Americans Discover Deep Time
The story of Cotton Mather teaches that it is good for us all to keep alive the role of both divine and human communication when engaged in science.
The tension generated by our understanding of God’s character, as revealed in the Bible, and by the reality of the natural world around us has been the focus of much debate within the Christian church since the first century. This series examines critically several of the proposed solutions to this problem, viewing them from the perspective of a geologist, paleontologist, and orthodox evangelical Christian.
As I stressed in my column about the YEC view, creationism is ultimately about theodicy—it’s not only about theodicy, to be sure, but the belief that animals must not have suffered and died before Adam and Eve committed the first sin is crucial to the “young” in Young Earth Creationism. To a significant degree, Theistic Evolution is also about theodicy.
This exchange brings together related essays on death in light of evolution and Scripture from Southern Baptist theologian Dr. John Laing. Laing argues that evolutionary theory requires death to play a central role in the creation of new life, but sees Scripture depicting death only "as an invader, disturber of peace, and a force of evil." A BioLogos response is given by Dr. Jeff Schloss.
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.
The BioLogos Forum is pleased to present this infographic about the tools scientists use to determine the age of the Earth. The graphic, titled "How Do We Know the Earth is Old?", uses data compiled and summarized by geology professor Dr. Gregg Davidson.
I find that when many Christians think about the way God created our universe, they often bring a static expectation similar to what we bring to an ordinary statue. It’s as if we assume the physical realm were merely a rigid three-dimensional sculpture, immovable with time.
If death did not exist before Adam and Eve, how could God have used evolution to create man? And what about predators and natural catastrophes such as the mass extinction of the dinosaurs?
“That just doesn’t sound right.” Ever since I was a kid, that was my gut reaction to those well-meaning people in my church and school who told me that despite what many in the sciences were saying, the earth and the entire universe were actually of relatively recent manufacture.
In this video “Conversation,” Philip Yancey explains that on the way home from a trip to Mumbai, India, during which terrorists attacked the city, he began to form a list of the challenging situations he has experienced.
This series, written by Bethany Sollereder, seeks to address this question: “How could God create through a process that involves so much pain and death?” She first presents the two drastically opposite worldviews held by theologians and scientists. She also reflects theologically on how a world created through evolutionary means can be good, and concludes with some thoughts concerning the Fall, physical decay and spiritual death.
In this three part series, geologist Stephen Moshier critiques John MacArthur’s articles on uniformitarianism, while offering an alternative perspective on the principle. He exposes faulty conceptions about and misleading definitions of uniformitarianism. Gregory Bennett further defends the idea of an old earth as Biblical and focuses on the unchanging nature of God. He also discusses the Scriptural doctrines of creation and God’s providence.
The only conclusions in science which are widely accepted are those which are supported by multiple, reinforcing lines of evidence – “all roads must lead to Rome”. If there is even one scientific trajectory that seems to clearly lead off to Peoria instead of Rome, the scientific process demands that the scientist find out why.
Death has occurred since the first breath of biological life (and some would say since the first “breath” of cosmological life), long before Adam inhaled. Ironically, therefore, death must be a part of God’s good creation. Moreover, human death due to sin must be something different than the physical death we all die.
"Why would the omnipotent Creator of the universe use such a wasteful (and cruel) process of survival of the fittest to bring about the higher forms of life? This view of 'theistic evolution' goes against God's very nature -- and logic itself."
In this video, Brian McLaren discusses the idea of surrogate arguments, in which a debate over one thing is really a means for arguing something completely different. According to McClaren, the argument over the age of the earth is one such argument.
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.
Sometimes, out of fear or some sense of being required to defend our position, Church leaders and teachers have hastily set up a boundary marker around some doctrinal theory which they have confused as a core doctrinal issue.
“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.”
Critics of Christianity look to evolution to show how the emergence of human life on earth demanded enormous ruin and ravage, billions of years of apparent waste and futility, species extermination and organism road kill. Not only was the massive dying off rampant, it’s mandatory too.