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April 12th Conference: Biblical Faith in an Age of Science

Biblical Faith in an Age of Science

Adam and Eve,

            and Evolution,

                   and Evangelicalism

On April 12th, 7:00-9:00 PM

in NC State University’s

McKimmon Center, Room 3

Can you believe the Bible and believe in Evolution, too?

Who are we and where do we come from?

Can good scientists also be people of faith?

Is there a conflict between faith and science?

Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard) author of The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2011)

Sujin Pak (PhD, Duke) assistant professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School

Questions like these puzzle, trouble, or at least interest both religious believers and non-believers alike.  Join us for this very special event where our panel of distinguished guests will offer informed perspectives from biblical scholarship, the history of Christian thought, and modern science to address these vexing modern questions.

Highly acclaimed Old Testament scholar and author, Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard University), will look at what the relevant biblical texts would have meant in their original historical contexts, and at how knowing what those texts meant back then informs how we think of what they might mean for us today.

Sujin Pak (PhD, Duke University), professor of Christian history at Duke Divinity School will offer us an overview of the various ways in which the biblical creation narratives of Genesis 1-2 have been interpreted over the course of the Church’s history.  Did Saint Augustine read Genesis 1 literally?  Did John Calvin think the Bible conflicted with science?

Brazos Press, 2011

Greg Reeves (PhD, Princeton) assistant professor of chemical and bio-molecular engineering at NC State University

NC State’s own Gregory Reeves (PhD, Princeton University), assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, will address these issues from the perspective of someone who is both a practitioner of the natural sciences and also a deeply committed Christian.  Dr. Reeves is deeply engaged in matters concerning the interaction of faith and science.

Please, join us for this very special event.  Free and open to the public.

This event is brought to you by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries and by Ratio Christi.  (You can find Ratio Christi on the web at http://ratiochristi.org/ or on Facebook.)






28 thoughts on “April 12th Conference: Biblical Faith in an Age of Science

  1. I am grateful to see that there are scientists in universities that are unafraid to stand with God’s word as it is written. I am even more surprised to see that one of them is actually at Harvard. I will look for The Evolution of Adam. God be with all such professors. In Jesus’ name, Amen

    Posted by Marvin Nutt | April 10, 2012, 9:27 pm
  2. ” Evolution of Adam ” ? What bible do you read: it is certainly NOT Gods WORD ? May The Lord pull down all those who bring ” Another Gospel ” !

    Posted by Mr Leslie Wood | April 10, 2012, 11:14 pm
    • Thanks for commenting, Mr. Wood. As to your question, the Bibles I typically read are the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia for the Old Testament and the NA-27 for the New. Not sure if those count as “God’s WORD” by your reckoning, but that’s fine.
      Anyways, blessings to you and yours!

      Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 11, 2012, 2:55 am
  3. Does this conference spring from a strict, unchanging Biblical foundation? Meaning that the Bible is always true in regards to that God wrote it according to II Timothy 3:16?

    Posted by Terry K. | April 11, 2012, 3:02 am
    • The conference is certainly motivated by the conviction that the Bible is “inspired” (2 Tim 3:16) and THAT it is true. But the conference is all about wrestling with the question of just HOW it is true.

      Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 11, 2012, 11:53 am
  4. Reblogged this on Brick by Brick.

    Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 12, 2012, 1:32 am
  5. I live in the UK and I have seen presentations in churches here with this same persuasive approach. All of it is based on the knowledge that the average person has to trust those who says they have the scientific back ground to know. From my childhood I had a love of science. I have studied the case put forward by evolutionists for a number of years. I have also had the opportunity to study the considerable body of evidence that shows it to be a thoroughly unrealistic proposition.
    I have heard the utterly arbitrary way that those who do not accept the evolutionary belief system are subtly ridiculed and discredited. I have heard that Creationists are ‘dangerous’ that Creationism ‘isn’t science’ that refusal to believe in evolution will plunge us into the dark ages and other such baseless statements. What I have not heard or seen is an attempt to allow the case against evolution to be properly presented. Instead it is silenced by legal stricture.
    I have heard the declarations of evolution’s unquestionable truth now for decades. I have not yet seen the wealth of proof that would up hold such a statement presented. I have seen a lot of declarations of proof that are time and again shown to be nothing of the kind. In fact the evidence is ridiculously sparse and even that which is offered is highly questionable. Millions of fossils and all they keep on shouting is fixity of species.
    Belief in macro evolution relies on blind faith and an avoidance of some very serious questions. A person who avows that evolution is proven is making a statement of faith,not of scientific fact.

