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.
Series: Miracles and Science (7 entries)
In this five section series, Ard Louis explores the relationship between science and miracles. He indicates the self-imposed limitations of science to discover knowledge while warning against the God-of-the-Gaps explanations. Then, he explains the two types of miracles seen in Scripture: those that are divine timing and those that are violations of the natural. Overall, God sustains natural processes, but, as the master composer, he has the ability to perform miracles as well.
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.
Dissonance and Harmony
People hold clearly discordant points of view, and it would be dishonest to ignore the conflict. Yet some voices emphasize the dissonance without any note of harmony to put it in context. Too often, science and faith becomes a hostile battle of worldviews, sounding angry, dissonant chords even among fellow Christians. But civil, gracious dialogue is possible.
Series: Medieval Christianity and the Rise of Modern Science (2 entries)
Historian of science James Hannam writes that the notion of inherent conflict between Christianity and science is a pernicious myth. In fact, by the middle ages, science already had a central place in Christian centers of learning. Indeed, it was a Christian worldview that proved especially compatible with—even necessary for—the rise of modern science. In this two-part essay, Hannam describes the conditions in the West in the medieval period that set the stage for the spectacular advance of science in the centuries to follow.
Christianity and the History of Science (Infographic)
The BioLogos Forum is pleased to present this infographic about the relationship of Christianity with science throughout history. It debunks the myth that they have always been in conflict, and it reveals numerous examples of Christians playing a leading role in the development of natural science.
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)
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.
Series: Let's Not Surrender Science to the Secular World (7 entries)
In this series, Mark H. Mann rejects the polarization of science and faith, claiming that this separation actually causes elements of Gnosticism to rise up among Christian fundamentalists. In reality, secular knowledge is never purely objective, but has and continues to be influenced by particular world views. He calls Christians to reclaim the scientific endeavor as a means for revealing the “Book of Creation,” which ultimately will enable us to read God’s Word more accurately.
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".
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.
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.
In the Middle of Things
During the medieval era, as we can see in examples from three different fields—science, theology, and literature—people were interested and engaged. They were not shrouded in darkness and anti-progression, yet for centuries the period was characterized in this way.
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