12 July 2010

Socinianism in Lab Coats

by Phil Johnson

Scripture has been the first casualty of BioLogos's efforts to "reconcile" science and Christianity. Precisely what kind of Christianity are they selling? And how much more are they willing to sell out to scientism?



et me say this as emphatically as possible: My main objection to the BioLogos agenda is theological, not scientific.

Evidently I need to underscore that point, because every time the subject comes up here, our comment-threads swarm with zealots who are keen to debate about geology, paleontology, astronomy, the fossil record, the age of the earth, or whatever—as if my criticisms of BioLogos were scientific rather than biblical and doctrinal. To date, not one person who supports the BioLogos agenda has even acknowledged (much less replied to) the real point we've been making.

So I'll say this once more: What concerns me most about BioLogos is not merely the enthusiasm with which they champion theistic evolution (bad as that is). I haven't complained about their baffling opposition to the simple, obvious teleological arguments of the "intelligent design" community. And what spurred my objections to their campaign has nothing to do with the old-earth/young-earth conflict per se.

But my greatest concern—by far—is the blithe willingness with which they are prepared to trivialize, disregard, discard, or denounce the foundational doctrines of Christianity.

In every post I have made about BioLogos, I've been critical of two things in particular: 1) their relentless assault against the authority of Scripture, and 2) an attitude toward the doctrine of original sin that ranges from utter indifference to condescending dismissal.

The authority of Scripture and the doctrine of original sin are, of course, bedrock truths of all historic Christianity; they are not merely Reformed or evangelical distinctives. (Nor are they trifling "exegetical molehill[s]," as Peter Enns suggested in his reply to Al Mohler.)

The serious doctrinal problems raised by the BioLogos campaign don't end with those two issues, either. As I pointed out in an earlier post, if the BioLogos team applied their Genesis hermeneutic consistently to the gospel accounts and the resurrection narratives, they would soon relinquish every essential element of the Christian faith.

Of course, they haven't gone there. I don't expect they will. Demythologizing Scripture to that degree would utterly discredit them among whatever constituency they have cultivated on the "faith" side of the science/faith divide. But issues like those certainly deserve more attention (and more input from truly conservative theologians) than BioLogos has yet allocated space for.

Incidentally, BioLogos's notion of "leading evangelical theologians" is revealing. Their theological headliners are men like Peter Enns, Greg Boyd, and N. T. Wright, not one of whom is truly evangelical in the historic sense of that term. Enns was dismissed from Westminster Seminary in August 2008 for his low view of Scripture. He and most of his supporters protested at the time that his views had been misrepresented and that he had been treated unfairly. But his contributions to BioLogos furnish ample proof that he did not, in fact, agree with Westminster's doctrinal standards. Boyd, of course, is well known as a cheerleader for Open Theism, which denies both the true omniscience and the immutability (not to mention the sovereignty) of God.

Having blended a low view of Scripture with an implicit denial of original sin, with a humanized view of God, and with a skeptical stance toward the miraculous elements of Scripture, BioLogos is actually peddling a brand of religion that has much more in common with Socinianism than with biblical and historic Christianity.

Some of the scientific specialists at BioLogos make no profession of faith at all, as far as I can determine. I'm thinking, for one, about "Francisco Ayala, the former Dominican priest who went on to become one of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists." I wonder: did he leave the priesthood because he lost his "faith" completely? According to the New York Times, "Dr. Ayala will not say whether he remains a religious believer."

“I don’t want to be tagged,” he said. “By one side or the other.”

Let's face it: statements of faith aren't really a BioLogos "thing." The organization has no formal doctrinal standard and (as far as I can tell) no real theological boundaries at all. Everything is negotiable. Scripture is rarely if ever defended. Evangelical truth is not proclaimed at BioLogos. What does get aggressive promotion and a vigorous defense is anything that undermines a high view of Scripture. And why not? Open Theism, Sadduceeism, and neoorthodox notions about inspiration and inerrancy are rooted in the same kind of skepticism that underlies BioLogos's treatment of the early chapters of Genesis.

Here is the closest thing to an official statement of faith you'll find on the BioLogos website: "We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God." Really? Perhaps if we posit an infinitely flexible definition of the word inspired, a claim like that might have a some thin thread of credibility. But search and see for yourself: BioLogos's website is full of articles attacking the accuracy, believability, authority, and verbal inspiration of Scripture. I can't find a single article where any of the contested claims of Scripture are defended against the attacks of secular materialists.

But here is what "faith" really looks like in practice at BioLogos: "I have no interest in preserving Christianity . . . I believe because, as I understand it, it makes sense of human experience. But if it turns out that Christianity fails to do that, I’ll simply turn elsewhere"—Kenton Sparks, BioLogos blogger.

BioLogos says their goal is to integrate the findings of science with Christian Faith. But let's face it: on the "faith" side of the chasm, BioLogos is almost entirely bankrupt. Whatever BioLogos is peddling, it isn't Christianity. It isn't faith of any kind. It's scientism masquerading as faith—but lacking in spiritual, philosophical, and intellectual integrity.

To be more precise, it's a sterile hybrid of scientism and Socinianism. That's why the BioLogos crew frankly aren't interested in defending what the church has affirmed for 2000 years. Their real goal is to marginalize key features of Christian belief and biblical truth that scientists have disputed for the past 200 years. On close examination, BioLogos looks very much like a campaign against Christianity, funded by a hefty Templeton grant. In effect, that's precisely what it is.

I'm not suggesting that's the conscious intent of all BioLogos's key participants. While I despise what they are doing, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to motive. Still, whatever their motives, what they are actually doing is destructive to genuine faith and subversive of the authority of Scripture. It is not something that deserves the support of faithful Christians.

And this is the key point: You can't legitimately claim to be trying to reconcile science and the Christian faith if your methodology entails systematically dismantling the very foundations of Christianity.

Phil's signature



PS: BioLogos's ambivalence toward original sin is curious, because there's no doctrine in all the Bible that comes replete with more empirical evidence. Not that I recomend the methodology, but if someone wanted to subject a Christian doctrine to scientific analysis, it would be hard to think of a better place to start. To quote Chesterton:
Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin—a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some followers of the Reverend R. J. Campbell, in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street.

173 comments:

Mike Riccardi said...

...every time the subject comes up here, our comment-threads swarm with zealots who are keen to debate about geology, paleontology, astronomy, the fossil record, the age of the earth, or whatever...

Goes to show what authorities they do and do not appeal to as valid sources of knowledge. Theirs isn't a Christian epistemology.

We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

Wow. So I guess they just don't like what God's said.

BioLogos's ambivalence toward original sin is curious, because there's no doctrine in all the Bible that comes replete with more empirical evidence.

Genius.

wordsmith said...

Excellent post! The enemy's attacks have always started with "Yea, hath God said....?"

Say no more. It is evident where this type of thinking comes from.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Believing in an "inspired" Word is much different than believing in an inerrant Word. But one cannot use the word "inerrancy" these days without being accused of "flirting with fundamentalism," as the young Phil was warned about all those years ago.

Mike said...

Incredibly well written my brother! 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love. I pray that the Father continues to use you greatly to this end!

donsands said...

Great post. Thanks for putting this together.

The key to science and the Gospel is the truth of the Gospel. Christ was born of a virgin, He was named Jesus, because He came to save His people from their sins. He lived a perfect life, without sin, and was then crucified, predetermined by God the Father, and Jesus rose from the dead three days later. Not to mention He was still on earth for 40 days, until He ascended into the heavens, and Heaven.
Jesus will come again to judge the wicked, and seperate the sheep from the goats. A terrible day for unrepentant sinners, and a glorious day for believers.

If my science doesn't fit with these truths, then there is human error somewhere.Humans have been known to get things wrong.

But the Word of God is true, it is eternally true.

olan strickland said...

Phil: BioLogos's ambivalence toward original sin is curious, because there's no doctrine in all the Bible that comes replete with more empirical evidence.

If one doesn't believe in original sin then all he needs to do is watch his children or grandchildren at a very early age manifest their connection to Adam!

DJP said...

“I don’t want to be tagged,” he said. “By one side or the other.”

Really doesn't work as a paraphrase of Romans 1:14-16, does it? Except by way of antithesis.

Steve Gentry said...

Tim Keller has a more balanced view in his paper titled Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople.

Keller is one of the leading PCA ministers in the nation, pastoring Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC.

DJP said...

I think it's uncommonly kind of Peter Enns so thoroughly to vindicate his former employer's decision to let him go.

Luke Leppla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

A good word. I knew BioLogos had jumped the shark when I read Sparks's anti-inerrancy rant. What does that have to do with bringing science and faith together? I responded to his article at my blog.

Phil Johnson said...

Steve Gentry: "Tim Keller has a more balanced view in his paper titled Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople.

The question of whose view is more "balanced" hinges entirely on which tightrope one is trying to walk. In my assessment, Keller seems to have an almost pathological attraction to the via media when dealing with any issue the world finds distasteful. Of course there's not really a tightrope there at all; just a yellow stripe.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Excellent post, Phil, but then they all are.

What ever happened to taking God at His Word? It seems it has to be filtered through man’s crippled intellect to be accepted, but God will not be subjected to edit by poor, fallible, sinful creatures. He answers to no one. I like God this way. :)

I hope everyone will get the chance to listen to John MacArthur’s sermon yesterday, he said something very interesting (which I will paraphrase). He talked about taking God’s Word at a supernatural level, without having any track record of reliability with it, without having any past experience in trusting Him. (Please check it out for exact wording).

This is so true and SIMPLE it seems to escape some of the most enlightened minds of our day. God’s Word should **EVEN** go without explanation to us, the Words He breathed out are final, righteous, and will live eternally. End of questioning God for me at least; I take Him at His Word.

I am glad you are exposing these errors over at BioLogos, Phil. It is REALLY sad to think that young people interested in the sciences will be influenced by their unfortunate, distorted slant.

God bless you for this post and many others like them.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Phil Johnson: "Whatever BioLogos is peddling, it isn't Christianity. It isn't faith of any kind. It's scientism masquerading as faith—but lacking in spiritual, philosophical, and intellectual integrity. Still, whatever their motives, what they are actually doing is destructive to genuine faith and subversive of the authority of Scripture."

Excellent post! This rebuke and warning by Pastor Phil Johnson is a public example of Titus 1:9 in loving action.