    Until evolution can truly provide the evidence every Christian should take it with the massive pinch of salt it deserves let alone allow it to compromise the authority of God’s word. The word of God has been clearly understood. It is only those who have faith in the flawed ideas of men who are seeking to pursuade us otherwise.

    It was not God who said ‘Did God really say’

    Posted by whitbyjblog | April 12, 2012, 7:51 pm
    • Thanks for your comment, Whitby. I am neither a scientist nor the son of a scientist, so I am not really qualified to make high-level assessments of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. I am trained, however, in biblical scholarship and I can say that from a biblical standpoint “Creation science” is bunk. I’ll believe the earth was created over the course of a single work-week six thousand years ago when you believe there’s a solid dome over the earth holding back a vast cosmic ocean (Gen 1:6-8).

      When you say “The word of God has been clearly understood,” I want to ask, “By whom? By you? By Creationists?” Sounds like we need to have a discussion about biblical interpretation before we have a discussion about science. But this isn’t about questioning biblical authority. It’s about actually understanding what the Bible says.

      Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 14, 2012, 2:10 pm
  6. Is there any possibility that this will be recorded and provided online?

    Posted by Laura | April 12, 2012, 8:22 pm
  7. After attending the event I would like to say that I was sympatrhetic to Dr Enns at the begining of his talk but as things went on and he denied the historicity of the fall, I found myself strongly disagreeing. This has nothing to do with science or evolution. It’s not simply a matter of the ancient Hebrews having a prescientific worldview. Rather, it is a question of the intelligibility of the Gospel. If there was no fall then Jesus did not need to die. Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Ro 5:12). And then, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” (Ro 5:18) This is the Gospel and Paul grounds its necessity in the fall that Enns denys.

    Enns argues that Paul was somehow speaking metaphorically of Israel. It’s just not coherent. While Enns argues that Paul also had an unifomred worldview and errantly believed Adam was historical, he cannot really say that about the God-man Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke to creation when he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female”,(Mt 19:4). This was not a analogy to a myth about Israel. Enns’ take ultimately compromises the intelligibility of the Gospel.

    Posted by Cris Putnam | April 13, 2012, 2:38 am
    • Chris, thanks for attending last night and thanks for commenting! I really appreciate it.

      As to the substance of your comment, I think you’ve definitely put your finger on what are probably the more central issues here. However, I would urge you to consider that maybe what Enns’s points render unintelligible is not the gospel per se, but rather your inherited account or understanding of the gospel. Enns problematizes some evangelical accounts of what the gospel is, but there are other ways of describing the gospel that are fully compatible with what Enns says about Adam: Eastern Orthodox approaches, Roman Catholic approaches, New Perspective approaches, Barthian approaches, and many others. If the gospel is essentially that the God of Israel has raised Jesus from the dead and made Him Lord and Christ over all creation, then I don’t see what the problem is with having a non-historical Adam or no “Fall.”

      I’d urge you to buy Enns’s book because the second half of the book deals with precisely the issues you raise. I’ve got a bunch of copies left over and would be glad to sell you one on the cheap. It’d be great to get coffee, too (you’re in Raleigh, right?)

      Your assertion about the worldview of “the God-man Jesus Christ” sounds docetic to me. In the Incarnation the eternal Son emptied Himself and took on a fully human nature–limitations and all. Have you never read the Scripture, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”? (Matt 24:36) Jesus wasn’t omniscient. He wouldn’t be fully human if he had been. Jesus is a Second Temple Jewish man through and through, and his appeal to Genesis (in a debate over marriage, not human origins, mind you) has to be understood in that context.

      I don’t really think your proof-texting can really settle this question for us. It’s way more complex than that.

      Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 13, 2012, 5:41 pm
      • “If the gospel is essentially that the God of Israel has raised Jesus from the dead and made Him Lord and Christ over all creation, then I don’t see what the problem is with having a non-historical Adam or no “Fall.” ”

        I find your response as disturbing as Enns. It really seems like you have proved my point for me because in any orthodox evangelical formulation that’s only half of the Gospel and therein lies the problem. Why did Jesus have to die? You completely ignored the atonement and its necessity. This is a non-negotionable item in New Testament theology. The essential that you have omitted is that man is desperately wicked and going to hell apart from saving faith in Christ. I realize this is unpalatble to modern pluralistic ears but it is exactly why Peter Enn’s is so dangerous. It’s also why Westminster seminary let him go. I was sympatheitc to his cause at first but last night made it crystal clear that made a wise decision.

