God Decides, We Measure
The former chair of the Harvard University physics department muses on how faith gives meaning to his scientific work.
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.
With From the Dust, it was our goal to help Christians see the complexity of the issues raised by modern science, as well as help them to courageously engage with the theological conversations happening within the sphere of Christian culture today.
It should be noted that indeterminacy does not imply that God does not have foreknowledge of future events. Christians ought not to be uncomfortable with the idea of God interacting with his creation through chance.
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.
This BioLogos videocast addresses the idea of randomness as a part of natural selection, and whether it challenges the possibility of God using the evolutionary process as a means of creation.
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."
One way to resolve the apparent conflict between the Bible and science is to say that the world merely looks old. Perhaps God created it 6,000 years ago, but made it look millions and billions of years old. While God certainly has it in his power to do this, this view raises a theological challenge for the Christian: it makes God out to be a deceiver. It would have God revealing things in the universe that are contrary to what he reveals in the Bible. The lie would be not just in a few places, but embedded in galaxies, in stars, in rocks and fossils, and in our very DNA. If we trust that “The heavens declare the glory of God”, we have to trust that they truthfully declare the history by which God made them.
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)
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.
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.
For many, the importance of apparent randomness in evolution can be a major stumbling block when considering whether God could have created through an evolutionary process.
In our first Distinctions video -- featuring biologists Sean Carroll and Kerry Fulcher, Smithsonian Human Origins Program director Rick Potts, and Old Testament scholar John Walton -- we look at the concept of randomness.
Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
Scientists become fairly comfortable with a certain level of uncertainty within scientific data, notes Kathryn Applegate, but that is not the case for most people, especially where faith is concerned
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.
Evolution includes random factors in both genetic mutation and natural selection. In popular usage, “random” often means “without purpose.” Some atheists have described evolution as proceeding by “blind, purposeless chance.” But to scientists, “chance” simply means unpredictability. God could choose to use random, unpredictable processes to accomplish his purposes in creation.
In this video conversation, Kathryn Applegate discusses the implications for the church if we ignore scientific developments.
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.
In this video conversation, Karl Giberson notes that have to be careful about projecting our idea about human creation onto God because the notion of a human creator is an entirely different concept.