Tom Chantry said...

An intriguing side-note, and trust me: this is going to be on topic.

I met a guy on Saturday who told me about his conversion from Catholicism. He was raising his kids in the Catholic church, having grown up there himself. Somehow he got the idea that as a dad he needed to know enough to teach his kids, so he started reading them the Bible. Then one of his kids came home from Catholic school with a pamphlet from a religion teacher entitled, “The Genesis Myth.” And of course his kid said, “Dad, I thought you said Genesis was the truth!”

So he started digging. He discovered that none of the other parents, few of the teachers, and not even the nun who was the principal of the school knew what the church taught about creation, but when he talked with the priest, he was told, “The church teaches that you can’t take the Bible too literally.” He didn’t quite know what that meant, but he came to two conclusions: The church didn’t believe the Bible, and the people in the church didn’t know about it. He had to leave, because, as uncertain as he was about what he believed, he couldn’t see the point of being a “Christian” if you didn’t believe the Bible. Only later did Bible-believing Christians introduce him to the gospel of grace.

Obviously the same situation is developing in “Evangelical” churches today. The comparison raises some questions:

What sort of witness is it when we assure the world that just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we believe what the Bible says?

What point is there, indeed, in being a non-Bible-believing “Christian”?

If we don’t doggedly believe what the Bible says, how exactly are we going to hold onto the gospel of grace, a message which runs counter to every instinct of natural man?

At this point, just what distinguishes Evangelicals from Rome? From Mainline Protestantism? From vaguely religious quasi-theism?

Chris said...

Mike:

"Theirs isn't a Christian epistemology." At the risk of sounding too simplistic or stating the obvious, I would just add that such is the case because they are absolutely and clearly not Christians. Nobody who loves Christ and the inerrant truth of God-breathed scripture could, without severe conviction from the Holy Spirit which would ultimately lead to a resignation, be a part of this organization.

So, what we have here is a scientific and/or an academic organization, to be sure, and even one with some folks who have impressive credentials by worldly, ivory tower standards; okay, I'll give them that. HOWEVER, a Christian organization?? Who are they kidding? In the tragic state of our evangelical climate today, apostates like these can deceive even themselves for quite some time, with truckloads of support from the deceived lost within churches and other so-called "Christian" institutions of higher learning.

As Biologos continues to pave the road to perdition ever so smoothly, through the overturning and undermining of foundational truths in Genesis, academic and pastoral heretics of every stripe will be the first to drive down this highway (to hell) with innumerable falsehoods they have been itching to advance for years. Indeed, they will surely be indebted to this organization for their efforts to remove those obstacles that stand in the way of their idea of "progress," namely genuine faith, the perfect inerrancy of the Scriptures themselves, and a firm belief in the absolute truths--regarding all matters and doctrines pertaining to God, life, and the universe--as revealed in the Scriptures.

Fred Butler said...

Tim Keller has a more balanced view in his paper

"Balanced" is code word for, "he's not a meanie who calls their views heretical."

David said...

I would hope Alan Jacobs would chime into this discussion. His book "Original Sin" from a few years back. But in "The Narnian", he compared how the magician/wizard of old would wear the white coat to advance his authority and further confound the masses. He added that Lewis thought the same was being done today by scientists, physicians, etc - all bowing to Science first, donning the priestly white lab coat as their garment.

Mr. Fosi said...

Thanks, Phil, for these posts. They are edifying to my faith, even if they are light on science. It seems to me that this is the proper order to go about it; faith first, science second.

Habitans in Sicco said...

"Tim Keller has a more balanced view"

Perhaps. But John Cleese has an even MORE balanced view.

Chris said...

Mr. Fosi:

Oh, for the days of old when theology was called the "queen of the sciences"

on that note...

Phil:

Thank you for this series of posts, and for your particular approach to them, as it is clear that you are properly caring for the queen of the sciences after the rebellious, academic elite have dethroned her and usurped her authority.

Chris said...

Fred:

yep...."balanced" (like "nuanced" or "charitable") is sadly one of so many once-good words that have been hijacked and stolen from the English language by postmodern masters of wordplay...then subjected to redefinition.

Jordan said...

I really enjoy BioLogos. I'm a scientist and it is always interesting to see how other Christian scientists are dealing with the issues they face. Darryl Falk and Pete Enns in particular seem like bright and gracious guys.

Even though I'm not convinced that they're road is ultimately the right one in all areas, BioLogos is contributing to the faith-science dialog in a way that I think will bring scientists in to an actual discussion, which I think is vital.

I didn't like Dr. Ayala's posts either but I also don't think they're exactly representative of many of the BioLogos contributors and readers.

Just because BioLogos is pushing the boundaries of Evangelicalism (and maybe falling over them at times) doesn't mean they aren't Christians or worth dialog with. I feel that they have some pretty good criticisms that conservatives need to take on and figure out.

Eric said...

Jordan said: "...BioLogos is contributing to the faith-science dialog in a way that I think will bring scientists in to an actual discussion...".

Since science seems to rule the day at Biologos, it is easy to see how scientists will be attracted to their discussions. It seems to be that Phil has on a number of occasions pointed out that Biologos is continually defending a high view of science while fostering a low view of Scripture. So, their version of a "faith/science dialog" seems to tilt toward scientists and will undoubtedly appeal to scientists.

Frank Turk said...

My great and wise friend Phil said:

Of course, they haven't gone there. I don't expect they will. Demythologizing Scripture to that degree would utterly discredit them among whatever constituency they have cultivated on the "faith" side of the science/faith divide. But issues like those certainly deserve more attention (and more input from truly conservative theologians) than BioLogos has yet allocated space for.

I think this over-estimates the concern these fellows ("a graduate student of a university or college to whom an allowance is granted for special study") have for the definition of "Christian faith" as "something which is defined by God thru history" rather than "an ethical or moral vision by which meaning and values are cultivated, subject to current intellectual and social tastes."

I suggest that it is obvious already that they do not want the faith of Justin, Athanasius, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Owen, Wesley and Spurgeon (let alone the faith of Paul, Peter and James). They just don't have the moxie to say it outright.

Jim Pemberton said...

Phil: Spot on.

Johnny Dialectic: Regarding "inspired versus inerrancy", that's a fine but important distinction. Thanks for bringing it up. I'm going to have to remember that one.

Mike Riccardi said...

In my assessment, Keller seems to have an almost pathological attraction to the via media when dealing with any issue the world finds distasteful.

Oh, he's just engaging the culture, contextualizing, and being missional.








:-)

Chris said...

Jordan:

"Just because BioLogos is pushing the boundaries of Evangelicalism (and maybe falling over them at times) doesn't mean they aren't Christians or worth dialog with. I feel that they have some pretty good criticisms that conservatives need to take on and figure out."

Ahh...dialogue. I remember when that was once a good word before postmodern relativists took hold of it. Anyhow, as for the content in your comment above, I would suggest that the "boundaries of evangelicalism," as you say, have not only been "pushed" already by liberal theologians, apostate churches, and/or academics, such boundaries do not even exist on the evangelical landscape any longer. The crowd at Biologos is simply one more manifestation of people, with a low view of God, setting up camp together on the borderless evangelical wasteland. They are simply one more group of heretics redefining Christianity to meet the demands of their own doubts, skepticism, and fancies rather than submitting to the sovereign and magnificent God of inerrant Scripture and the universe. I'm curious about the basis upon which you can declare they are Christians. Phil Johnson, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler and others here have thoroughly and clearly demonstrated that Biologos is not merely "pushing the boundaries" (whatever that means) of Christian beliefs, but they are intent upon marrying pagan evolution with Christianity, which are entirely incompatible. For one to even desire such an unholy union between light and darkness reveals much about their souls and/or whether or not they are believers at all.

As for "good criticisms," there are countless self-professing atheists/pagans in universities everywhere who have "good arguments" if the basis of a good argument is that of worldly wisdom and human rationalism; that, I'm afraid, is all they really have at Biologos as they hide behind the technical jargon of their particular scientific areas of expertise. Fine, why don't they just admit that is exactly what they are and that is exactly what they have?? Just like their admittedly pagan colleagues, they can stick to the business of attacking the Scriptures (and the God of the Scriptures) openly and without confusion. BUT....Christian? Please.

Phil Johnson said...

Jordan: "Just because BioLogos is pushing the boundaries of Evangelicalism (and maybe falling over them at times) doesn't mean they aren't Christians or worth dialog with."

What does it mean, then? How far does an organization need to go with a relentless attack on the authority of Scripture and the very foundations of Christian belief before we decide that its true agenda is actually hostile to biblical and historic Christianity?

To be clear:

1. As I've argued, BioLogos is not merely "pushing the boundaries of Evangelicalism (and maybe falling over them at times)." I can't think of a single evangelical distinctive they have ever boldly proclaimed and defended against the attacks of rationalistic materialism.

2. When I use the word evangelical here and in the above post, I'm using the word in its historic sense, having to do with the core truths of the gospel. I'm not speaking of "the evangelical movement" in the broad (and fundamentally meaningless) Jimmy Swaggart / Pat Robertson / Brian McLaren sense. Let's be clear on that.

3. My criticism is leveled at the agenda and drift of BioLogos as a community. I don't believe they are truly standing for anything distinctively biblical and Christian. But I'm not making any judgment on the question of whether this or that individual BioLogos participant is regenerate or not. Some of them may be. Collectively, they are working against gospel truth, not for it.

DJP said...

Jordan, I notice that you don't substantively contribute the the "faith-science" "dialogue" or "discussion" here at this blog, by actually interacting with the many specific and documented concerns Phil has lodged through his posts on Biologos.

(Saying, "But... I like them! I'm a scientist!" isn't really substantive interaction.)

Jordan said...

Phil:

From everything I've seen, the guys (and gal) at BioLogos affirm the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the core of the Gospel, the need for salvation, that it comes through faith in Christ, etc.

I agree the inerrancy thing is troubling, but so much so that you would say they work against the Gospel and against Christ?

1) I think they would individually defend most, if not all, evangelical distinctiveness. As an organization I don't think their primary purpose is evangelistic or apologetic per se. I would love to see them do more regarding the New Athiests and such but I think that hardly disqualifies them as a Christian community.

