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Saturday Science Links: October 18, 2014

Collection of the best articles of the past several weeks on science (and faith) from around the web.

 

Series: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes (5 entries)

In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.

 

Series: He Who Has Ears (4 entries)

Scholar and musician Jeff Warren addresses the questions of how music is meaningful, and where that meaning resides, by looking at the popular ideas that musical meaning is entirely subjective to the listener and that the meaning of music can be universal. He also explores the recent trend of attempting to explain music via neuroscience. Finally, he looks into the reasons why music continues to play such a critical role in the worshiping life of the Church.

 

Series: Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography in the Bible (8 entries)

In this six part series, Brian Godawa takes a closer look at cosmography and its relationship to the Bible. After defining cosmography as a theory that describes features of the heavens and the earth, he relates how his own views about the universe have shifted. He then continues to talk about the Mesopotamian cosmography that is so consistently reflected in Scripture. This view of the universe includes aspects such as the firmament, the pillars, the underworld, the heavens above, the watery abyss. He then explains how one understands these concepts in terms of modern scientific thought.

 

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.

 

On the Creation Account

To understand and apply Genesis 1 correctly, we have to consider issues of genre and intention. Too often these chapters are read as if they present a purely straightforward historical and even scientific account of cosmic and human origins.

 

On Myth and Meaning

In this video, John Walton talks about ancient myth and how we might better understand it if we think about its intended functionality—that is, myths were a way to explain a culture’s origin and universal significance though they lacked the advances of scientific discovery.

 

N.T. Wright on Understanding Ancient Texts

In this video Conversation, N.T. Wright emphasizes the importance of understanding the context of biblical texts in order to know whether to read them as literal or metaphorical narratives.

 

Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context: An Introduction

It has been my experience that many Christians have not given sufficient thought to how the Old Testament was composed––that is, to the "human" side of the inspiration of Scripture.

 

Revealing God's Nature

In today's video, Brian McLaren discusses the value of considering Scripture in light of the cultures that surrounded them. The Biblical writers were aware of the myths of the power nations that surrounded them, but flipped their stories on their heads to reveal truth about God.

 

From the Dust: The Book of Genesis

It is our sincere hope that, above all else, the film can become a focal point for some of the big questions that inevitably arise at the intersection of science and faith.

 

Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography in the Bible

Brian Godawa looks at several aspects of ancient cosmography (descriptions of the universe) that also appear in the Bible, and what these aspects of the text mean for our understanding of Scripture.

 

Science, Scripture, and the Creation Narrative

In these two brief video Conversations, John Walton discusses the problem of trying to integrate ancient scripture with our modern worldview.

 

The Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context

"As a Christian and a biblical scholar, I care both about Scripture as truth and about the ongoing scholarly conversation regarding the composition of the Hebrew Scriptures. And so, when I was asked to speak on the story of creation in Genesis 1, I welcomed the opportunity to give my thoughts on the interaction between this text and its ancient Near Eastern context."

 

Adam is Israel

It helps us look at the Adam story from an angle that might be new to some readers here: Adam is the beginning of Israel, not humanity. I imagine this may require some explanation.

 

On Genesis 2 and 3

In this video Conversation, N.T. Wright explores how the ancient Jewish audience read Genesis before and up to the time that Jesus arrived. He asserts that readers of Genesis today who focus simply on the number of days of creation and whether there is evidence in the text pointing to an old or new earth—are in effect not reading the complete text.

 

Understanding Genesis

John Walton offers some important reminders in this video with regard to how we should approach a reading of the book of Genesis. While it is a text that is written for us—in the sense that it was written for all people in all times and places—it was not written to us.

 

The Firmament of Genesis 1 is Solid but That’s Not the Point

Genesis 1 and 2 tell the story of creation, and it says things that are at odds with what modern people know to be true of the world and universe around us. One of those issue concerns the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8), where God made the "expanse" or the "firmament".

 

Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution

Professor Denis Lamoureux presents the theory of evolutionary creation, which claims that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe and life through an ordained, sustained, and design-reflecting evolutionary process. The view of origins, says Lamoureux, fully embraces both the religious beliefs of biblical Christianity and the scientific theories of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution.

 

Reconciling Science With Scripture

In the ancient world people were inclined to be much more interested in issues like order, functions, roles and general operations than in the material stuff of the physical world. Because of this, even their thinking about creation is more focused on the functional rather than the material.

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