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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.

 

Series: Made in the Image of God: The Theological Implications of Human Genomics (4 entries)

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: Decoding ENCODE (8 entries)

The BioLogos Foundation explains to the findings of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project and responds to the claims that its discoveries challenge the theory of evolution, especially regarding so-called "junk DNA".

 

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.

 

Possibilities and Second Chances

In today’s video, Dr. Rick Colling states that evolution is not merely the imposition of death and destruction and survival of the fittest. Rather, it is about second chances.

 

Series: Understanding Evolution: Is There “Junk” in Your Genome? (5 entries)

One of the challenges for discussing evolution within evangelical Christian circles is that there is widespread confusion about how evolution actually works. In this installment on “junk DNA”, we explore how genomics can be employed to test for non-functional sequences by comparing sequences between related organisms.

 

Where is the Genetic Evidence for Evolution?

The discovery of DNA has revolutionized our understanding of common descent, particularly in the past few decades. Mutated genes spread through populations over generations, leading to evolutionary change. In this podcast, we look at several examples of genetic evidence for evolution.

 

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".

 

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

 

Series: Evidences for Evolution (7 entries)

This technical series, co-written by Darrel Falk and David Kerk, looks into the evidence for evolution in order to dispel doubts that people may have about this well-supported theory. They look at three things specifically: the separate methods which reveal of the age of the earth, the unfolding history of whale evolution, and finally the common trends of heart development in vertebrates.

 

Series: Signature in the Pseudogenes (3 entries)

This brief series explains the significance of pseudogenes. Darrel Falk and Dennis Venema demonstrate how the theory of common descent provides a fine framework in which to interpret the existence of these once-functional genes. They also discuss the relationship of various primates and other mammals based on shared pseudogenes. The evidence in support of evolutionary theory, they argue, is compelling when examining the rich history disclosed in the DNA of every organism.

 

Signature in the Synteny

In some ways, comparing the DNA sequence between related organisms is like reading alternative history novels. The hypothesis of common ancestry between similar organisms makes a very straightforward prediction about their genomes...

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