2) That's fine. Again, I think they're pushing some boundaries in some areas but I wouldn't say they've abandoned the core of Evangelicalism. I realize that you probably disagree.

3) Well, I'm glad you agree on an individual level, I would disagree about your assessment of the community but I can see where you're coming from. BioLogos started out with a strong scientific bent. I'm hoping they can get a more conservative theologian on board to balance things out a bit better.

Jordan said...

DJP:

Indeed, I just found this blog not too long ago. I will try to participate as I can. I personally find this blog a bit confrontational and aggressive but I'll give it my best shot. I think you guys offer a valuable perspective, I just wish it was a little more "gracious" I guess towards other views. I know you hold your views dearly and I applaud your conviction, I just don't have a lot of energy for really emotional debates at this point.

Phil Johnson said...

Jordan: "From everything I've seen, the guys (and gal) at BioLogos affirm the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the core of the Gospel, the need for salvation, that it comes through faith in Christ, etc."

Feel free to point out "everything [you]'ve seen" in that vein, because I think you are assuming something that is nowhere stated on the BioLogos website, while willfully downplaying and closing your eyes to the egregious way they have attacked the very foundations of faith and the authority of God's Word.

Indeed, I documented the fact that one of their contributors, a former priest, refused to tell the NYT whether he is an atheist or a believer, because he doesn't want to get "tagged." If your confidence in BioLogs's intentions can remain high in the face of facts like those, I think you are lacking in basic discernment skills.

Jordan: "Well, I'm glad you agree on an individual level.

I didn't say I "agree"; I said I would refrain from making judgments I'm not qualified to make about the state of individual hearts. By no means should anyone read that as a softening of my stance against what BioLogos has already made clear they stand for--as well as what they oppose.

Chris said...

P.S. (Jordan)

Just to clarify my previous comment a bit: I agree with Phil's distinction entirely--between Biologos as a group verses the individuals within it. My comments are directly aimed what the organization proudly declares about itself collectively, it's mission, it's "contributions" to Christianity, and it's general objective. If there are believers there, what anguish and oppression they must be under! What prayer they need! I can relate to such a dilemma because I was a faculty member for a period at a once-Christian university that is sliding deeper and deeper into apostasy. As I walked the around the campus or found myself engaged in conversations with colleagues, my heart was grieved at so much that I can only describe as blasphemous in nature...by professing Christians. What shock and what pain it was to see the precious name and authority of the Lord God dragged through the mud of rationalism and worldly cultural relativism!

Just as I thought then about the people I worked with at that California institution, I can also say now about this group: I need not concern myself with each individual's standing with God, as only the Lord can know this, but I can certainly make absolute, crystal-clear judgments about the product they produce, the means by which they produce it, the declared mission behind the means, and their defense/endorsements of it.

As Phil affirmed, Biologos is collectively producing a product, as it were, that is undermining Biblical, orthodox Christianity. So, once again, I ask how a true believer could remain there without being in anguish? I'll simply leave it at this question. Perhaps they get paid well and they are not in a position to make a transition; they need to pay the bills to support their family and they feel stuck. In such a case, what prayers our brothers and sisters in such circumstances need! I mean that seriously. However, seems to me this is likely not the case for such talented and educated folks. So, again, why are they there and why are they committed to marrying evolution with historical Christianity? Once more: not drawing conclusions about individuals here, just asking questions.

TruthStands said...

Jordan,

As one who has made the mistake of wasting over a week of debating the issue from a biblical (not scientific) standpoint on BioLogos' blog, I can tell you that BioLogos is not evangelical in any sense. Sure, some contributors might be, but not BioLogos.

When an organization's mission and philosophy are being defended by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and who knows what else who have a different gospel, you know that organization is missing some important distinctions.

The lack of biblical authority and ability to utilize any standard evangelical hermeneutics by contributors and commenters is staggering.

The willingness (and excitement) to subject Genesis to the grid of demonic paganism is frightening (a la John Walton).

And the way most commenters mock any kind of fundamentalist view of Scripture is disheartening.

Pooka said...

I'm not even a layman scientist. Not enough brains installed to get all the ologies involved in the Biologos debate. I have no solid education in either side of the debate as far as science goes.

Since Team Pyro started this series, I've taken a little time to try boning up on this stuff and here is what is apparent to my small mind.

For the most part, the Young-Earth-Creation-not-Evolution set is simple, immediately agreeable with Scripture, understandable and straightforward.

The Other set is complicated, obtuse, filled with references to references in order to explain particulars, hard to read and understand and is perpetually conflicting with plain reading of Scripture.

I'm not a scholar, as I said, but I think that, with my uneducated but (by God's grace) faithful eye, one (Real-Scripture-Creationism) seeks to comply with what Scripture says and the other (BioLogos, et all) either doesn't care or is actively opposed.

I can't play in the sandbox with these incredibly smart people but I just wanted to say that I hope the little folk who read this series realize the difference between the antagonists here and that Scripture becomes even more sufficient to them as it has for me in recent days.

donsands said...

"Collectively, they are working against gospel truth, not for it." -Phil

When the truth is watered down, sin is not so wicked, and Christ's death for filthy sinners like us doesn't carry the awesomeness of our forgiveness.

Eric said...

Jordan said; "I don't think their primary purpose is evangelistic or apologetic per se".

Their purpose certainly is apologetic, they just prefer to offer an apologetic for science and not for (but rather at the expense of) the Bible, Biblical Christianity, and the gospel of salvation.

Jordan said...

Phil:
Well, I certainly wouldn't take Ayala as being anything near typical for BioLogos. I wish they did a bit better job of distinguishing "guest" posts as not necessarily representing the position of the organization as a whole. I think it's interesting to see the different point of views.

I can't speak for BioLogos of course but Pete Enns and Darell Falk I know have said that they affirm the literal/historical incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'm fairly sure Karl Giberson and Kathryn Applegate would as well. I certainly agree with everything they say but I do consider them brother's and sister's in Christ and so try to treat them with that respect.

Chris:
You asked: "So, again, why are they there and why are they committed to marrying evolution with historical Christianity?"

I think the answer is simply because they believe so passionately about both. Does that make them apostate? I don't think so but it seems you maybe do. I guess we have the freedom to think differently on that, I just hope we can do that in a gracious and loving way.

I've been on campuses a fair amount of my life. I have seen a lot of people who stumble over science-and-faith and evolution in particular when considering Christianity. At this point I'm not sure if BioLogos and it's method will be a good way to go or not. Their theology troubles me greatly, but for the sake of the gospel (and I think the true Gospel of Jesus Christ) it is worth at least exploring and talking about. I'm pretty sure God is bigger than BioLogos or any such organization so I think as we follow Him things will shake out.

TruthStands:
I can see where you're coming from. I personally don't think it's quite that bad and for me it's been worth the time to read and engage. I don't think that Catholics and Eastern Orthodox people are part of the conversation means that BioLogos is automatically not Evangelical. There can be points of agreement even if there are also large points of disagreement. Bottom line a lot of Christian scientists are trying to deal with the New Athiests and their not as aggressive atheistic colleagues.

Chris said...

Hey pooka,

Don't let their degrees or areas of expertise intimidate you. From the brief comments you've stated here, it seems you have far more understanding and reverence than they do about true Christianity and spiritual truth--the only real truth in the entire universe!

You also seem to possess far more fear of the Lord in your humility than they do in arrogant posture against the truth. The following verses come to mind:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge"
- Proverbs 1:7

"professing to be wise they became fools" - Romans 1:22

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
- I Cor. 1:18

"Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe" - I Cor. 1: 20, 21

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" - I Cor 1:25

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
Wisdom From the Spirit
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began."

I Cor 2: 4-7

Jordan said...

Eric:

I would disagree. If you view BioLogos as the scientist apostates as some seem to, then science *needs* no apologetic. However, I don't believe that but rather think that BioLogos is probably most useful apologetically as a way to get scientists into discussions about Christianity.

However, I do wish BioLogos would offer up more of an apologetic for Christianity in the face of "scientism" and not worry so much about the internal fights within Christianity.

Eric said...

Ouch. How's that dialog thing working?

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/485753-biologos-don%E2%80%99t-tell-people-that-genesis-is-fiction

Eric said...

Jordan,

From what I've seen, Biologos is more interested in getting Christians into discussions about science, not the other way around.

And, science by definition needs an apologetic, because that is the business of science, namely providing an explanation and defense of theories or findings.

Chris said...

Jordan:

You write:
"I think the answer is simply because they believe so passionately about both. Does that make them apostate? I don't think so but it seems you maybe do."

The Lord Jesus says:
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other" --Matthew 6:24

You ask: "does that make them apostate?" Let me answer with a question for you: "how does holding that divided position make them a Christian in any way?" I guess, according to your comment, just as long as they have "passion" for both, it is all okay. According to this reasoning, why not a passion for Christianity and...the occult?

One who has a "passion for both" (light and darkness) cannot possibly know and love the EXCLUSIVE truth of God--cannot possibly, in any remotest fashion, love Christ!

Randy Talley said...

I believe BioLogos' mission is clear: marginalize any biblical reference that disagrees with their view of science. I have yet to read anything there that treats any biblical passage seriously. I wonder if they think they'll win people over by simply sounding academic. They remind me of the higher criticism crowd repackaged for a new century.

Contrast that with physician (a first century scientist, perhaps?) Luke, who very simply and directly details Jesus' legal ancestry all the way back to - *gasp* - Adam (Luke 3:23-38).

And what is BioLogos' answer? From what I've read, they believe that all ancient societies were a bunch of ignorant, superstitious - but agenda-driven - buffoons who couldn't tell the difference betweeen allegory and historical fact.

And then there's Jesus. He didn't need to mention Adam by name when He told the Pharisees that God's design for marriage had not changed since "He who created them from the beginning made them male and female" (Matt. 19:4-5). And I can't help but believe that Jesus knew exactly what He was talking about.

Jordan said...

Eric:

Hmmm, maybe it's because I'm a scientist but I've always felt that BioLogos was light on the science and more heavy on the theology/philosophy end. Kathyrn Applegate has done a few more science-based posts recently but beyond that much of the science has been assumed.

I wasn't saying that science doesn't need an apologetic. I'm saying that I don't think BioLogos is trying to provide one, because it is assumed. I believe this is because a major audience (maybe the primary audience, I don't know) of BioLogos is scientists. I could be wrong on here but that's my impression anyway.

