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Nazarenes Exploring Origins Conference

As people came together for real conversations, they actually listened to one another, which is not always common in the kind of controversial topics we were exploring—topics about origins, evolution, and biblical interpretation.

 

Series: From the Dust (13 entries)

In this series, Ryan Pettey offers several clips from his powerful documentary "From the Dust". This feature-length film is divided up into various sections, each of which wrestles with the difficult problems that arise when reconciling Scripture with the theory of evolution. A light of hope dawns on the science-faith conversation, however, as scientists and theologians engage in honest dialogue about tough issues such as the interpretation of Genesis, the nature of the Fall, and the idea of random design. Their profound insights are sure to enlighten all minds, raise deeper questions, and provoke new thought.

 

A Mediating Voice

In today’s video, theologian Dr. Chris Tilling discusses the need for a mediating voice in the science and faith discussion: "The problem is that not all Scripture wants to be read literally, and to do so is to bypass some of the truth contained in it."

 

Why should Christians consider evolutionary creation?

Because evolution is a challenging subject, many Christians are tempted to simply ignore or reject it. Yet considering evolutionary creation has important benefits for Christians both in our relationship with the Creator, and with our relationships with other people—believers and non-Christians alike. First, Christians should study evolution because (like all the natural sciences) it is the study of God’s creation. Creation itself is a complementary revelation to what is communicated in the Scriptures, and through it God shows how and when he brought about life, to his honor and glory. Studying the creation is also an invitation into a deeper understanding of the attributes and character of Father, Son and Spirit. Second, considering evolutionary creation aids the Church in its gospel mission, supporting young Christians in their faith, helping answer critics, and equipping us to engage effectively in the wider culture. An anti-evolution attitude can harm Christian young people by presenting them with a false choice between pursuing science OR holding to faith. Similarly, a hostile attitude towards evolution can hinder evangelism when seekers hear that they must reject science to follow Christ. On the other hand, studying evolution as a God-ordained process helps Christians refute arguments that science encourages an atheistic worldview. Furthermore, as the church engages front-page issues raised by the rapid growth in science, medicine, and technology, a Christ-centered voice in such areas as bioethics will be stronger if based on a thorough understanding of the natural sciences, including evolution.

(Updated on September 9, 2012)

 

Reconciliation

In today’s video, Brian McClaren talks about reconciliation in the face of differences. He offers insight into how to treat those whose opinions differ from yours and points out how to have constructive dialogue.

 

A Paradigm of Compatibility

In today’s video, Brian McLaren explains his own comfort with accepting Scripture and evolution, seeing the process of evolution as a wonderful opportunity for adaptation, growth, and development and a reflection of God’s glory.

 

Navigating the Crises

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.

 

"Come and See": A Christological Invitation for Science

This chapter from Mark Noll's book Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind seeks to understand science through a Christ-centered lens. Overall, if one accepts that nature is created and sustained by Jesus Christ, the author explains, then one must conclude that looking at nature is, in fact, the best way to learn about nature.

 

Saturday Sermon: “Science vs. Faith: A False Dichotomy?”

If God has indeed created all things, pure scientific truth should never be a “problematic thing” for Christians. If anything, scientific truth enriches the faith as it reveals his majesty and provides Christians with a deeper understanding of God.

 

Ephesians 4:7-16: Moving the Science/Faith Discussion Forward

In this essay, Hastings looks at “front edge” areas for promoting healthy dialogue in the field of science and Christian theology, areas which are specifically theological in nature.

 

The How of Creation: Parameters for Gracious and Fruitful Dialogue

Hastings provides a biblical and theological basis for healthy and fruitful dialogue on the theology and science of origins.

 

Calvin and Wesley: Making Peace with Competing Approaches

In this video Conversation, Joel Hunter notes the inherent strengths of both Calvinist and Wesleyan faith traditions. In fact, he points out that what are often cast as “competing” approaches really are complementary rather than at odds with one another.

 

Science, Religion, and A. D. White: Seeking Peace in the 'Warfare Between Science and Theology'

Mark Noll, historian and author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, describes how Andrew Dickson White relentlessly advocated a view of history in which Science and Dogmatic Theology have always been at war with one another. Noll identifies 16 reasons why White’s notion of warfare is mistaken.

 

The Church Must Not Ignore the Evidence

In this video conversation, Kathryn Applegate discusses the implications for the church if we ignore scientific developments.

 

Why Must the Church Come to Accept Evolution?

In this video conversation, renowned Old Testament scholar, Biblical translator and expositor Bruce Waltke discusses the danger the Church will face if it does not engage with the world around it, in particular with the issue of evolution, which many evangelicals still reject.

 

Why Must the Church Engage in Scientific Discourse?

In this video conversation, Os Guinness addresses the question of why it is essential for Christians to engage in scientific discourse. Resistance, skepticism, and hostility to science are not biblical precepts, but views that originated from Christian movements that emerged in the 19th century.

 

Adventist Origins of Young Earth Creationism

Many evangelicals believe that Young Earth Creationism is the only authentic, biblical way for Christians to understand origins, and that until the advent of Darwin's theory of evolution, it was the only view held by Christians. However, in this excerpt from Saving Darwin, Karl Giberson explains that Young Earth Creationism's origins are surprisingly recent.

 

Can science and scripture be reconciled?

In Christian belief, God reveals himself in both the written book of the Bible and the created “book” of the natural world. Thus, the truths we find in scripture should not conflict with the truths we find in nature. Yet at times the two revelations seem to be saying contradictory things about how God made the world. Since God does not lie, the conflict must occur at the level of human interpretation: either a misunderstanding of what God is revealing in nature, or a misunderstanding of what God is revealing in scripture. Conflicts motivate us to reevaluate both interpretations. Christians may disagree on whether the scientific or the Biblical interpretation needs to change, but we can agree that God speaks to us in both revelations.
(Updated on March 10, 2012)

 

On what grounds can one claim that the Christian God is the creator?

The science of evolution is consistent with many religions and with atheism. Science alone cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. Some scientific evidence, such as fine-tuning, points to a Creator, but even this does not support Christianity over other religions. However, Christian doctrine is broadly compatible with scientific accounts of our origins. Though belief in the Christian God is not scientifically provable, it is not irrational. Commitment to Christ is a reasonable choice supported by a variety of evidence from history, philosophy, and the testimony of others. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit works in each person’s life to bring them into relationship with Jesus.
(Updated on March 10, 2012)

 

Are science and Christianity at war?

Some people see science and religion as enemies, at war for leadership in our modern culture. Others see science and religion as completely separate and unrelated facets of life. However, science is not the only source of facts, and religion reaches beyond the realm of values and morals. In fact, religion can have a positive impact on science, such as in the development of modern medical ethics. Many early scientific leaders were devout Christians, as are some scientific leaders today. Science can also enhance the spiritual life of believers. Christians rejoice in scientific discoveries that reveal the glory of God the creator.
(Updated June 27, 2012)

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