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Evolution Basics: At the Frontiers of Evolution, Part 4: Contingency vs. Convergence

Given that both contingency and convergence seem to be significant factors in evolutionary history, it is only natural for scientists to wonder which force has the upper hand. Is evolution primarily contingent, with convergence playing only a minor role? Or is evolution largely a convergent phenomenon, where contingent factors have little overall influence?

 

Origins News Roundup for August 20, 2014

From science and religion blogs: quantum uncertainty and God, the remarkable fact that we have come to understand our place in the created order, and the role of theology in making wise choices about the use of technology.

 

New Creation: The Hermeneutic of Love

For Augustine, the literal sense of scripture is not a scientific narrative of physical reality, but a liturgical and poetic narrative of God’s awesome power at the dawn of history. This is a vital thread in the story of how to read Genesis.

 

Christ, Trinity, and Creation, Part 2

Christ is the reason the natural sciences work: he is the source of the laws of nature, and he contains and underpins the natural sciences. Christ is the pattern for all created things, while the Spirit – his presence in the created world – breathes the divine fire into the equations.

 

Still Surprised by Easter

We now take for granted an understanding of the Christian story that was largely worked out by Paul and later theologians. Even though the Gospels were composed after Paul’s letters, they were concerned to tell the story itself in all its strangeness as it had been preserved by the first generation of Christians. And what we find in the stories themselves is the shock and wonder and surprise that the resurrection caused.

 

Interpreting Adam: Introduction

Four Views on the Historical Adam shows that evangelical Christians are far from agreeing on the particulars of Adam and Eve. But this book also makes clear that there is strong agreement among evangelical Christians on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. We agree that all Scripture is inspired by God and authoritative, even while disagreeing on the interpretation of some passages.

 

Creation Out of Nothing

The key point of continuity between redemption and creation is the idea that the future can be different from the past, i.e., the key is eschatology. More abstractly put, God does new things.

 

The Challenge of Cosmology

The idea that the story we know is only the very beginning raises a new question in place of Feynman’s objection that Christianity is provincial. Is it presumptuous to claim that in such a grand universe, possibly with intelligent life arising in many places, the redemption and transformation of the entire cosmos starts here, on our pale blue dot?

 

Series: Searching for Motivated Belief (12 entries)

Over the next few months, with permission from Yale University Press, BioLogos will offer edited versions of chapters from John Polkinghorne's best books, Belief in God in an Age of Science and Theology in the Context of Science, in order to help readers delve more deeply into some of his most important ideas.

 

Stochastic Grace

I was raised in a household of atheists. My parents were card-carrying members of the American Communist Party, and therefore the atheism in my household was quite close to the militant anti-theism of the so-called “new atheists”.

 

Does Resurrection Contradict Science?

So what then does Resurrection mean? For Benedict it represents a new dimension of reality breaking through into human experience. It is not a violation of the old; it is the manifestation of something new.

 

Series: Understanding Randomness (5 entries)

In this series, Kathryn Applegate addresses the concern that randomness implies the absence of God's activity and involvement in the natural world. She begins by clearing up some common misconceptions about the concept of "randomness", and later focuses on the mechanisms of the immune system to demonstrate that God works through random processes to preserve life. Far from being an indication of a "godless" universe, one might conclude that randomness is one of God’s favorite mechanisms for creating and sustaining life!

 

Where are the Transitional Fossils?

A common argument leveled against the theory of evolution is that scientists have not been able to produce transitional fossils that show the change of one species into another. In this podcast, we address a common misconception about what transitional fossils actually are.

 

Series: The Human Fossil Record (19 entries)

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.

 

Creator of the Stars at Night

The God who created the cosmos is the God who came to us as a child in Bethlehem.

 

Looking at the Collapsing Universe in the Bible

The language of a collapsing universe is related to the end of the old covenant and the coming of the new covenant as God’s “new world order.”

 

Surveying George Murphy's Theology of the Cross

If God himself is willing to die, particularly in such a gruesome way, then perhaps we should at least consider the possibility of God allowing the death of other creatures, too. But would this really be compatible with what we know of God through Scripture?

 

Jesus the Artist

Speaking in parables is indeed similar to an artist’s craft. They create impressions, whole new worlds of meaning intended to turn old worlds on their heads.

 

"Come and See": A Christ-centered Invitation for Science

Classical Christian orthodoxy as expressed in the Creeds begins at the beginning: nature owes its existence to and is sustained by Jesus Christ. One implication is that the best way of finding out about nature is to look at nature.

 

Biblical and Scientific Shortcomings of Flood Geology, Part 3

We find no compelling evidence that the earth’s geological features can be explained by a global Flood. Here we consider three lines of evidence: global salt deposits, the order of deposition of sediment layers in the Grand Canyon, and the sequence of fossils in geological strata.

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