Rob Bailey said...

Jordan,
Your statement (No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other") contradicts our Lord's statement in Matthew 6:24-
"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. There is just no way because the basis of evolutionary "science" is to figure out a way to excuse us of our sin, and deny the existence of God. The father of evolutionary science is love of sin. The father of loving sin (and lies) is Satan. There is no reconciliation. That is the problem with Biologos; serving two masters.

Rob Bailey said...

Jordan, sorry I pasted the wrong comment; but now I can't find it. Something about being passionate about science and Scripture.

Eric said...

Jordan,

I don't mean to say that they delve into science to the extent or level of detail of a scientific journal or conference, or something of that nature. Rather, I think you are seeing the observation by myself and others that their main thrust is unmistakably a defense of science as they understand it, and not a defense of the Bible. The fact that they intertwine philosophical musings with this defense of science does not change their thrust.

I suspect we will have to agree to disagree on that. I am a scientist as well (using a perhaps broader definition), having been trained in the natural sciences and working in a natural science field. I find most of the Biologos writings to exhibit a greater faith in man and science than they do in God and the Bible. And make no mistake about it, it takes a great deal of faith to swallow evolutionary theory.

Jim Pemberton said...

"I wasn't saying that science doesn't need an apologetic. I'm saying that I don't think BioLogos is trying to provide one, because it is assumed."

That's interesting. Perhaps they could try assuming the accuracy of the unchanging scriptures instead of the current popular trends of the scientific establishment. You don't neutralize acid by adding more acid, you have to counter it with a base. Just a thought.

Jordan said...

Chris & Rob:

So science is inherently "darkness"? That doesn't make a lot of sense. You are totally right that a Christian should not try to serve two masters, but that goes for anything. I think it is a legitimate concern if scientists put science ahead of God, just as any other job or passion. What I was trying to say was that the motivation for scientists to try to get a better handle on how science and Christianity are supposed to work is because they have a passion for both. That doesn't mean they are equals, just a motivation for the pursuit.

Eric:
I agree with your first paragraph for the most part. I do think they're trying to defend both science and the Bible, just to different audiences maybe. They are trying to defend mainstream science to Christians and defend Christianity to their fellow scientists. It's a very difficult task, but I do think they have the Gospel of Christ in mind.

Jim:
I don't think it's quite that easy but I know what you're getting at and agree with you largely.

all:
I need to get back to research so I probably won't have much more to say today. I will try to check back later.

Halcyon said...

Phil Johnson:

Mr. Johnson, you get super-extra-bonus kudos for quoting Chesterton. 8^D

Rob Bailey said...

Jordan

First, there is a huge difference between science and evolution. Evolution is a faith based religion. Science is the study of creation. So science is not inherently dark. What I said is,"There is just no way because the basis of evolutionary "science" is to figure out a way to excuse us of our sin, and deny the existence of God. The father of evolutionary science is love of sin. The father of loving sin (and lies) is Satan. There is no reconciliation." Not science; evolutionary science. You must qualify what type of science you are speaking of in the context of this conversation.

A true, biblical love for science comes from the desire to know the Creator, not the creation. We see the wonderful, incomprehensible, things we see in creation.

The evolutionary scientist and the strict fundamentalist are both presuppositionalist. The question is on what do you base your presuppositions. I'd put all my hope in the revelation of God as opposed the guesses of man.

By the way, I try to worship to masters every day; (myself, Adam; and the new Adam, our Lord. And I do fail miserably most of the time.)

Rob Bailey said...

Halcyon-
we need to create a "Facebook" page called "Theology Wars." Calvin just iced 250 Arminians, and wrote 700 pages.

Chris said...

Jordan:

For a researcher, you sure seem to miss key words in what you read. I said marrying Christianity with evolution, not science. The evolutionary view is indeed darkness--it opposes the fundamental tenets of the faith in Genesis. The evolutionary movement, from Darwin on, has been a long war against the God of the universe. Now, I'll save you some time (from research & all) and state what I know you will reply to my comment with: "evolution (somehow) IS science, right?" Wrong. It is not; it is a highly ideological, philosophical, and speculative worldview and/or belief system. It is a religion. True science, on the other hand, if used by true Christians, can be very helpful in observing God's sovereign order when it takes a back seat to the inerrant Scriptures.

Eric said...

"A true, biblical love for science comes from the desire to know the Creator, not the creation."

Very well said, Rob.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan said...

Chris:
Sorry, when you said:
'One who has a "passion for both" (light and darkness) cannot possibly know and love the EXCLUSIVE truth of God--cannot possibly, in any remotest fashion, love Christ!' I thought you were referring to science in general because that was I was referring to when I said "passion for both". I reread your comment and see where you earlier referenced "darkness" as evolution in particular. My bad.

As to whether evolution is science or religion, I doubt there's much point in debating it. I mostly agree with you but I'm not convinced yet that it is completely void of merit. I've been reading young-earth, old-earth, and intelligent design literature for most of my life and most of it still doesn't seem quite there in terms of scientific merit. Things just don't quite fit right presently, even if one takes the proper presuppositions. Perhaps it's lack of funding or man-power, maybe at some point things will be different.

David said...

Could someone define "science" for me?

Chris said...

Jordan:

You seem determined, almost entitled somehow, to understand with concrete certainty God's creation. I'm not being sarcastic when I ask you where you arrived at the notion that we, in our finiteness, are expected, permitted, or even capable in the least of truly understanding God's created universe. This is the folly of (unbelieving)scientists; they are not content with observation of creation and faith in the divinely inerrant word of God. This posture is right next door to arrogance for every scientist; for some, like the haughty crew at Biologos, arrogance against truth of God's word was merely their starting block.

Bobby Grow said...

I think BioLogos has really really failed to deal with the first order assumptions that underlie the "interpretation" that leads to evolution. It is completely naive to believe that we can make this distinction between the *material* world (thus empirical science); and the metamaterial (or metaphysical) --- the latter informs and shapes the former.

Evolution is problematic because it is based upon a metaphysic that is “materialist” in orientation (i.e. that matter is all there is, was, or ever will be). Not only is it problematic for the pagan — because it supposedly provides an intellectual framework for atheism — but it is even more problematic for folks who try synthesize or blend Christianity with evolution. It seems rather simple to me to see why this should cause problems; it should cause problems because Christianity is based upon the belief (or metaphysic) that there is more than matter, that there is a Creator who stands above matter and in fact created matter. This means that the ground for Christian thinking is necessarily at odds with the basis of evolution. All the Christian is left with, who tries to synthesize evolution and Christianity, is a hybrid view that resembles neither what evolutionary thought looks like; nor what the Christian basis depends upon for thinking through issues of origins of life and creation (and natural history).

I understand why guys and gals who are Christians and academics are drawn to trying to engage in this kind of “synthetic” work; I just don’t think it is really tenable, given the mutual exclusivity between the two “competing” paradigms (of evolution and the Christian understanding of origins and the Divine fiat — i.e. that God creates ex nihilo, or “out of nothing”).

I agree with Phil on this; all things are "Theological" --- the reason this is so is because we are all *created* in the imago dei (image of God), and the vacuum that has been created by this reality and the "Fall" leads to interpretations that ultimately magnify man (or "god" Gen. 3) instead of God (so evolution, which "starts" with the material and ends with the *material*).

BioLogos is out to lunch.

Bobby Grow said...

I think BioLogos has really really failed to deal with the first order assumptions that underlie the "interpretation" that leads to evolution. It is completely naive to believe that we can make this distinction between the *material* world (thus empirical science); and the metamaterial (or metaphysical) --- the latter informs and shapes the former.

Evolution is problematic because it is based upon a metaphysic that is “materialist” in orientation (i.e. that matter is all there is, was, or ever will be). Not only is it problematic for the pagan — because it supposedly provides an intellectual framework for atheism — but it is even more problematic for folks who try synthesize or blend Christianity with evolution. It seems rather simple to me to see why this should cause problems; it should cause problems because Christianity is based upon the belief (or metaphysic) that there is more than matter, that there is a Creator who stands above matter and in fact created matter. This means that the ground for Christian thinking is necessarily at odds with the basis of evolution. All the Christian is left with, who tries to synthesize evolution and Christianity, is a hybrid view that resembles neither what evolutionary thought looks like; nor what the Christian basis depends upon for thinking through issues of origins of life and creation (and natural history).

I understand why guys and gals who are Christians and academics are drawn to trying to engage in this kind of “synthetic” work; I just don’t think it is really tenable, given the mutual exclusivity between the two “competing” paradigms (of evolution and the Christian understanding of origins and the Divine fiat — i.e. that God creates ex nihilo, or “out of nothing”).

I agree with Phil on this; all things are "Theological" --- the reason this is so is because we are all *created* in the imago dei (image of God), and the vacuum that has been created by this reality and the "Fall" leads to interpretations that ultimately magnify man (or "god" Gen. 3) instead of God (so evolution, which "starts" with the material and ends with the *material*).

BioLogos is out to lunch.

donsands said...

"..maybe at some point things will be different." -Jordan

The Gospel will always be true. The Word is eternally true.

What do you think of Jesus dying for the sins of His people, and then rising from the dead three days later? And all who are in Christ will live forever forgiven in the blood of Christ, and those who have not trusted Jesus Christ will be judged and condemned to eternal destruction?
Doesn't this help us settle some of the confusion?

Pooka said...

I rethought some of my think earlier and I think came up with a better thunk:

Salvation: By faith. Faith in Christ. Not by works.

Belief in Creation: By faith. Faith in God's Word.

Evolution/old-earth stuff: Faith in what one guy said about another guy who has some odd reference to a mathematical thingy that doesn't seem to arrive at a destination but defers resolution to yet a 14th source wherein some obtuse reference to the Bible or Christianity may be found.

Bible teachers bolster my understanding of the Bible when I listen to them and then study, increasing trust in the Word.

These science teachers can't = Bible teachers because they require an increasing dependence on THEM for understanding and no return to the Word of God for validation.

Coram Deo said...

Phil said: Enns was dismissed from Westminster Seminary in August 2008 for his low view of Scripture. He and most of his supporters protested at the time that his views had been misrepresented and that he had been treated unfairly. But his contributions to BioLogos furnish ample proof that he did not, in fact, agree with Westminster's doctrinal standards.

