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: Southern Baptist Voices: Is Darwinism Theologically Neutral? (5 entries)
The second entry in our Southern Baptist Voices dialogues, this series features William A. Dembski and Darrel Falk considering the question, "Is Darwinism Theologically Neutral?" from Southern Baptist and BioLogos perspectives. As with the first Southern Baptist Voices series, the exchange is carried out with and respect and humility as Dr. Dembski argues that Darwinism undercuts several "non-negotiables" of Christianity, and Dr. Falk confirms that assessment on several points, while demonstrating that the BioLogos position is not the same as Darwinism.
Is there room in evolutionary creation to believe in miracles?
God acts in more than one way in the natural world. God sustains the regular patterns of the physical world, but sometimes chooses to act outside of those patterns. God’s regular patterns are what scientists describe as natural laws (like gravity or photosynthesis). God’s actions outside those patterns are usually called supernatural actions or miracles (like raising someone from the dead). Evolutionary creationists believe in the miracles of the Bible and that God can do miracles today. Evolutionary creationists also believe that God is just as involved in the regular patterns of the universe as in miracles.
(Updated on March 10, 2012)
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: God and Creation (5 entries)
In this four part series, David Opderbeck explores the interesting relationship between God and his creation. He first looks at his transcendence over the material world. In one respect, God is completely distinct from all creation, yet he is also immanent, or present within all creation. Another aspect of God reflected in creation is his Triune nature. Just as love, fellowship, and delight exist within the Trinity, so these characteristics are present in the world, and experienced by humans. He completes his thoughts with a discussion about God’s interaction with humans.
Series: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes (5 entries)
In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.
Series: Randomness and God’s Governance (5 entries)
In this three-part series from Pruim’s chapter in the book Delight in Creation: Scientists Share Their Work with the Church, mathematician Randall Pruim explains what scientists and mathematicians mean when they speak of something being “random”. He also addresses God's use of apparent randomness in creation as a part of his sovereign rule.
Evolution: Is God Just Playing Dice?
With his standard panache, the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould argued strenuously that evolution had no inherent directionality. We are mere accidents; a "tiny twig on an improbable branch of a contingent limb on a fortunate tree".
Series: Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography in the Bible (8 entries)
In this six part series, Brian Godawa takes a closer look at cosmography and its relationship to the Bible. After defining cosmography as a theory that describes features of the heavens and the earth, he relates how his own views about the universe have shifted. He then continues to talk about the Mesopotamian cosmography that is so consistently reflected in Scripture. This view of the universe includes aspects such as the firmament, the pillars, the underworld, the heavens above, the watery abyss. He then explains how one understands these concepts in terms of modern scientific thought.
Recovering the Doctrine of Creation, Part 5
Sometimes Christians and non-Christians alike fall into thinking that God is only active in creation when there are miraculous violations of natural laws.
Uncertainty is Uncomfortable
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
On the Creation Account
To understand and apply Genesis 1 correctly, we have to consider issues of genre and intention. Too often these chapters are read as if they present a purely straightforward historical and even scientific account of cosmic and human origins.
On Myth and Meaning
In this video, John Walton talks about ancient myth and how we might better understand it if we think about its intended functionality—that is, myths were a way to explain a culture’s origin and universal significance though they lacked the advances of scientific discovery.
N.T. Wright on Understanding Ancient Texts
In this video Conversation, N.T. Wright emphasizes the importance of understanding the context of biblical texts in order to know whether to read them as literal or metaphorical narratives.
Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context: An Introduction
It has been my experience that many Christians have not given sufficient thought to how the Old Testament was composed––that is, to the "human" side of the inspiration of Scripture.
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.
The Randomness Project
It is not uncommon to hear voices proclaiming that biology and physics have shown us that—at fundamental levels—nature is random, hence meaningless, purposeless, and without a creator. But how might God work providentially through indeterminate processes? The John Templeton Foundation has provided a generous grant of $1.69 million to support a new research initiative on the theme of Randomness and Divine providence.