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Extracurricular Activities — February 8, 2014
The central question of the debate was this: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” ...
As the debate began, it was clear that Ham and Nye do not even agree on definitions. The most friction on definition came when Nye rejected Ham’s distinction between “historical science” and “observational science” out of hand. Nye maintained his argument that science is a unitary method, without any distinction between historical and observational modes. Ham pressed his case that science cannot begin without making certain assumptions about the past, which cannot be observed. Furthermore, Ham rightly insisted that observational science generally does not require any specific commitment to a model of historical science. In other words, both evolutionists and creationists do similar experimental science, and sometimes even side-by-side.
Those who follow the activities of BioLogos—including seekers, scholars, scientists, and pastors—probably won’t be surprised that we haven’t been too optimistic about the potential consequences of yesterday’s debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. As scientists and science aficionados, we’ve been concerned that the rhetoric employed by Ham would seem to undercut the validity of evolutionary theory for those without a strong grasp on the body of evidence supporting it. As Christians, we’ve worried that our faith will be presented to the world as a tree with only one branch, rather than a rich community of believers with diverse views on origins and God’s ongoing relationship to creation.
But perhaps even more distressingly, we’ve anticipated that one of the lasting effects of this debate will be to further alienate Christianity from science in the public consciousness. As BioLogos president Deb Haarsma wrote recently, constant struggle, argumentation, and debate about worldviews is not the only way to view the relationship between science and faith!
So who won? How did it go?
In [Peter Enn's] experience, genealogies—what they are and how they function in the Bible—is about as commonly misunderstood as any biblical genre.
As Lamoureux puts it, “Most Christians assume that genealogies in the Bible are merely lists of related family members quite similar to genealogies today. However, in the ancient world the primary purpose of a genealogy was to offer an important message about the community or nation. In this series of episodes we will look at various genealogies in Scripture, and then come to a conclusion regarding why Adam appears in the biblical genealogies found in Genesis 5, 1 Chronicles, and Luke 3.”
Augustine was Christianity’s first great political thinker. His seminal work, The City of God (full title: De Civitate Dei contra Paganos = The City of God against the Pagans), as Greg Forster writes, is ”the first real masterpiece of Christian political thought. Its analysis of the nature of politics has been one of the most prominent influences in Christian thinking, particularly in the West, in every era from its publication down to the present day. It is probably the most important work of Christian political thought ever produced.”
When I have lectured on Augustine’s seminal work, The City of God, I have often mentioned a reading plan I have for the work. Here it is below. The number prior to the full stop refers to the book (there are twenty-two books in The City of God), and the numbers after the full stop refer to the chapters within the respective books.
Making sense of the cross has been the church’s business since the day Jesus died. It’s way of making sense was to theorize or, to put the matter more delicately, to theologize — even if Zinsser taught me long ago that adding -ize to a word is a shortcut. Indeed, maybe so, but the church didn’t take shortcuts when it came to explaining its beliefs through the cross. One theory after another unfolded in the church, each adding to the other and at times a new one arising because it thought earlier theories got things wrong...
The only “theories” of the cross that make any sense of the cross then are theories that begin right here: I am guilty of that death.
Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.
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