Which thing explains why Pete Enns can be seen in a video at BioLogos in his "Paul's Adam" series where he essentially attributes a first century ignorance of the human genome sequencing project to the Apostle Paul's affirmation of a literal Adam.

Poor Paul was simply under misguided first century delusions about the historicity of Adam, and so he went with the flow when he wrote.

Mind you, Enns went to painful lengths in the short 2-minute clip to attempt to protect Paul from being portrayed as an outright liar; he simply wrote as a baffled first century man who believed certain myths were true facts, but of course at the end of such an argument we still find an overt assault on the inspiration of scripture.

Either Paul was writing infallible truth as he was carried along by the Holy Spirit, or he was mixing some analogical/allegorical "truths" with some of his own personal mistaken assumptions, having believed and inscripturated the cleverly devised fables of men contra 2 Peter 1:16.

You really can't have it both ways, either God's Word is true, all of it, or it isn't. Abandoning the historical-grammatical hermeneutic leads to unbelief.

It's simply a question of ultimate authorities.

In Christ,
CD

Barbara said...

In light of what you have just pointed out, CD, this article (found at the link you pointed to) is truly frightening.

Barbara said...

....or, "frightful" would be a better word than "frightening", since I do believe in (and trust) a Sovereign, Omnipotent God in all things - even these kinds of things.

Jordan said...

Chris:
I am certainly aware of the finite and limited nature of human knowledge. My point was certainly not to suggest otherwise.

Rather, I'm suggesting that given the literal Biblical hermeneutic of young-earth creationism, there are still quite a few scientific and interpretive questions that come up both within the Bible and without. Even if YEC is perfectly correct, there is a lot of interpretive and scientific issues that need to be worked on.

I don't really have the time or preparation to do a full scale discussion of YEC and evolution, etc. so I think I've said about all I'm going to be able to for this thread. Hopefully there will be more posts that I am able to contribute to.

donsands:
Those are indeed profound truths. I'm not sure if it helps confusion regarding Creation per se but it certainly helps to ground us in God's truth.

Garrett said...

I agree with the meat of Phil's objections here, though I believe evolution is valid scientifically. It's a shame Biologos had to take the low road on scripture; I literally cringe each time I see a new "After Inerrancy" post. Sigh, now all my conservative buddies will NEVER be open to what they have to say on science, and perhaps rightfully so. Oh well. Maybe someday.

philness said...

Funny. I was thinking how sweet it is to have something settled as truth after being wrong about something for so long.

A couple of words come to mind. Impediment. And a new one I just found looking up Impediment. Diriment, as in diriment impediment.

You know before truth is had there's always some obstacle that just can't get dislodged from within our thinking process. And when it does become loose and free we discover only then it was a hindering obstacle. A hindrance that kept us ignorant and perhaps for a long period of time. And it may have well cocooned itself up in protection and even skewed other parts of our thinking process further delaying truths sweetness.

Perhaps if the prefixed word bio were to be dropped from the name BioLogo's the sweetness of THE Logos would be seen.

WORD

Gilbert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gilbert said...

S'funny. See: I AM a scientist; an atmospheric scientist, to be exact. And I shake my head to hear of these arguments for a low viewpoint of God and true Biblical Christianity. Several years ago, Project VORTEX was supposed to help solve the problem of how tornadoes form. Instead, most people, including the top scientists involved, openly admitted it answered a few questions...but basically asked a thousand fold more as the data was pored over. And with VORTEX2 now done with as of last month, I am reasonably assured that a similar fate awaits. Particularly since over the last two years, either there was little severe weather (2009), or in some cases, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or couldn't get to where they needed to go due to traffic.

Biologos: take a hint.

one busy mom said...

Phil: excellent post!

Jordan:
You seem to be having trouble reconciling science and faith, and although I'm the theological lightwieght here, I'm going to dive in with some suggestions. I too love science. I grew up with science. My late father was a very highly esteemed scientist in his field both in the US and abroad.

Here are some tidbits I've gleened:

We only know a small percentage of the facts that can be known & some of what we think we know we've actually misinterpretted.

Let's compare this to a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We'll generously say we know 10% of all that can be known - so we randomly pull out 100 pieces from the box. Now, since some of what we think we know is not correctly interpretted - take 15 of those 100 pieces and replace them with random pieces from other puzzles.

Now, do your best to arrange those pieces without ever looking at the picture on the puzzle box. Then extrapolate and try to recreate the original picture. Chances are the results will be interesting, well thought out, and appear correct...but chances are even better that it won't look much like the actual picture.

As Christians, we have a huge advantage - we have the box with the picture on it: the Bible. So we can look at the current arrangement of puzzle pieces and say "nah - this part here or that over there just doesn't work".

We shouldn't get upset or defensive just because the pieces don't match the picture. Seriously, without the picture what would the odds be of it ever matching? Nor should we be so foolish as to throw out the picture cuz it didn't match the current arrangement of the pieces! (As BioLogos appears to be willing to do) Instead, we should get really excited when the pieces and the picture differ- that's where discoveries are waiting to be made!

Once, when looking over some of my dad's many patents, I asked him how he knew where to look to make new discoveries. He said that was really "the million dollar question" for any scientist, but the best place to start was where there were discrepancies - where things didn't add up.

God says to prove Him, and see if He's true. He will never be found to be a liar. As believers, we need to trust that He meant what He said, take His Word literally, and have the courage to rearrange the puzzle pieces to fit the picture - not vice versa. Because of the nature of some of the areas of discrepency, I'm firmly convinced some of the most dramatic discoveries have yet to be made: but they won't be made by those who already believe they have the answers.

Mike Riccardi said...

As Christians, we have a huge advantage - we have the box with the picture on it: the Bible. So we can look at the current arrangement of puzzle pieces and say "nah - this part here or that over there just doesn't work".

Beautifully illustrated.

Yet, think of how sad it is that some people who would actually name the name of Christ as their Lord, look to nature and 'science' as their puzzle box, and the Word of God as the puzzle pieces that need to be arranged.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

On being scientifically relevant:

‎"relevance has a false allure that masks both its built-in transience and its catch-22 demand. Dean Inge captured the transience in his celebrated line 'He who marries the spirit of the age soon becomes a widower.' But it was Simone Weil who highlighted the catch-22: 'To be always relevant, you have to say things which are eternal.'"

Jordan said...

Garrett:
I cringe as well, it has not been a favorite post series of mine to say the least.

one busy mom:
Interesting analogy. Here are some thoughts:

1) science is cumulative and not random. In the puzzle analogy this would mean there are big puzzle pieces and small puzzle pieces, and as we are give puzzle pieces one-by-one we try to fit the big ones together first and rearrange as we go. Even if you don't have a picture to go on, often you can make headway with the puzzle just by matching what you get with what you already have.

2) The Bible isn't really the picture in this analogy. The Bible may be inerrant but it is not exhaustive. I'm not really sure what the Bible would be in the puzzle analogy. It does act like the picture in a lot of ways, but it also is a puzzle as well in that it still has to be interpreted correctly. I would tend to say that God or New Creation would be the actual picture we're after.

3) I do like the puzzle analogy in terms of "this are the pieces as we see them now but maybe we need to rearrange them to get it right". I'm certainly not convinced that evolution/BioLogos is putting the pieces together correctly, but I see a lot of problems with the strictly literal/YEC puzzle arrangement as well.

Thanks for the analogy and discussion.

DJP said...

one busy mom — ditto what Mike said. That's an apt and telling analogy.

There are only two ways to approach any subject, and "science" is not an exception. One begins either with the assumption that God's word is necessarily true (John 17:17), or one begins with the assumption that God's word is not necessarily true.

The Christian asks "Which was Jesus' assumption?", and the matter is settled.

donsands said...

"I'm not sure if it helps confusion regarding Creation per se" -Jordan

My thinking the truth of Christ is our foundation, for He is a risen Lord, who reigns over this Earth, He created.

If we go backwards from Christ to the past, and follow Him back to "In the begining", then we find that there was a flood, and an Ark that Noah built. There was Earth full of wickedness, which God destroyed with this flood.
And these wicked people came from Adam & Eve, or first parents.

If we go the other way, and have science, as the world sees it in our day, as our foundation, then Christ won't fit.

Those are my pea brain thoughts.

I appreciate your sharing your thoughts.

Jordan said...

donsands:
Ah, I see what you're saying now. I certainly don't think by any means that Christian scientist should take science as the foundation over Christ. I would say that a few have done so unfortunately, but I think a great many have not. Instead the issue is many (I hope most/all) Christian scientists view science as a God-given tool with which to explore and harness Creation for the betterment of humanity and to the glory of God. So when it seems like science is telling a bit different story in some areas from what how we've interpreted Scripture, it causes many to pause and reconsider. Is the science wrong? Is my interpretation bad? Those are both real possibilities. Some have said the science is bad, many have said their interpretation is bad. What it doesn't mean is that it's an either/or. With heliocentrism we decided the interpretation was bad. On the other hand, the evidence for the reliability of the New Testament (which some scholars scoffed at) has really increased.

Reg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

David, I doubt you'll get your definition of science because it would either prevent three-quarters of the posters here and on MacArthur's blog from calling themselves scientists, or it would open the floodgates for everyone, including pets to be called a scientist. In these discussions I've heard the phrase "I'm a scientist." so often, followed by the most ridiculous drivel, that the term "science" seems to mean "between fifteen and twenty minutes of light, internet reading followed by abundant name dropping."

Pooka, move over buddy, you've got some company in the slow feller', faith is enough sandbox. I'm with you.

I would also like to point out that my word verification term was "pujab" which I just think is hilarious!

romey said...

Pete Enns posted an "interesting" article at Huff Post.

Does God Talk to Us through Fiction?

I actually was a student of Enns at WTS. He often talked about trajectories and how his Incarnational Analogy was in line with a Reformed trajectory. He couched this by showing us quotes from Warfield and Bavinck to illustrate that his views were similar to theirs.

Only after talking with some older, wiser folks did I discover the real problems in Enns' trajectory. Stuff like this undoubtedly proves their point.

Jim Pemberton said...

one busy mom: very cogent metaphor, apt and true.

And I agree with with the following comments explaining the foundational nature of Biblical truth. It's what is often misunderstood, overlooked, or intentionally skewed in these discussions.