        Saying Jesus iis the God-man is not at all docetic, it’s a normal term used by theologians. Orthodox theology holds that Jesus was fully God and fully man. It is called the hypostatic union.But your description does sound Arian. Your contention that he “fully human nature–limitations and all” is rendered incoherent by his working of miracles and superntaural prescience (e.g. John 1:48). Perhaps this will help: http://www.theopedia.com/Two_natures_of_Jesus

        Posted by Cris Putnam | April 13, 2012, 10:46 pm
      • Chris, thanks again for the thoughtful responses. It sounds like some clarification is in order because, judging from your comments, you don’t seem to have read Enns’s book (please correct me if I’m wrong–the book and coffee offer still stands, btw). First, neither I nor Enns are denying the doctrine of Original Sin, that is, the dark, universal reality of pervasive human sinfulness, nor are we denying the necessity of the cross. Me genoito! But the doctrine of the “Fall” is not the same as the doctrine of Original Sin. Rather the “Fall” is a theological explanation of exactly how Original Sin came about, an account of why it is that we are as desperately twisted as we are. But one doesn’t have to buy that particular story of HOW we came to be sinful in order to acknowledge that we obviously ARE sinful.

        So both Enns and I would affirm that the cross was necessary to our salvation and a non-negotiable element of the gospel. Obviously.

        I would also just say that on the whole Westminster controversy you really don’t know what you’re talking about. I was there when all of that went down and these just were not the issues on the table.

        On the whole Jesus as God-Man thing, I am totally OK with using that sort of language. I was more troubled by your presumption (correct me if I’ve misunderstood you) that Jesus was omniscient, which I think is hard to square with classical incarnational theology, and also Jesus’s own admissions to having limited knowledge (e.g., Matt 24:36–what do you make of that verse, Chris?). Sure, Jesus worked miracles and displayed supernatural prescience, but so did the prophets. That alone doesn’t prove Him to be divine. It shows Him to be a prophet. The case for His divinity comes from elsewhere, namely, from His presuming to say and do things that only YHWH is supposed to have authority to say or do, and then, at Easter, being vindicated.

        But the mystery of the Incarnation is that somehow the God of the universe took on a truly human nature, limits and all. He became a certain height and weight, became able to grow tired and thirsty, assumed limitations to his knowledge, and, most importantly, suffered and succumbed to death. How on earth did the impassible, eternal, infinite God, suffer and die? It’s a paradox, a mystery. The doctrine of the hypostatic union names that mystery but it does not resolve it. A lot of what makes up Christian orthodoxy is the naming of the paradoxes that Christians have to learn to live with.

        Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. I can assure you that Enns is not saying what he is saying so as to avoid offending tender “modern pluralistic ears.” And I certainly am not, either.

        Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 14, 2012, 12:47 am
  8. Thanks for a thoughtful reply. I would have to say that yes Jesus was omniscient, he simply chose to take on certain limitations for a time. I also think His teaching that man and woman were created “in the beginning” should be held as authoritative by those that follow Him.

    I’m truly glad you recognize that the atonement is a necessary element of the Gospel but I could not tell it from the way you phrased it in your previous post. Believe me, there are churches that advocate “non-atonement” theology.
    I do realize Enns was fired largely for his view on inerrancy, but the way I see it, that is basically what is in play here as well. I realize these are complicated matters but I thought he was evasive when questioned on Romans 5 and Jesus statement in Mt. 19:4. It’s really not just proof-texting; it comes down to biblical authority. If you believe the Bible is God’s inspired word and you take Jesus at his word then there was a first pair. Do you think Jesus was mistaken about that?

    Most evangelical theologians do hold that Jesus was omniscient even when incarnated. I confess that I once missed an exam question in seminary when I answered “no” to the question (Jesus was omniscient) for the same reason you are objecting — because he said there was something he did not know. It bothered me for a while and I think the answer lies in the doctrine of the kenosis. The text I used in seminary was Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology and here is relevant quote:

    “The union of the two natures meant that they did not function independently. Jesus did not exercise his deity at times and his humanity at other times. His actions were always those of divinity-humanity. This is the key to understanding the functional limitations the humanity imposed upon the divinity. For example, he still had the power to be everywhere (omnipresence). However, as an incarnate being, he was limited in the exercise of that power by possession of a human body. Similarly, he was still omniscient, but he possessed and exercised knowledge in connection with a human organism that grew gradually in terms of consciousness, whether of the physical environment or eternal truths. Thus, only gradually did his limited human psyche become aware of who he was and what he had come to accomplish. Yet this should not be considered a reduction of the power and capacities of the Second Person of the Trinity, but rather a circumstance-induced limitation on the exercise of his power and capacities.

    Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 751-52.”

    As far as his saying he did not know the day or hour of his return it’s a common debate with Muslims and there is a lengthy answer by Sam Shamoun at Answering Islam here: http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_jesus_changing.htm

    Please help understand where you are coming from with your statement about the fall. It is perplexing to me. If the fall is not necessary for the doctrine of original sin as you say, then what does “original” sin mean? If there was no fall how is the term “original” relevant? What do you mean by original? …and who would have been responsible for that original act if not Adam?

    Posted by Cris Putnam | April 14, 2012, 3:02 am
    • Thanks for this, Chris. You’re right that my initial post didn’t explicitly signal the importance of the atonement to the Christian gospel. I phrased it the way I did because in the first century a euangelion was typically a declaration of the victory or coronation of a ruler–we have numerous writings and inscriptions referring to, say, the enthronement of a Caesar in terms of “good news.” This usage is found in the LXX as well. I think that for early Christians the fundamental evangelical declaration was just such a declaration of victory and enthronement: Kurios Christos! Jesus is Lord! But once you start answering the obvious follow-up questions of ‘Who is this Jesus of whom you speak?’ and ‘How exactly is he “Lord”?’ you inevitably end up talking about Jesus’ career, death, and resurrection.

      In your assessment of Enns’s handling of Romans 5 and Matt 19 I think, again, you’ve put your finger on a key issue: the nature of biblical authority. But it really is about the NATURE of biblical authority, not about WHETHER the Bible is authoritative. When you say, “If you believe the Bible is God’s inspired word” I take it that you mean something like “If you believe in a Warfieldian doctrine of Scripture’s plenary verbal inspiration….” If that’s your view of inspiration, then, yeah, inerrancy might be a logical corollary of that (maybe–I have my doubts about that). But I don’t buy “plenary verbal inspiration.” That’s not to say I don’t believe the Bible’s inspired. It’s just to say I don’t buy that particular account of what inspiration amounts to. I’m much more sympathetic with C.S. Lewis, Nick Wolterstorff, Barth, and folks like that when it comes to thinking about what “inspiration” means.

      I would also point out that when the Fathers were discerning which books should go in the NT and which shouldn’t, they used a lot of criteria, but inspiration wasn’t one of them. The Fathers thought LOTS of texts were inspired. That’s not what made the NT specially authoritative for them. For them it was apostolicity, because if the apostles didn’t know what the gospel was, then no one does.

      I don’t think Matt 19:4 necessarily commits Jesus to saying that Adam and Eve were a literal first human pair. That text is about God’s aims for marriage, not about human origins. In any case, I don’t really have a problem with Jesus holding to common Second Temple Jewish notions about Adam and Eve which are not quite scientifically accurate accounts of human origins. To me that’s the name of the Incarnational game.

      Speaking of the Incarnation, I like that Erickson quotation. Erickson was my first systematic, too. I’m much more of a Karl Barth, Robert W. Jenson guy now, but when it comes to conservative Baptist theology Erickson is probably about as good as they come. Anyways, I am OK with his statements that Jesus “was still omniscient, but he possessed and exercised knowledge in connection with a human organism that grew gradually in terms of consciousness, whether of the physical environment or eternal truths. Thus, only gradually did his limited human psyche become aware of who he was and what he had come to accomplish. Yet this should not be considered a reduction of the power and capacities of the Second Person of the Trinity, but rather a circumstance-induced limitation on the exercise of his power and capacities.” To me that fits better with what I’m saying than with the idea of Jesus’s omniscience. When I say that God “became” man, or the Infinite “became” finite, that’s my loosey-goosey way of saying the Second Person of the Trinity took into Godself a finite human nature and all of the functional limitations that necessarily accompany such a nature…which includes not knowing everything. How could an omniscient being GROW in wisdom? (Luke 2:40)

      On the “Fall” and “Original Sin,” this is a common confusion. “Original Sin” doesn’t refer to the Fall but to the proposition that all humans are sinful from birth. This is one of those technical terms of theology that gets misused a lot, like when people refer to Jesus’s being born of the Virgin Mary as the “Immaculate conception” (the “Immaculate conception” is actually the Catholic doctrine that MARY, not Jesus, was miraculously born without sin). Anyways the word “original” refers to the origins of us individuals, to our being sinful from birth. So when you hear “Original Sin,” think Psalm 51:5, not Genesis 3. Does that help?

      Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 14, 2012, 1:38 pm
      • Thanks for your reply. When I think “original sin” I do go back to Genesis 3. You are correct original sin refers to our sin nature but the traducian view of soul entails inheritance from the source being Adam. Because I lean toward the traducian view it is necessarily connected to Adam.

        It sounds like you are saying due to the limitations of the incarnation Jesus simply did know any better but to believe Genesis 1 was historical. But today because of the Darwinian project, that you have a better informed accounting on the truth of human origins than Jesus did. Do you think Jesus was mistaken by asserting “he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,” ?

        How about Paul in in 1 Timothy 2:13-14 “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” Is it your view that Paul is simply espousing a myth out of his ignorance?

        Posted by Cris Putnam | April 16, 2012, 1:52 pm
      • Hmmm…on traducianism, I have no problem with saying that our “souls” are transmitted to us in some mysterious, quasi-organic way from our parents. I don’t see that that ENTAILS (in a logically necessary way) that all human souls need be traceable to an original, specially created human pair. That seems like a little bit of a reach to me.

        On Jesus’s reading of Genesis, yeah, I think that’s probably the case. The Incarnation of the Son meant the limitation of His knowledge. If we are to take his humanity seriously, we need to acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth probably didn’t know about Quantum theory, or Enuma Elish, or the Aztecs, or Alpha Centauri, or evolution, or a bunch of other things. We have to acknowledge that he read His Bible with first century Jewish eyes, which means both that He didn’t interpret the text grammatically-historically and that He probably assumed, along with most of His Jewish contemporaries, that Adam was a historical figure. We have access to info that Jesus of Nazareth did not, namely, other ancient Near Eastern literature to help us read Genesis in its literary context and also the findings of modern science.
        I think the same holds for Paul. Paul read his Bible as a first century Jew.
        The Spirit directed both Jesus and Paul to say what God wanted them to say, and apparently God didn’t care if what these ancient men said squared with the science of later generations. Apparently He had bigger fish to fry.

        Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 16, 2012, 4:25 pm
      • We are pretty far apart theologically. I consider your view of Jesus woefully inadequate. We also hold inerrancy as a core value at our church. I’m pretty clear on where you stand. Thanks.

        Posted by Cris Putnam | April 16, 2012, 7:45 pm
      • Fair enough. Just know that we’re on the same team when it comes to the ecumenical doctrines that make up Christian orthodoxy as expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. Thanks for the respectful interaction, Cris, and blessings to you and yours!

        Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 16, 2012, 8:10 pm
    • Jesus was not omniscient when He was incarnated, and remained so until His resurrection. (cf. Mark 13:32 and Acts 1:7) He was however, unstained by original sin (the fallen nature) since He was virgin born and He remained sinless until the crucifixion at which point He became sin by taking our sin upon Himself, though He had never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28).
      Just as any human infant, he had to learn (Romans 5:19; Philippians 2:7, 8; Hebrews 5:8) and because He was sinless, Jesus had enlightenment that comes only through direct access to the Father (Matthew 11:27).
      Remember, Jesus did not perform one single miracle until AFTER he had received the Holy Spirit, under Whose exclusive power, guidance and authority he ministered [John 5:19 “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise”].
      So when God (The Word) became flesh, he emptied Himself (kenosis) ** laid aside the effulgence of his glory (Philippians 2:7) and lived through the fulness of the Holy Spirit, without measure (John 3:34).
      In point of fact, everything Jesus did can be categorized within the gifts of the Holy Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. The Gospels demonstrate that Jesus operated in at least eight of the nine gifts mentioned.
      ** Clarkes Commentary

      Posted by bigr | April 18, 2012, 5:09 pm
      • Yep. I think you and I are on more or less the same page there, bigr. Thanks so much for commenting!

        Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 18, 2012, 5:13 pm
      • Did you really just use the word “enlightenment”?

