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“The Language of God” Book Club–Chapter 6

How should we interpret the Bible? What is the role of tradition? What is the role of science? Who gets to decide whether traditional interpretations need to change?

 

Confessions of an Evolving Baptist

“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.”

 

Biblical Credibility and Joshua 10: What Does the Text Really Claim?

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.

 

Series: Apologetic Issues in the Old Testament (3 entries)

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).

 

Series: Excerpts from “Evolving: Evangelicals Reflect on Evolution” (9 entries)

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.”

 

A Scientific Commentary on Genesis 7:11

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.

 

Series: Biblical and Scientific Shortcomings of Flood Geology (6 entries)

Gregg Davidson and Ken Wolgemuth seek to remove the stumbling block of the Genesis flood in this four part series. Though many believe in an ancient world-wide flood, the evidence given does not hold up to geological scrutiny, but points rather to something regional instead. It is their hope that Christians will not walk away from faith in Christ simply because a global flood is not supported by science. Looking at natural phenomena like the Grand Canyon, salt beds, and fossil deposits, they reveal reasons for these deposits and structures while showing that their origin did not stem from a violent flood that covered the planet.

 

Series: Scripture and the Authority of God (7 entries)

N.T. Wright explores the context and manner in which Scripture is authoritative. He does so by questioning the meaning of an authoritative book as well as the application of such authority. Wright encourages us to flee from the controlling “list” mentalities that belittle the richness of God’s Word, and rather to understand it as a narrative inspired by God and recorded by ancient persons. Ultimately, God “organizes” his people through his Son Jesus and by the Holy Spirit, and not through extracted rules from the Bible.

 

Series: He Who Has Ears (4 entries)

Scholar and musician Jeff Warren addresses the questions of how music is meaningful, and where that meaning resides, by looking at the popular ideas that musical meaning is entirely subjective to the listener and that the meaning of music can be universal. He also explores the recent trend of attempting to explain music via neuroscience. Finally, he looks into the reasons why music continues to play such a critical role in the worshiping life of the Church.

 

A Lively God

In today's video, Rev. Lincoln Harvey discusses our desire to "domesticate" the liveliness and abundance of God. Harvey notes that the Trinity highlights both the manyness and oneness of God, which can be hard to Christians to fully understand.

 

Science or sola Scriptura?

So, for Driscoll, the choice is a simple dichotomy: Scripture or science. Scripture is the highest court of authority in all matters, and the role of believing scientists is to affirm Scripture. To fail to do so is to “exchange the truths of Scripture for the truths of science”.

 

Seeing the Flood Story Through an Ancient Israelite Lens

Pete Shaw highlights the story of Noah to explore how the story would have been understood in ancient times and from there he goes on to explore how we might consider it today.

 

Series: The Truthfulness of Scripture: Inerrancy (3 entries)

This series by Michael Horton first appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of Modern Reformation. Horton begins by pointing out that the concept of inerrancy goes back to the ancient Church, but was most clearly developed by Princeton theologians A.A. Hodge and B.B. Warfield in their 1881 book, Inspiration. These men emphasized that the Holy Spirit worked through limited human authors in a centuries-long process to produce the Bible. Hodge and Warfield defined inerrancy not as the absence of technical errors but as the truthfulness in what the biblical writers were affirming.

 

B.B. Warfield, Biblical Inerrancy, and Evolution

During the late 19th century when critical views of Scripture came to prevail in American universities, Warfield was responsible for refurbishing the conviction that the Bible communicates revelation from God entirely without error. Yet while he defended biblical inerrancy, Warfield was also a cautious, discriminating, but entirely candid proponent of the possibility of evolution.

 

Thomas Aquinas: Saint of Evolutionary Psychologists?

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was the foremost Christian scholar of the High Middle Ages and is today regarded as a "doctor" of the Catholic Church. No, Aquinas was not a materialist neuroscientist, but he understood the intimate interdependence of mind and body.

 

Understanding the Human Dimension of Scripture

Old Princeton and the Dutch Calvinists understood that the human dimension of Scripture—which pervades Scripture thoroughly—is not merely tolerable of a divine book, but a necessary component of what inspiration means.

 

B. B. Warfield and the “Human Side” of the Bible

With Christ, his humanity is essential to who he is. Likewise, the Bible’s “human side” is an essential part of what Scripture is, and recognizing this has practical implications.

 

Genesis, Creation, and Ancient Interpreters: Cain Caused the Flood

Cain was a “logical” candidate of sorts because his act was the only truly wicked act recorded in the chapters preceding the flood story. Cain’s murder of Abel, therefore, was understood not just an isolated wicked act, but a crucial factor in God’s decision to destroy the world in a deluge. One clear example is from the apocryphal book Wisdom of Solomon 10:3-4.

 

Beware Evolutionary 'Just-so' Stories About Religious Belief

As an evolutionary biologist I am fascinated by the emergence of cognitive abilities that make us so distinctive from other living species. There are, however, risks in making up evolutionary "just-so" stories to explain the origins of complex human beliefs.

 

How Science Can Inspire Faith

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

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