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Did David Hume "Banish" Miracles?

“I flatter myself,” Hume triumphantly proclaimed, “that I have discovered an argument . . . which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures.”

 

Series: Divine Action in the World (5 entries)

In this talk, Professor Plantinga addresses the fact that many contemporary thinkers—including many theologians—believe that God cannot perform miracles, providentially guide history, or interact in the lives of people, as these activities would be contrary to science. Plantinga, on the other hand, makes the case that this popular view is mistaken; excluding divine action in the world is not a central feature of natural science itself, but a philosophical or theological preference that has been added on to science (and can just as readily be removed). Plantinga concludes that it is completely logical to accept the miracles of the Bible and support contemporary science.

 

Series: The God Who Acts: Robert John Russell on Divine Intervention and Divine Action (8 entries)

Does God need to supernaturally "intervene" in order to bring about the diversity of life that we observe today? Is that kind of action different from God’s ordinary action? We begin our three-part series with Robert John Russell’s description of how views of divine action have changed throughout history, excerpted from his book Cosmology: From Alpha to Omega. Part 2 addresses why “intervention” in the natural world is a problem philosophically, theologically, and scientifically; and Part 3 explains Russell’s own theory of divine action in the natural world.

 

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.

 

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”.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Series: Recovering the Doctrine of Creation: A Theological View of Science (7 entries)

Robert C. Bishop explains that many believe two things about creation: that the universe was created out of nothing by God and that he accomplished this in six days. This overly simplistic view does not do the robust Doctrine of Creation (DoC) justice, and it unnecessarily hinders much of the dialogue between evolution and Christianity. Bishop “recovers” the DoC by exploring the limitations of creation, God’s sovereignty in the process, God’s Trinitarian activity and ongoing purpose for his creatures, and the salvation of creation in space and time.

 

No Slippery Slopes

In this video Conversation, Joel Hunter addresses the “slippery slope” argument supported by many evangelicals and suggests that not only is this perspective flawed, but it also may prevent believers from appreciating the fullness of God’s creation.

 

Inerrancy vs. Liberalism

In this video Conversation, Hunter explains that a view of scripture as the “inerrant Word of God” means that God is inerrant, not that the person interpreting the Bible is inerrant.

 

Series: Miracles and Science (7 entries)

In this five section series, Ard Louis explores the relationship between science and miracles. He indicates the self-imposed limitations of science to discover knowledge while warning against the God-of-the-Gaps explanations. Then, he explains the two types of miracles seen in Scripture: those that are divine timing and those that are violations of the natural. Overall, God sustains natural processes, but, as the master composer, he has the ability to perform miracles as well.

 

What Americans Think and Feel about Evolution

The new Gallup survey shows in broad strokes the challenge we face. But more nuanced surveys find that only 8% of Americans are convinced creationists whose beliefs are dear to them, and only 4% are convinced atheistic evolutionists whose beliefs are dear to them. The vast majority of Americans are not sure of their position and are open to a conversation.

 

Are We Genetically Predisposed to Believe in God?

This entry was originally posted on February 13, 2010. While the question of evolutionary predisposition toward religious belief may be challenging, Christians need not see it as threatening. In fact, this is actually a Pauline notion that is explored in Romans 1, where Paul claims that it is in mankind’s nature to “know God”.

 

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”.

 

Series: What I Wish My Pastor Knew About... The Life of a Scientist (5 entries)

Andy Crouch examines the life of a scientist based on his experience of walking alongside his wife Catherine, an experimental physicist. That relationship has shown him that a life in science is a journey “into a set of virtues,” of cultivating a specific character suited to the particular demands of research and investigation. Crouch's hope is to persuade pastors and others in the church to prayerfully support the scientific endeavor as a reflection of God’s image in humankind as well as offers some suggestions for ministering to their needs.

 

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!

 

Series: Ephesians 4:1-6: A Call of Christian Unity (9 entries)

This series discusses the importance of unity among Christ’s believers. Ross Hastings, an expert in the areas of both chemistry and pastoral theology, is eager to see the church seek out unity rather than divisions in this science/faith interface. Unpacking Ephesians 4:1-6, he explains that unity in Christ through the Holy Spirit is the primary concern of both Jesus as seen in John 17 and Paul in Ephesians 4, making this matter pressing. He urges all believers to be in agreement that God indeed created, yet to be in dialogue over how that creative process occurred.

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