Mike correctly pointed to the definition of science as being rather vague and oft unaddressed for clarity. To be sure, inasmuch as we think about who God is we may be generally classified as theologians. Likewise, inasmuch as we observe the observable world around us and make predictable assumptions based on the consistent properties that we see we can all be generally classified as scientists.

However, there is are classifications of theologians and ministers who are defined as those who are particularly studied and interact with communities of other such theologians and ministers. Likewise, there are classifications of scientists and engineers who are particularly studied and interact with communities of other scientists and engineers.

It's the distinctions between schools of presuppositional thought that are often at the heart of disagreement or even discredit between communities of scientists. So if we talk about what science is "valid" we get a different answer based on what community we use as our basis for scientific thinking. As it is, the naturalists happen to have the upper hand in popularity by virtue of their proliferation on the staffs of many schools and universities. So non-naturalistic science tends to be dismissed by most scientists as invalid, not because it's not science, but because it's not naturalistic.

BioLogos seems to have bought the naturalistic party line and are using it's presuppositions for defining what science is "valid". But orthodox Christian presuppositions are decidedly not naturalistic. Therefore science that uses the same presuppositions as orthodox Christianity looks different than naturalistic science. Naturalistic science cannot be reconciled with Christian orthodoxy. But there is a science that is integral to Christian orthodoxy.

donsands said...

"Is the science wrong? Is my interpretation bad?" -Jordan

That's where we end up don't we.

And we know there is only one true truth in the Holy Writ. Some of His truths are as the heavens are above the earth for me, but for the most part, the Bible is clear, even to a child.
God is so gracious and kind to give us His pure and simple truth.

Praise His holy name.

Nice chatting with you.

round.tuit said...

How can one define "creation" or "the beginning" without a miracle? Why not trust the Biblical account of creation?

Halcyon said...

I think the comment left by Gilbert (the atmospheric scientist) is the true money shot here. Everyone should take a moment to read it (it was posted July 12th @ 11:10 P.M.).

Science is a fine and dandy way to explore the workings of creation, but those who think that it can reach conclusive answers (in either an immediate or ultimate sense) have fallen into the trap of scientism, a trap that Gilbert has apparently avoided.

Scientists who say that their particular theory has given a conclusive and final answer to some question concerning the universe have ceased to be scientists and have become scientism-ists. Science cannot take us to Truth; it can only take us to some truths and many mysteries.

Jacob said...

That's because scientism requires presuppositions that contradict the Bible.

It's too bad "scientologists" is already taken, as that'd be the right term for those of faith in pseudoscience. =)

Rick Frueh said...

I do not believe reconciling science aqnd the Christian faith is our calling; especially when the New Testament says precious little about all of this; unless one believes that the 24 hour creation day et al is part of the irresistable calling of the elect.

The gospel.

DJP said...

Ri-i-i-ight. Because the reliability and perspicuity of Genesis 1-3 is unrelated to the Gospel.

Run away! Run away!

< /s >

Rick Frueh said...

The gospel is effective in areas and to tribes that have never considered the "reliability and perspicuity of Genesis 1-3". The gospel can stand alone.

DJP said...

Not really. As has been growingly understood over the last few decades, without the view of God, man and the world that Genesis 1-3 presents, the Gospel is pretty much meaningless.

I ought to write a book about that.

Wait --

Rob Bailey said...

@ rick-
Do you take Paul's comparison of Adam and Christ in Romans 5 as a metaphor, as literal, or...c'mon. Literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation has EVERYTHING to do with the Gospel.

Rob Bailey said...

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Heb 11:3

Coram Deo said...

Rick said: The gospel is effective in areas and to tribes that have never considered the "reliability and perspicuity of Genesis 1-3". The gospel can stand alone.

Specifically which areas and tribes do you have in mind as examples of this effectiveness, Rick?

In Him,
CD

David said...
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DJP said...

I'm saying so much for puerile sniping that doesn't represent a second's actual thought.

David said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

No delusions, either.

Grow up, get a brain, or move on.

David said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

Last chance, no-profile David.

This is a blog for grown-ups and people who are trying to become grown-up.

You can find limitless sites where your adolescent, paint-thin cliches and sniggers would be warmly embraced. Here, you have to think and engage for real, or you get shown the door.

One more of those from you, at any time, and you're permanently banned. That means nothing you write sees the light of day.

Your choice.

David said...

May I ask the following question?

You stated "without the view of God, man and the world that Genesis 1-3 presents, the Gospel is pretty much meaningless". I assume that the view that you are referring to is a young earth/global flood view. So, if it turns out that the earth is not actually young after all, what would this mean in terms of the meaning of the gospel?

David said...
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DJP said...

At this point, David, you'll have to invest more.

We've written a lot on it. You tell me: what is the Biblical answer to your question? What is the rationale behind that answer?

We'll start there. That's straightforward enough, if you've been reading and learning.

If not, the door you walked in through opens both ways.

David said...

"What is the Biblical answer to your question? What is the rationale behind that answer?"

I've read alot of possible answers to this question. This leaves me quite confused. I believe that you would say that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless. I assume that this is, in part, due to the references in the NT to OT events. Young earth, Adam as first human, global flood, etc., are all part of an interconnected whole of sin and the need for a sacrifice to pay for the sin.

However, I've also read many comments from those who think that if the earth is very old, it would have little impact on the meaning of the gospel. They have no problem with the idea that "Adam" could refer to some selected individual in an ancient population from tens of thousands of years ago. You can still have all of the sin and sacrifice parts without the need for a young earth or a specific historic Adam.

So, with so many answers to the question, I would conclude that the "Biblical answer" would be different for different people. I'm not being flippant. This is just what I've observed by reading many views on the subject.

Chris said...

David:

I'm sure you've probably heard the expression "fish or cut bait" right? Well, as I read the confused, troubled state of your soul expressed in both the tone of your comments overall and in your unwillingness to accept truth through faith, I think this expression applies. The middle ground is not an option, as you are either for Christ and truth or against Him. it IS really that simple.

David said...

Chris,

I would like to be certain that I understand your position. I don't want to jump to conclusions. Is it your position that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless?

DJP said...

Chris, allow me.

Fair enough, David, but here's how we'll go. If you've read and paid attention and learned from these posts, you should be able to answer.

How did Jesus treat the early chapters of Genesis? Be specific, please.

David said...

If I recall correctly, Jesus did not mention Adam by name, but said that one should believe what Moses wrote.

David said...

Need something more specific? Ok, I assume that you agree with these paragraphs stolen from the AiG website.

"Now, when we search the New Testament Scriptures, we certainly find many interesting statements Jesus made that relate to this issue. Mark 10:6 says, “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’” From this passage, we see that Jesus clearly taught that the creation was young, for Adam and Eve existed “from the beginning,” not billions of years after the universe and earth came into existence. Jesus made a similar statement in Mark 13:19 indicating that man’s sufferings started very near the beginning of creation. The parallel phrases of “from the foundation of the world” and “from the blood of Abel” in Luke 11:50–51 also indicate that Jesus placed Abel very close to the beginning of creation, not billions of years after the beginning. His Jewish listeners would have assumed this meaning in Jesus’ words, for the first-century Jewish historian Josephus indicates that the Jews of his day believed that both the first day of creation and Adam’s creation were about 5,000 years before Christ.1

In John 5:45–47, Jesus says, “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that one must believe what Moses wrote. And one of the passages in the writings of Moses in Exodus 20:11 states: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This, of course, is the basis for our seven-day week—six days of work and one day of rest. Obviously, this passage was meant to be taken as speaking of a total of seven literal days based on the Creation Week of six literal days of work and one literal day of rest.

We should also note the way Jesus treated as historical fact the accounts in the Old Testament, which religious and atheistic skeptics think are unbelievable mythology. These historical accounts include Adam and Eve as the first married couple (Matthew 19:3–6; Mark 10:3–9), Abel as the first prophet who was killed (Luke 11:50–51), Noah and the Flood (Matthew 24:38–39)... As New Testament scholar John Wenham has compellingly argued, Jesus did not allegorize these accounts but took them as straightforward history, describing events that actually happened just as the Old Testament describes.2

DJP said...

Just kind of busy, David. Not paid to do this, you know. I have a job.

So you're saying that is how you see it?

David said...

I have a job, too, but it's a slow time of the year for me.

How do I see it?

I think it's definitely easier to make the argument that Jesus thought the earth was only a few thousand years old than it is to make the argument that he had no opinion and/or thought the earth was very old. Still, I've seen plenty of folks make latter argument. I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just telling you what I've observed. I can't read ancient Greek and Hebrew, and I wasn't there to ask Jesus directly, so who knows? I sure don't.

Now, may I ask if I was wrong when I concluded that it is your position that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless? I believe that this is what you are saying, but I recognize that I could be wrong about this.

What about you, Chris? Is it your position that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless?

donsands said...

"if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless?" David

Here's my thoughts, FWTW.

You know, before there was a first day, the earth was covered with water. Where did this water come from?
Every drop of water on this Earth is the same amount as it has always been, no more and no less, right?

I was just thinking out loud a little.

Seems like it must be a about 6,000 years since God said, "Let there be Light". But before that, Not sure.

DJP said...

David, I appreciate your responses. Indulge me a bit more; I'll eventually answer straight up.

So Jesus saw Genesis as a historical narrative, is that what you're saying? If we read Genesis that way, what does it suggest about the origin and age of the earth?

(I probably only have one or two more questions beyond this.)

David said...

"Every drop of water on this Earth is the same amount as it has always been, no more and no less, right?"

Well, not quite. I believe that comets add to the total amount of water on Earth. Also, new water molecules are constantly forming via a variety of chemical and metabolic reactions.

"If we read Genesis that way, what does it suggest about the origin and age of the earth?"

If you read Genesis as historical narrative, it suggest that Earth is only thousands of years old and that all types of life were created in a few days.

donsands said...

".. comets add to the total amount of water on Earth."

What? Where do you get that?

"new water molecules are constantly forming via a variety of chemical and metabolic reactions."

You mean water grows; water begets water? If I take a glass of water and sit for a while, will there be more water in the glass?

Just asking?

Rick Frueh said...

If light was created two days before the earth was made, then the stars are only two days older than the earth if the days were of the 24 (+) hour variety and consecutive. But we see stars more than 6000 light years away, and in fact, we see supernova explosions millions of light years away.

