News Round-up for December 6, 2013
This week’s Origins News Roundup features highlights from a recent conference of evangelical theologians, exciting human fossil finds, tell-tale lice, and a few words from the Pope.
“It’s tempting to think that the church needs to decide quickly which of these [original sin] scenarios is right, and which ones must be wrong. I believe the church is better served by taking its time, holding several different scenarios in tension for a while as we think through the implications of each.”
“For a few moments, it felt like our little church community was surrounded by glory. The wisdom of Christ in the hypothalamus was illumining the wisdom of Christ in the prophets and gospels.”
What can a practicing scientist in the 21st century—even a "bench scientist" like me whose scientific forays are confined to a laboratory—glean from a 19th century wanderer like Thoreau?
In this series, James Kidder provides an intriguing study on transitional fossils and the evolutionary history of modern humans. He begins by discussing the fossil record, explaining how new forms are classified. He then explains the physically distinguishing trait of humankind—bipedalism. From the discovery of Ardipithecus, the earliest known hominin, to the australopithecines, the most prolific hominin, Kidder focuses on the discovery, the anatomy, and the interpretation of these ancestral remains.
As I read The Voyage, I often thought about Darwin’s other famous work, The Origin of Species, and the delight that Darwin clearly took in the natural world. Writing about a tropical forest in Brazil, he found himself at a loss for words, “…it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, astonishment, and devotion, which fill and elevate the mind.”
Considering my own stance on the satisfying harmony of science and faith, you might be surprised to find on my shelves nearly everything written by Richard Dawkins (including “The God Delusion”) and my late friend Christopher Hitchens (including “God Is Not Great”). One must dig deeply into opposing points of view in order to know whether your own position remains defensible. Iron sharpens iron.
How do metaphors impact the dialogue between faith and science? We might start by asking: what are the framing metaphors at work in the current debates? Even using the word “dialogue” here suggests an implicit metaphor that frames my approach to the relationship between faith and science. Imagine substituting “dialogue” with “war;” that would conjure a completely different metaphorical framework.
These excerpts from Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, written by BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma and her husband Loren Haarsma, offer a sampling of the book's many topics, from exploring our disagreements and agreements on origins as Christians to explaining scientific processes to looking at how we read Genesis.
With so many issues to discuss, Christians can easily get the feeling that science is always attacking the faith. It is essential to balance such conversations with positive responses to God’s creation. After all, the primary response to the natural world in the Bible is to praise the God who made it.
Christian theology asserts that humans are spiritual creatures, a unity of body and spirit or “soul,” integrated, not reducible downwards to mere matter or upwards to mere spirit.
In this video Conversation, Denis Alexander asserts that contemporary Christians are not taking the early chapters of Genesis seriously enough.
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.
God shows himself not just in the orderliness of nature, but powerfully, joyously and always surprisingly in its beautiful "non-order" as well.
Augustine had a great deal to say about those chapters in Genesis that are especially controversial within Christianity today.
In this series, David Buller pays careful attention to the original language and cultural context of Genesis 2, revealing that our responsibility to care for creation is a sacred task given to us by God, not merely a modern secular activity. By taking Scripture seriously, we learn that we have a God-given mandate to be diligent stewards of His creation.
We tend to think of creativity in terms of flashes of insight and brilliance, of novelty, and especially of unexpected things bursting upon the scene. But creativity is no less creative and no less remarkable when it proceeds step by step, according to discipline, according to rule.
In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.
Many people assume that until Darwin came along, devout Christians everywhere read and understood Genesis in the same way. But Dr. Pak points out that some of the most revered figures in Christian history--Origen, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin--offered insightful but distinctive interpretations of the text that are often overlooked today. First presented at a symposium in Raleigh, NC, Dr. Pak's paper is presented here as a three part series.