Origins News Round-up for December 6, 2013
This week’s Origins News Roundup features highlights from a recent conference of evangelical theologians, exciting human fossil finds, tell-tale lice, and a few words from the Pope.
“It’s tempting to think that the church needs to decide quickly which of these [original sin] scenarios is right, and which ones must be wrong. I believe the church is better served by taking its time, holding several different scenarios in tension for a while as we think through the implications of each.”
What’s the evidence for the idea that God exists or doesn’t exist? I think anyone who’s looked at that would conclude that the strong atheist position of saying, "I know there is not God" is not an easy one to sustain.
Once we recognize that no one takes the text literally, and that we have often failed to account for the details in the text regarding the time of day, we can begin anew to try to understand the text as an ancient text rather than as a modern one. As such, we must begin with the idea that the text operates in the world of omens, not the world of physics and astronomy.
“For a few moments, it felt like our little church community was surrounded by glory. The wisdom of Christ in the hypothalamus was illumining the wisdom of Christ in the prophets and gospels.”
What can a practicing scientist in the 21st century—even a "bench scientist" like me whose scientific forays are confined to a laboratory—glean from a 19th century wanderer like Thoreau?
In this series, James Kidder provides an intriguing study on transitional fossils and the evolutionary history of modern humans. He begins by discussing the fossil record, explaining how new forms are classified. He then explains the physically distinguishing trait of humankind—bipedalism. From the discovery of Ardipithecus, the earliest known hominin, to the australopithecines, the most prolific hominin, Kidder focuses on the discovery, the anatomy, and the interpretation of these ancestral remains.
Zoologist Steve Roels shares a summary of his experiences listening and talking with the scientists in attendance at the Third World Summit on Evolution and also offers a reflective essay and poem about evolution, psalms of praise, Darwin, and the islands that so inspired him.
Considering my own stance on the satisfying harmony of science and faith, you might be surprised to find on my shelves nearly everything written by Richard Dawkins (including “The God Delusion”) and my late friend Christopher Hitchens (including “God Is Not Great”). One must dig deeply into opposing points of view in order to know whether your own position remains defensible. Iron sharpens iron.
How do metaphors impact the dialogue between faith and science? We might start by asking: what are the framing metaphors at work in the current debates? Even using the word “dialogue” here suggests an implicit metaphor that frames my approach to the relationship between faith and science. Imagine substituting “dialogue” with “war;” that would conjure a completely different metaphorical framework.
Its questionable treatment of science and scientists—with an attack mindset and a goal to make scientists look stupid—causes me to advise extreme caution. Bluntly, I see this video as counter to our evangelistic mission.
This series, by Old Testament scholar Richard S. Hess, was first published as an appendix to Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove: IVP Academic; Nottingham: Apollos, 2011).
Listening to his story I had to remind myself that Phil was an atheist, not a seminary student recalling those who had inspired him to enter the pastorate. As the narrative developed, however, it became clear where things came apart for Phil.
With so many issues to discuss, Christians can easily get the feeling that science is always attacking the faith. It is essential to balance such conversations with positive responses to God’s creation. After all, the primary response to the natural world in the Bible is to praise the God who made it.
My Hawking-induced crisis of faith spurred me to move beyond a "God of the gaps"—a shrunken deity enlisted merely to fill any remaining pockets of mystery that science has yet to illuminate. Indeed, my experience has been that recapturing the doctrine of Creation in its scriptural fullness points us toward a much more exciting understanding of creation. It points us toward a God for whom science is a gift rather than a stumbling block. And perhaps most importantly, it points to a Creator God who is worthy of worship, enjoyment, and trust.
Over the next few months, with permission from Yale University Press, BioLogos will offer edited versions of chapters from John Polkinghorne's best books, Belief in God in an Age of Science and Theology in the Context of Science, in order to help readers delve more deeply into some of his most important ideas.
We need to hear stories from others who have wrestled with evolution and Christian faith. What arguments made them change their views on science? How did they hold fast to their relationship with God? The essays in this series will eventually comprise a book, provisionally titled, “Evolving: Evangelicals Reflect on Evolution.”
These excerpts from Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, written by BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma and her husband Loren Haarsma, offer a sampling of the book's many topics, from exploring our disagreements and agreements on origins as Christians to explaining scientific processes to looking at how we read Genesis.
Christian theology asserts that humans are spiritual creatures, a unity of body and spirit or “soul,” integrated, not reducible downwards to mere matter or upwards to mere spirit.