So unless God implanted a light event that did not take place, that supernova exploded more than 6000 years ago.

David said...

"What? Where do you get that?"

Comets are icy. Those that enter the atmosphere of the Earth add water to the Earth's supply. There's plenty of debate about the amount of water delivered by comets, but I don't think that there is much doubt that comets deliver at least some water.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast18may_1/


"You mean water grows; water begets water?"

Er, no. I mean that oxygen and hydrogen can react to form water. Metabolism produces new water molecules by condensation reactions. Look it up. Your cells are making new water even as we speak.

donsands said...

"water delivered by comets"

How do they drop it off?

I make water?

I know I sweat, but that was already part of me from the water i drank, that God made.

Could the water be added to the world, so that there is another ocean of water?

I mean there is a lot of water here that God created.

I suppose He can add more. I'll be discussing this.

Interesting.

Thanks.

donsands said...

"If light was created two days before the earth was made, then the stars are only two days older than the earth"

I guess so.

The Creator of the stars, who knows them all by name, and who had no beginning, but always was, is three persons, yet only one person, and He became a embryo.

That's tough to believe, isn't it?

David said...

How do they drop it off?

The water is added when the comet enters the atmosphere.

"I make water?"

Actually, you do. When your cells link sugars together, fatty acids together, amino acid together, etc., (condensation reactions), this process also produces water. The survival of many desert species depends, in part, on this metabolic water.

DJP said...

Oh my gosh, you two; stop!

DJP said...

OK, David, back to you. And thanks again for your responses. Correct me if I'm inaccurate:

You say Jesus took Genesis as an accurate, historical narrative.

You say If you read Genesis as historical narrative, it suggest [sic] that Earth is only thousands of years old and that all types of life were created in a few days.

(I'd not say "all types of life," but originals or forebears of all types of life.)

Now this: give me, if you would please, a full sketch of what Jesus claimed concerning Himself. (After that, I anticipate one more question, then my answer.)

David said...

A full sketch of what Jesus claimed concerning Himself?

Umm, couldn't that take days, months or years? Haven't theologians been arguing over this for thousands of years? I don't think I have years.

So, let's take a short cut. Let's say that Jesus said he was God. Will that do?

Jim Pemberton said...

"So unless God implanted a light event that did not take place, that supernova exploded more than 6000 years ago."

You assume that the rate of temporal progression (time) is uniform. It is not.

You also assume that God would be trying to deceive us. A recent article by Triabloguer Steve Hays touches on this. I have to think that every miracle entails evidence of what we might consider a false history. But it's odd that people would think that God is trying to deceive us where he clearly tells us what he did otherwise. If we believe what he tells us, then God is glorified by demonstrating his power over the physical principles he created. If we don't believe him then it is not God who deceives us be we deceive ourselves.

It's as simple as that.

Chris said...

Dan:
Thanks. Your handling of David's question/reply worked-out nicely, as I'm afraid I posted just before lights-out last night and made an early departure this morning for the whole day with the family; it just so happens that we are on vacation up in the beautiful Yosemite Valley, wherein I've found myself in awe throughout the afternoon, of God's sovereign majesty in creating rock faces like Half Dome IN SIX LITERAL DAYS SOME 6,000 YEARS AGO! Just amazing and beautiful! Wow...what an amazing God we serve when we observe the wonder of His creation!

In thinking about this, I was so glad to know our God is not a God whose ways can be understood or accurately dissected by mere men, particularly evolutionary men in lab coats hoping to exploit and blaspheme every last aspect of His glory in order to stoke their own egos or to preserve/protect other heresies and false beliefs about Him they hold dear. Perhaps they, in their desire to please men rather than God, just hope to dazzle their pagan colleagues among academic/scientific elite? What could be so wrong with that??

Yet, with that said....the doctrines of justification and imputed righteousness (for a wretched sinner like myself)through the atoning death and resurrection of Christ----now THAT makes even the grandeur of God's sovereignty in a place like Half Dome pale in comparison (at least from my perspective as the ant looking upward to both of these things I couldn't begin to fully understand).

David:
I'm sorry I did not reply all day (see comment above to Dan). Now, in light of the shift I made from the OT to the NT in my comment above, and like Dan did when he asked you the questions he did today, it is quite clear that you have volumes of pre-canned answers to give when you approach topics pertaining to Genesis and/or science; indeed, this is your comfort zone and it seems to be where you seem to spend the most intellectual time getting all of your ducks in a row and keeping them aligned with folks at places like BioLogos. You all seem to have a well-rehearsed commitment--an apologetic of sorts--aimed at undermining the authority of the Scriptures and elevating the position of science (which is really just an elevation of man, as it is ultimately men who observe, test, repeat tests, hypothesize, and even conclude). So, in light of this, I'll say that I'd be far more interested in the full scope of all of your theology to see where your beliefs really stand (and thus compare to orthodox Christianity) than I am in hearing any more of these long pre-canned illustrations from your bag of scientific jargon. If all were known in this regard, I think my hypothesis regarding the spirit in which you write would be confirmed to me.

DJP said...

Yeah, David, after asking that I wondered what I'd get (or could fairly expect). I did say "sketch" as well as "full." Jesus said He was God. So we must load into that the attributes of God: eternity, truth, righteousness, wisdom, etc.

So Jesus, who claimed to be God (and thus eternal, true, wise, omniscient), found Genesis to be a historically-truthful document narrating the creation of the world out of nothing thousands (6, 10, who knows?; but not millions) of years ago.

So my final anticipated question: given the following choice, which would be the rational pick?

On the one hand you have (for the sake of argument only; this isn't accurate) the absolutely monolithic opinion of the entire "scientific" community, none of whom was present at Creation, working on finally-unfalsifiable assumptions of their own devising and with a fragment of the evidence at hand, that the world is millions, billions, maybe gazillions of years old.

On the other, you have the testimony of one who was an eyewitness, who was there when it happened, who not only knows everything exhaustively but knows the meaning of everything exhaustively, who is literally incapable not only of lying but of being wrong, that the universe was created in six days a matter of thousands of years ago.

Both cannot be true.

Which would be the rational choice on whose testimony to rely?

David said...

Chris,

Ok, I read all of your comment, but I don't think you answered the original question.

Is it your position that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless?

David said...

“Both cannot be true. Which would be the rational choice on whose testimony to rely?”

Ah, so that’s where you’re going. God is the only eyewitness.

Let’s see if I follow. Jesus is God. God was there. God says it happened in six day a matter of a few thousands of years ago, both in the OT through Moses and in the NT through Jesus. Therefore, that’s what happened.

Is this a fair summary of your argument?

So, now can I get an answer to the question? Is it your position that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless? The answer would certainly seem to be yes, but I don't want to jump to conclusions.

DJP said...

You're one answer shy. Re-read my setup, then the question was:

Which would be the rational choice on whose testimony to rely?

David said...

"Which would be the rational choice on whose testimony to rely?"

Well, that depends on whether or not Jesus is God, yes? And that's a mighty big and complicated question. It also depends on whether or not his words were correctly recorded and correctly interpreted. That another big question. So, it depends on a whole lot of things that will lead to a whole lot of comments and arguments.

That's why, for the moment, I'm stopping one question shy in the hopes that I can first understand your position with respect to my question.

DJP said...

I understand, but I didn't ask what you personally choose. I am asking, if that were one's two choices, which would be the more rational choice?

David said...

More rational? How can we answer that question until we answer the other questions I raised (is Jesus God, etc.)? Your two options contain too many questions and assumption to allow one to make a rational choice on the basis of the questions alone. For example, your one option says "you have the testimony of one who was an eyewitness, who was there when it happened". Do we know that this is an accurate statement? If it's not, then it's easy to reject the second choice.

DJP said...

I am really surprised that you're hitting such a snag, and wonder whether it points to what your real problem is.

Again, I didn't ask what you think now. I said, given those two choices, which would be the more rational choice?

If you won't answer that, then perhaps I won't answer your question either.

(Hm; this scenario sounds familiar....)

David said...

I'm sorry, but your second choice begs the question. It contains assumptions that must themselves be evaluated for accuracy.

However, if you insist, I'll take the first choice on the grounds that the second choice contains an assumption that is likely to be false.

Ok?

DJP said...

So: given the choice between ignorant, fallible liars on the one hand, and an infallible, omniscient witness who is incapable of lying... you'd trust the fallible, ignorant liars.

That's breathtaking. Astonishing. That is going to end up in sermons.

I may need a moment.

Jim Pemberton said...

One hallmark of the self-deluded is the failure to acknowledge the rationale of opposing presuppositions.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

David: "Well, that depends on whether or not Jesus is God, yes?"

David,

Are you a Bible-believing Christian who believes that Jesus is God?

David said...

Sigh. Ok, I see that you missed my point entirely.

So, do I get my answer now?

David said...

"One hallmark of the self-deluded is the failure to acknowledge the rationale of opposing presuppositions."

Er, could you be a little clearer?

Mike said...

What a lovely (and ridiculous) dance, all to avoid choosing a side.

Jim Pemberton said...

"Er, could you be a little clearer?"

It seems clear enough to me. I've often observed that people who are reasonably right about things consistently are able to correctly analyze opposing views from their presuppositional foundations. That's a huge reason why they are right: they've been able to dismiss other presuppositions as producing conflicting lines of reason.

But people who are wrong are wrong because they have some unspoken visceral presupposition that they try to justify with some ostensibly reasonable presupposition. The process makes it impossible to correctly analyze other presuppositions because they refuse to see the conflicts in their own system.

The members of BioLogos, for example, does not understand the conflicted nature of the presuppositions they are playing with because they have some other reason for drawing their conclusions.

That should have been reasonably conveyed by my one-liner.

Mike said...

I wanna play a game for a second. I want to apply the same hermeneutical methods used by the OEC crowd I've read between here and MacArthur's blog to something like, the virgin birth or the resurrection of Christ. Either of those are as miraculous in scale as creation so I could be wrong, but it seems a reasonable comparison.

(Hypothetical argument)
First let's look at the physical evidence. There is none. There is no physical evidence that Christ was either born of a virgin or raised from the dead. We have only the testimony of what is written in scripture and history. Something concretely unverifiable. In fact, conclusive evidence points to the fact that both, as presented, are impossible apart from a miraculous work.