        Posted by Terry K | April 19, 2012, 3:30 am
  9. It is obvious that the Bible speaks of an original pair of human beings from which all other human beings descended. If by some amazing stretch of the imagination that there were other humans not contaminated by original sin, then it would have not been necessary for Christ of have come and sacrificed His ‘innocent’ blood since “The Innocent Blood” (Matthew 27:4) would have been found in other “Kinsmen Redeemers,” but alas it was not, though Jesus Christ Himself, on the eve of His crucifixion prayed, “O my Father, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” In short, it wasn’t possible because Jesus was the only one who could offer the innocent, sinless blood. The blood of Jesus is the ONLY antidote for the deadly poison of sin, under which all humanity is condemned – Romans 3:23.
    In addition, the clear teaching of scripture is that all human ‘kind’ descended from an original, single pair – Adam and Eve. Note: Eve was simply called “WOMAN” at first. She was later called “EVE” (Genesis 3:20) which literally means “life giver” or the “mother of ALL living” (as it is reads in the scriptures).
    You may dispute the age of the earth, depending on whether you believe the Gap Theory, Age Day Theory or James Ussher’s chronology, etc., but there is no way to dispute that Adam was a special, unique creation, nor the deleterious effect on the earth and his progenies without an outright denial of scripture which, as the warning printed in the Bible, would bring a curse to the person who does so.
    (Macro) evolution and the scriptures are eternally at odds with each other, and what is observed in the natural world shouts special creation, and “kind” producing after it’s own “kind,” precisely as is revealed in the Bible.

    Posted by bigr | April 18, 2012, 7:23 pm
    • BIGR, I think I would say that the teaching of Scripture isn’t as clear as you seem to think it is. I think you’re bypassing a lot of very important questions: What is the genre of Genesis? Was Genesis 1-3 written to give us a literal history or a scientific theory? How does the Old Testament relate to the New?

      For my part, I think it’s very important to understand what and how the texts of Sacred Scripture would have communicated in their original historical contexts. When taken from a historical standpoint and read within their historical contexts (and any text without a context is a pretext), the supposed conflict between the texts of Scripture and evolutionary theory is significantly diminished. I just don’t think they’re speaking the same language.

      Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 18, 2012, 8:31 pm
  10. Consider this article by Dallas Willard:

    “Today is often spoken of as the age of information. Information is vital to all we do, of course, but then it always has been. What distinguishes the present time is that there is a lot more information (and misinformation) available than ever before, and a lot of people are trying to sell it to us.

    What happens to Jesus in the crush of the information pushers? Unfortunately he is usually pushed aside. Many Christians do not even think of him as one with reliable information about their lives. Consequently they do not become his students. What does he have to teach them? It is very common to find Christians who work hard to master a profession and succeed very well in human estimation, while the content of their studies contains no reference at all to Jesus or his teaching. How could this be?”


    Posted by Cris Putnam | April 19, 2012, 6:56 pm
    • Thanks, Cris. Very interesting article. This subject is very near and dear to my heart as a central part of my mission is to help Christian scholars and professionals to integrate their work with their faith, to do their work or research in a way that takes the gospel of Jesus Christ into account. On that score, I’d love to refer you to a few pieces written in that spirit and to hear your thoughts: George Marsden’s The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship and Mark Noll’s Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. I think both of those books are great, but I’d love to hear your take on them.

      As to Willard’s article, I think his approach is great: “First, we must learn from [Jesus] the reason why we live and why we do the things we do,” and “Second, we must learn from Jesus, our `informer’, a new internal character: new “bowels,” one old translation says. New guts we would say today. (Col. 3:12) He teaches us in the first place that this is what God intends for us, and what he makes possible.” I think this is a great start to bringing faith and scholarship together, though, I think that we must go further and that Noll and Marsden show us how to start.

      I would note that Willard does NOT say that we should look to Jesus to learn the speed of light, the mass of a proton, the age of the earth, the history of the Aztecs, or anything like that. Jesus doesn’t directly speak to those issues. And what it means to recognize Jesus’s lordship over the fields of inquiry dealing with those issues is much more subtle than just seeing “what the Bible says” about them, as though the Bible gave us direct, clear-cut information about anything and everything under the sun.

      Posted by dmwilliams83 | April 19, 2012, 7:57 pm

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NCSU Graduate Christian Fellowship

Hi! I'm David, the campus minister for InterVarsity's graduate and faculty ministries at NC State and Meredith College. I hope you'll join me as I learn to "practice resurrection" in the City of Oaks, in her universities, and in the wider world. You can contact me at dmwilliams83@gmail.com

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