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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: Recovering the Doctrine of Creation: A Theological View of Science (7 entries)

Robert C. Bishop explains that many believe two things about creation: that the universe was created out of nothing by God and that he accomplished this in six days. This overly simplistic view does not do the robust Doctrine of Creation (DoC) justice, and it unnecessarily hinders much of the dialogue between evolution and Christianity. Bishop “recovers” the DoC by exploring the limitations of creation, God’s sovereignty in the process, God’s Trinitarian activity and ongoing purpose for his creatures, and the salvation of creation in space and time.

 

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.

 

Series: Searching for Motivated Belief (12 entries)

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.

 

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.

 

Still Surprised by Easter

We now take for granted an understanding of the Christian story that was largely worked out by Paul and later theologians. Even though the Gospels were composed after Paul’s letters, they were concerned to tell the story itself in all its strangeness as it had been preserved by the first generation of Christians. And what we find in the stories themselves is the shock and wonder and surprise that the resurrection caused.

 

Creator of the Stars at Night

The God who created the cosmos is the God who came to us as a child in Bethlehem.

 

Series: David Lack and Darwin's Finches (4 entries)

Not only are evolution and biblical faith compatible, but committed Christians have been at the forefront of evolutionary science ever since Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. This series looks at David Lack, an ornithologist and devout Christian who contributed greatly to the understanding of Darwin's finches.

 

Exodus, the Plagues, and the Cosmic Battle

It is obviously important to spend a lot of time discussing the scientific data. But it is also important to deal with the biblical data. Why? Because our expectations about the Bible affect how we handle the scientific data.

 

Does Science Have Room For Miracles?

If we accept a scientific view of the world in which fixed physical laws hold true, how can we believe in miracles? After all, miracles are a suspension or interruption of these laws by God.

 

Series: Reviewing "Surprised by Scripture" by N.T. Wright (3 entries)

 

What Americans Think and Feel about Evolution

The new Gallup survey shows in broad strokes the challenge we face. But more nuanced surveys find that only 8% of Americans are convinced creationists whose beliefs are dear to them, and only 4% are convinced atheistic evolutionists whose beliefs are dear to them. The vast majority of Americans are not sure of their position and are open to a conversation.

 

Series: From the Dust (13 entries)

In this series, Ryan Pettey offers several clips from his powerful documentary "From the Dust". This feature-length film is divided up into various sections, each of which wrestles with the difficult problems that arise when reconciling Scripture with the theory of evolution. A light of hope dawns on the science-faith conversation, however, as scientists and theologians engage in honest dialogue about tough issues such as the interpretation of Genesis, the nature of the Fall, and the idea of random design. Their profound insights are sure to enlighten all minds, raise deeper questions, and provoke new thought.

 

Are We Genetically Predisposed to Believe in God?

This entry was originally posted on February 13, 2010. 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”.

 

Stochastic Grace

I was raised in a household of atheists. My parents were card-carrying members of the American Communist Party, and therefore the atheism in my household was quite close to the militant anti-theism of the so-called “new atheists”.

 

Series: What I Wish My Pastor Knew About... The Life of a Scientist (5 entries)

Andy Crouch examines the life of a scientist based on his experience of walking alongside his wife Catherine, an experimental physicist. That relationship has shown him that a life in science is a journey “into a set of virtues,” of cultivating a specific character suited to the particular demands of research and investigation. Crouch's hope is to persuade pastors and others in the church to prayerfully support the scientific endeavor as a reflection of God’s image in humankind as well as offers some suggestions for ministering to their needs.

 

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!

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