Thus, it defies logic derived from the evidence. So we should revisit the interpretation to see if there isn't a way to reconcile these instances with known and accepted scientific principles. Parthenogenesis is the only way an actual virgin birth could have taken place. No matter how remotely probable, it exists in some invertebrates and lower plants and thus it establishes the only possibility. Aside from that, the only other reasonable interpretation is that the writers of the gospels either lied, or were lied to by their sources. Not to mention the impossibility of rising from the dead (especially doing it by your own will!) after 3 days of death. Again, either someone misheard, or someone lied.

Given this, wouldn't the Christian community have more credibility if we accepted what is visibly and evidentially apparent and reconciled the facts of Christology with science? After all, given that salvation is offered by God, and that He's not limited in what He can do, surely these concepts can remain symbolically and the gospel isn't affected.
(End hypothetical argument.)

Do you see the danger of interpreting scripture this way? It is a blatant lie. Satan said, "Did God really say...?" Then the experiment was conducted and the evidence showed that "depending on your interpretation" he was right...Adam and Eve didn't die in the implied way. Interpreting according to evidence rather than according to the full picture of scripture will always lead to individual heresies. We must accept scripture as the ultimate truth, evidence or not. We must interpret by comparing each piece with the whole...not with anything else.

*Does a little mind reading...*
How did I know you were gonna call this a straw man? I'm not setting up a sham argument or saying that this is what anyone is saying. (Though I have heard these arguments before.) I am merely applying the same method of logical analysis that I have seen used with Genesis, to the Gospels. So, close, but not quite. If I'm missing a difference between this and what is being done by the defenders of OEC, please tell me where.

Mike said...

PS I'm really sorry for hi-jacking the thread...I didn't realize the comment was that long.

David said...

Jim,

Sorry, but your extended comment didn't really clear thing up for me.

Coram Deo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coram Deo said...

DJP,

That last exchange was a veritable work of linguistic art. Absolutely beautiful.

Although the "mood" was somewhat sullied by your audience of one's unfortunate lack of appreciation.

When reading through the exchange something about bread/pearls and dogs/swine suddenly leapt to mind.

In Christ,
CD

David said...

Well, I guess it's beautiful if you're into games like "let's assume we have a can opener".

Coram Deo said...

Well, I guess it's beautiful if you're into games like "let's assume we have a can opener".

Based on your comments here I'm left wondering how it is you came to believe in such a thing as a can opener.

In Him,
CD

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

(2nd time asking)

David,

Are you a Bible-believing Christian who believes that Jesus is God?

David said...

TUD,

First, DJP has to meet his end of the bargin.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Have you guys agreed to some bargain?

And have you, David, fulfilled your end of the bargain?

And if so, then are you saying that Dan has not fulfilled his promise or end of the bargain?

Why would Dan have to fulfill his end of the bargain before you answer the straightforward question of

"Are you a Bible-believing Christian who believes that Jesus is God?"

David said...

This all started with a question that I posed to DJP. He said he'd answer, but only after I answered a bunch of his questions. So, we went through an exercise that really could have been much shorter than it was, because all he had to say at that start was that he thought he had an infallible witness. But ok, I answered the question anyway, and now it'ss his turn to answer my question.

Mike Riccardi said...

TUAD: Are you a Bible-believing Christian who believes that Jesus is God?

Clearly the answer to that question is "No," given David's own testimony:

Well, that depends on whether or not Jesus is God, yes? And that's a mighty big and complicated question. It also depends on whether or not his words were correctly recorded and correctly interpreted. That another big question.

It's actually not complicated at all, though"

"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"

David said...

Ok, since DJP may be busy, rather than let others fill in the blank, here's what I think.

Is it possible that Jesus is God? Sure, it's possible. I don't know enough to say with absolute certainty that Jesus isn't God.

Do I think it's likely that Jesus is God. No, I don't think it's likely.

Now, does that count as belief or non-belief? This question has always puzzled me. How does one calculate belief? What if one says that they think that there is a X percent possibility that something is true? What must X equal before we say that someone believes something?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

David: "Do I think it's likely that Jesus is God. No, I don't think it's likely.

Now, does that count as belief or non-belief?"


David, first of all, I'd like to thank you for answering my question. And to thank you for answering the question without waiting for DJP to answer your question.

Second, my hope and prayer is that one day, before you die, that you'll become a Bible-believing Christian who does believe with full faith and trust that Jesus is God.

Third, IMHO, to answer your question I think when you wrote "Do I think it's likely that Jesus is God. No, I don't think it's likely" I think that clearly counts as non-belief.

Hence, my comment above about hoping and praying that you come into salvific relationship with Jesus, savior and lover of your soul.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

David: "I'm sorry, but your second choice begs the question. It contains assumptions that must themselves be evaluated for accuracy.

However, if you insist, I'll take the first choice on the grounds that the second choice contains an assumption that is likely to be false.

Ok?"


Given where David is with Jesus (i.e., David does not believe Jesus is God), then it's quite understandable, coherent, and rational in a sense (although mistaken) why David would choose the first choice that DJP posited:

"So my final anticipated question: given the following choice, which would be the rational pick?

[1] On the one hand you have (for the sake of argument only; this isn't accurate) the absolutely monolithic opinion of the entire "scientific" community, none of whom was present at Creation, working on finally-unfalsifiable assumptions of their own devising and with a fragment of the evidence at hand, that the world is millions, billions, maybe gazillions of years old.

[2] On the other, you have the testimony of one who was an eyewitness, who was there when it happened, who not only knows everything exhaustively but knows the meaning of everything exhaustively, who is literally incapable not only of lying but of being wrong, that the universe was created in six days a matter of thousands of years ago."

David's choice is consistent with where he's at in his relationship with Jesus.

Coram Deo said...
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Coram Deo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Well, as Mike likewise affirms, the clear answer to the question of whether or not our friend David here is a believer is sadly a negative--by his own words and his failure to declare a side to Dan's excellent question regarding his position on the Lord Jesus Christ.

David:

Your contention is not at all about any of the "scientific" and/or intellectual details you address in your long comments (of which you may have even convinced himself through your rhetoric); no, this is spiritual for you and you may not even be aware of the depth of this dimension. Because I don't know whether you are part of a false religion specifically (beyond your allegiance to the false religion of science and/or evolution), or if you are actually either an agnostic or an atheist in disguise on this blog?? Whatever your mystery belief system happens to be, David, you have made it clear that you oppose Christ and his rightful, simultaneous position as both creator-God and savior to all who would believe.

David said...

Chris,

So, is it your position that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless?

Have to leave town until Sunday evening, but I check back then.

wordsmith said...

If you don't believe that Jesus is God, then the gospel is meaningless, regardless of the age of the earth. YEC, OEC, theistic evolution, etc. - all red herrings for one who reduces the deity of Jesus Christ to an unlikely possibility at best.

David said...

Just checking in. No answers yet.

wordsmith said...

Nope, no answers for red herrings.

David said...

Wordsmith,

I don't think you understand. DJP said, "indulge me a bit more; I'll eventually answer straight up". This is the answer I'm waiting for.

wordsmith said...

Don't worry; I do understand.

Ken Pulliam said...

Phil,

Your key point is: You can't legitimately claim to be trying to reconcile science and the Christian faith if your methodology entails systematically dismantling the very foundations of Christianity.

I would submit that if you change the last word from "Christianity" to "science" in the above statement, that would represent what you are doing. The fact is that the version of Christianity that you hold to is not compatible with findings of modern science. One or the other is wrong. You, I would imagine, hold to the findings of modern science in every area except where you perceive it contradicts with your version of Christianity and in those places you reject science. That seems to be inconsistent, though. If science is correct in every place except where it contradicts with your version of Christianity, then it could be (and most likely is) your version of Christianity that is in error.

Mike Riccardi said...

Ken,

It's a question of epistemological authority. Yours is science, not Scripture. Your conclusions reflect your presuppositions. Like Dan said, everyone's an inerrantist. We just differ in where we locate inerrancy.

DJP said...

Re. David

First, to correct TUAD's misreading of David. David was not asked whether he personally found Jesus more credible than a particular current scientific fad. That point was clarified for him repeatedly, and in so many words — for instance: "...I didn't ask what you personally choose. I am asking, if that were one's two choices, which would be the more rational choice?" (7:42 AM, July 16, 2010)

So it is important to note: David said that, if he could only choose between an eyewitness who knows all, understands all, is always accurate and never lies (on the one hand); and a witness that changes, lies, knows a fraction of what can be known, and is entirely fallible (on the other), he would choose the latter.

That's an interesting psychological/spiritual "reveal" on David.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

DJP: "That's an interesting psychological/spiritual "reveal" on David."

Okay.

Now David, what question is it that you say that DJP owes you an answer to?

And do you think his answer (should it come) will be an interesting psychological/spiritual "reveal" on DJP?

DJP said...

Second, as to Jesus, the Gospel, and creation.

Jesus is the heart of the Gospel. The Gospel is a call to believe in Jesus. Believing in Jesus necessarily requires believing Jesus.

So you can't say, "It doesn't matter whether fundamental parts of Jesus' teaching is in error," while at the same time preaching that Jesus is God incarnate, and thus the way, the truth, and the life.

So no, as we've pointed out about a dozen times (which makes the sincerity of the question suspect), you can't split off Jesus from the Gospel, and you certainly can't split off Jesus from Jesus.

Unlike the assorted fads variously called "Science," Jesus speaks from the perspective of absolute and exhaustive knowledge. There has never been, nor will ever be, a revision or correction to what He teaches.

Given that the Gospel is true, the current materialistic, uniformitarian philosophical house of cards hiding behind the lofty name "science" is nonsense.

David said...

DJP,

Is it your position that if the earth is not young, then the gospels are meaningless? Am I asking too much when I ask for an answer to the question?

David said...

...You can add qualifying statements if you'd like, but could we start with a yes or no?

DJP said...

It's not that it is asking too much; it is that it is asking a stupid question — to anyone who has been following our discussion.

Back up, review.

If you want a "gotcha" line, you'll have to leave disappointed. If you want to understand and think the issue through, I think you've got it all there.

I think this thread's straggled on long enough. Phil can reopen if he likes, but I'll close the meta with a reiteration: given that Jesus is necessarily true, any contrasting reconstruction of origins is necessarily nonsense.