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Series: Made in the Image of God: The Theological Implications of Human Genomics
This series by Denis Alexander reflects on advancements in genomics as well as their theological implications. He focuses on the relatedness of hominin genomes, arguing that this does not interfere with the image of God in humans. The image of God depends more on the capacity for relationship and covenant, not on a list of particular physical qualities. He then discusses why the recent studies of genomics provide “no grounds for genetic determinism.”
Series: Shaping the Human Soul
In Washington DC, Church of the Advent teamed up with The Trinity Forum to offer a series of lectures exploring the synergy between modern science and Christian Faith. This presentation by psychiatrist Curt Thompson and philosopher James K.A. Smith addressed the process of Christian discipleship and spiritual formation through the lens of neuroscience.
Body and Soul, Mind and Brain: Pressing Questions
“Bit by experimental bit,” writes philosopher P. Churchland, “neuroscience is morphing our conception of what we are.” For many, this includes dispensing with the “soul” in favor of biologically anchored processes.
The Galileo Affair: Emblematic or Exceptional?
On the morning of June 22, 1633 in the hall of the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minvera in Rome, Galileo Galilei knelt before the Lord-Cardinal Inquisitors-General and publicly abjured his false opinion that the sun was the motionless center of the universe.
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.
Series: Genetics, Theology, and Adam as a Historical Person
Denis Alexander begins this five part series by discussing both what a model is and whether it is appropriate to use one when building a bridge between scientific truths and theological truths. Providing evolutionary facts about the origins of humans as well as discussing the origin and meaning of Adam in Genesis, he constructs what he calls a Retelling model and a Homo divinus model. Both approaches, he concludes, “suggest that human evolution per se is irrelevant to the theological understanding of humankind made in the image of God.”
Beware Evolutionary 'Just-so' Stories About Religious Belief
As an evolutionary biologist I am fascinated by the emergence of cognitive abilities that make us so distinctive from other living species. There are, however, risks in making up evolutionary "just-so" stories to explain the origins of complex human beliefs.
Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple?
Is the human race descended from one ancestral pair in the recent past? Are we, as C.S. Lewis puts it in his Chronicles of Narnia, the “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve”?
Are We Genetically Predisposed to Believe in God?
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”.
Christian Faith and World Class Science
Watching the discussion surrounding Francis Collins's National Institutes of Health (NIH) appointment has been enlightening in so many ways. Especially interesting are the arguments by critics such as Sam Harris that someone with faith in God cannot be a good scientist.
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)
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)
How have Christians responded to Darwin’s "Origin of Species"?
Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, many Christians had already accepted an old Earth. One of the first supporters of evolutionary science in America—Harvard biologist Asa Gray—was a devout Christian. Conservative theologian B. B. Warfield also accepted the science of evolution, and both he and Asa Gray rejected the idea that evolution leads to atheism. Even the authors of The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915, accepted an old earth. It wasn’t until a century after Darwin that a large number of evangelicals and fundamentalists began to accept the combination of flood geology and 6-day creation promoted by Seventh-day Adventists. (Updated on July 10, 2012)
Series: The Church Fathers and Two Books Theology
In this series, Mark Mann explores what many of the great Christian theologians and saints of the Church have said about how God speaks in and through God’s other great book: Nature, or Creation. Listening to figures from the the 2nd to the 18th centuries,Mann proposes three main points: Christians should think of Scripture and Creation as two “books” that should be read together for understanding the fullness of God’s self-revelation; Science is a God-given tool for discerning the handiwork of God in Creation, and is fully compatible with God’s Word revealed in Scripture, and therefore, Christians have nothing to fear from science.
"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.
What does it mean to be human? For the Christian, the answer is complex. In part, it is a reflection of being created in the image of God. But does the science of human evolution pose a threat to that uniqueness?
BioLogos and the June 2011 "Christianity Today" Cover Story
They all together cry out in unison with a loud voice—“Created!” However, they also, in a subtle, but persuasive whisper, add the all-important qualifying phrase—“…slowly and not in an instant!”
How Does a BioLogos model need to address the theological issues
Science and Religion scholar Denis Alexander presents two models for relating Adam and Eve with the findings of contemporary anthropology. This essay was presented at the November 2010 Theology of Celebration Workshop
An Obituary for the "Warfare" View of Science and Religion
As an historian of science, I belong to a small, somewhat esoteric club. But our collective anonymity may now be changing with the publication of a splendid new book from Harvard University Press, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion.
How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin?
Given the stark difference between evolution and six-day creation, many people assume that Darwin’s theory shook the foundations of the Christian faith. In truth, the literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1-2 was not the only perspective held by Christians prior to modern science. St. Augustine (354-430), John Calvin (1509-1564), John Wesley (1703-171), and others supported the idea of Accommodation. In the Accommodation view, Genesis 1-2 was written in a simple allegorical fashion to make it easy for people of that time to understand. In fact, Augustine suggested that the 6 days of Genesis 1 describe a single day of creation. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) argued that God did not create things in their final state, but created them to have potential to develop as he intended. The views of these and other Christian leaders are consistent with God creating life by means of evolution.