Posts tagged Faith and Science
Common Descent Debate

Science carries great authority in our culture. For much of the public, however, aspects of the scientific enterprise are marked by controversy. Near the top of that list is evolution, a theory widely held by scientists to be the cornerstone of modern biology. Yet over the past decade, in the face of unexpected genetic discoveries, even some evolutionary biologists have openly questioned Darwin's "Tree of Life" — the theory of common descent of all life on Earth from a single organism.

In this forum, two philosophers of biology with expertise in the area debated the current status and the future of Common Descent. Velasco defended the mainstream evolutionary position; Nelson challenged it.

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What is at Stake? A Call For Gracious Discourse

Creation is a central doctrine in Christianity, connecting to several key theological issues. However, for the past several decades, most of the attention given to this doctrine has been focused on the correct reading of Genesis 1-11, specifically with respect to contested claims about the age of the earth. For evangelicals committed to inerrancy, it is important that we clarify hermeneutical boundaries and options in which this matter can be discussed. Examples and insights from earlier Christian thought can guide us here. Most importantly, as grace and truth cohere in Christ, they must be correlative in our dialogue and debate.

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The Cosmic Temple Inauguration View of Genesis One

Understanding an ancient text such as Genesis 1 requires us to consider issues the way they would have. A foundational issue is how they thought about existence. Ancient peoples believed that something existed when it had a function. This is in contrast to our belief that existence is tied to material properties. This position views Genesis 1 as an account of functional origins rather than an account of material origins. We must also recognize the cosmos functions as sacred space a cosmic temple concept, which conveys the idea that God has established order in the cosmos which has become his dwelling place. The seven days concern the inauguration of the functional cosmic temple rather than the time over which the material cosmos came into existence.

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Six 24-Hour Days, A Reformed View

The six 24-hour day view of the creation days of Genesis 1 (variously called the normal day view, the literal view, the calendar day view, etc.) that is, the view that we are to understand God's creation days as recorded in Genesis 1 to be calendar days of the sort we now regularly experience is the default view of Christianity, historically and confessionally. That is, the historic Christian tradition has always in the main viewed these days as calendar days, because it has viewed the Genesis account as historical. This talk will explain the history and hermeneutics of this issue from a Reformed perspective.

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Genesis 1-2: A Literal Reading

Genesis 1 should be read (along with all of Genesis 1-11) as historical narrative that is meant to be taken literally. There is no hermeneutical justification for reading it in any other fashion, since it is not a separate genre from the rest of Genesis. It is presented as straightforward narrative prose, not poetry. Those who attempt to read Genesis 1 in other than a non-literal fashion need to demonstrate that there are hermeneutical markers that warrant treating Genesis 1 (or Genesis 1-2, or Genesis 1-11) differently from the remaining chapters of Genesis. The NT references to Genesis 1-11 all take the accounts literally: they regard them as historical fact, not simply a packaging of theological truth. It is this author's contention that we need to do the same.

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The THAT and HOW of Creation: Foundations and Forward Motion for Pilgrims in Unity

An exhortation towards the pursuit of the preservation of the unity of the body of Christ as its members seek to engage in the honest pursuit of truth and dialogue on especially controversial matters of faith and science. An appeal based on an exposition of Ephesians 4:1-6 of the ground of Christian unity. The basis of Christian unity is in the essentials of Christian orthodoxy reflected in the historic creeds and confessions of the church, not on complete agreement on matters that belong to the secondary category of theological pursuit. Above all, it is grounded in our koinonia in that of the triune God which is both our calling in the 'now' and our destiny in the 'not yet'.

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The Perspective of "The Lost World of Genesis" and How it Impacts the Principal Doctrines of Christianity and the Study of the Universe

John presents his position, which interprets Genesis 1 as ancient literature. At the heart of the position is the evidence that it does not intend to offer a material account of origins, but a functional account of origins based on the premise that the created world is the cosmic temple of God. This material has been published in a number of places, most conveniently in the IVP book, The Lost World of Genesis One. There will be ample time for questions and interaction.

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The Nurture and Spiritual Formation of Technically-Oriented Christ Followers

The judgment of God upon humanity at Babel was division, and the work of Christ was to effect reconciliation. The mark of the church therefore is unity and it is that which must be reflected amongst believers in the midst of diversity of opinion and thought on many issues. The way in which we reflect that unity marks us out as authentic disciples of Christ.

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The Bible and Geology: Evidence God Left Behind Indicating Earth is Ancient

As God guides the Creation with His providential care with the laws of chemistry and physics, materials that make up the earth leave behind geologic evidence for the passage of time. The very best examples are the rings we see in a cut tree trunk, and sediments that are seen as annual layers based on seasonal cycles in some lakes. Radioactive atoms in the Creation can be used to age-date some organic materials and certain minerals. The present rate of plate tectonic separation of North America from Africa provides dramatic evidence supporting the ancient history formation of the Atlantic ocean. Multiple radioactive decay methods offer abundant evidence that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.

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The Bible and Geneology: Evidence God Left that Life Has Evolved

As God guides the Creation with His providential care with the laws of chemistry and physics, materials that make up the earth leave behind geologic evidence for the passage of time. The very best examples are the rings we see in a cut tree trunk and sediments that are seen as annual layers based on seasonal cycles in some lakes. Radioactive atoms in the Creation can be used to age-date some organic materials and certain minerals. The present rate of plate tectonic separation of North America from Africa provides dramatic evidence supporting the ancient history formation of the Atlantic Ocean. Multiple radioactive decay methods offer abundant evidence that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.

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Science Cannot Be God: What is Science? Some Limitations. Some Implications

Dan's commission is to reflect on what science can tell us and what it can't; to give a humble but accurate qualification of what human investigation can contribute to our lives; one that is not too high and not to low. For several generations many in science have been saying that Christianity does not have a place at the table; that Christianity has no contribution to make. The information that Dan presents in this talk gives strong indications from science that if we are to have confident answers in the areas that matter to us most, Divine revelation must play the dominant role, not human investigation. The essence of science is inextricably interwoven with its limits. When our understanding of the limits of science changes, our understanding of science itself changes.

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Randomness by Design

"Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin." John von Neumann's famous dictum points an accusing finger at all who set their ordered minds to engender disorder. Despite the danger of being branded a heretic, Dembski wants to argue that randomness entails no moral deficiency. He even advocates that random number generators be constructed with reckless abandon, though a reckless abandon that is well thought out. Randomness, properly to be randomness, must leave nothing to chance. It must look like chance, like a child of the primeval chaos. But underneath a keen intelligence must be manipulating and calculating, taking advantage of this and that expedient so as systematically to concoct confusion.

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Law of Conservation of Information

Complex Specified Information is intrinsically a part of the biological world. Such information in the biosphere is not significantly accrete by natural processes or random processes or any combination thereof operating upon it. This is a key example of the Law of the Conservation of Information. Its status and implications will be discussed and explored.

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