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April 21, 2008

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Aaron

Nice term invention.

Definitely a thought provoking movie, I enjoyed it. I think that whether this movie is entirely representative or not of the various views it attempts to discuss, it is a good jumping off point for reasonable discussion of these ideas. While I think they did take some liberties in how they constructed their arguments, and presented opposing views, they did get a lot of intriguing people (and personalities) involved in the film from various camps.

His positions weren't made entirely clear in the movie, but I think one person that was featured in the movie and would fit into your 'godarwinian' category is Alistair McGrath. I find much of what he has to say about the apparent controversy between faith and evolution to be quite intriguing.

Again. I had a good time. Thanks.

Aaron.

Aaron

Quick point of clarification: I do think that a Darwinian (godarwinian) can take the Bible literally, in a manner of speaking. The message of the Bible can be taken literally, while understanding some of the stories as figurative rather than as literal history. The creation story is one example, the message is the same whether it is literal history or a prophetic myth that teaches us about our relationship to God and each other, and how the sin nature in all of us affects those relationships. Considering that nobody truly takes every story in the bible as literal history (i.e., some stories represent certain literary or communicative forms that serve the purpose of transmitting a greater point than the details of the story), a Darwinian might simply take the creation story to be a non-literal history, that communicates a point worth understanding in a literal manner.

I would also suggest that much of the Bible can even be taken as literal history while also viewing evolution by means of natural selection as the way that God creates through an ordered system. Similar to the way in which we view gravity and certain physical constructs as the way that God maintains a certain order in the universe. If an individual believes in a personal God, then the miraculous is always a possibility. A miracle is by definition something that violates the laws of nature. To acknowledge the possibility of the miraculous despite a lack of scientific or historic evidence is where faith comes in.

Ben

Interesting topic. I had the opportunity to see the movie with the wife on a date night, but elected to spend date night not delving into evolution but simply see something that was more "eye candy" and meaningless. :)

Just some random thoughts I had on this topic Mike that you guys have been discussing:

1. I think God CAN be proven through science...that is if a scientist is honest about how they approach the field. God created science so I believe He can be seen through science itself.

2. The issue of evolution and being a "Bible Believing Christian" being actually acceptable. This one is a tough one. I believe without the story of the fall in Genesis there is no need for redemption. It's the event that makes the need for redemption a fact...without it being an actual factual event there's no need for Christ or redemption itself.

3. I think really the argument of evolution vs. creation boils down to this essential question: Do you understand the need for a savior? If you don't, and you're putting your faith in a theory (evolution) then there is a problem. I honestly don't care if a person wrestles with believing in whether the story of creation was actual literal days or if they take 2 Peter 3:8 and consider each day a thousand years.


Great post and great conversation! I'm sure that when I stand before God I'll have a DUH moment when all of these questions will be answered.

I may just have to watch this movie.

Aaron

Clearly, there are always going to be some things where people have to agree to disagree, but I feel that your 3 points above are worth responding to.

I don't think the issue of scientific proof of God's existence boils down to whether or not scientists are honest. Intellectual honesty requires a person to assess the evidence and draw the conclusion that is most forthright. This is what scientists do, granted, a handful overstep this boundary and claim that science has proven or disproven God’s existence (two that come to mind include Michael Behe, and Richard Dawkins). In both of those cases, they’re wrong, since the scientific method requires the generation and testing of hypotheses and in both cases they fail to do so with respect to the existence or non-existence of God (this of course doesn’t take away from the quality of their scientific work in their respective fields). I think you'd be hard pressed to develop a testable hypothesis to investigate the question of God's existence, if you do have one in mind, I’d be happy to try testing it since it’ll make me rich and famous whatever the outcome.

Does an inability to scientifically test whether or not God exists mean that he does not exist? Absolutely not. It simply means that there are limitations inherent in the scientific method. As a mode of understanding the natural and measurable world around us, it’s limited to enabling us to understand things that we can measure. The question of God’s existence transcends the scientific method simply because we have no way of observing Him directly. It’s a theological question, not a scientific question.

I'm assuming you're use of the term 'bible believing' means something different than what I understand it to mean, since I myself am a bible believing Christian yet also feel that the evidence for evolution is quite compelling, as a matter of fact I find it overwhelmingly in support of the theory of evolution, and the evidence against it to be rather weak. There may ultimately be a better scientific theory to explain all of the evidence we have observed that currently supports evolutionary theory, however that’s a lot of data to account for. Any paradigm shift is likely to come in the form of tweeking evolutionary theory rather than a wholesale replacement. Keep in mind this is coming from someone (me) who set out in his adult life to find the flaw with in evolutionary theory, primarily since I had been told all my life (by my church) that evolution is incompatible with my faith. But, just because it’s hard to accept something as true doesn’t mean it’s not true. I think that the supposed incompatibility reflects misunderstanding (of both science and theology) rather than a true incompatibility.

The creation story need not be literal history in order for us to recognize that we’re fallen. The fact that man is fallen can be seen and felt by each of us every single day. Not only can we anecdotally support the notion of a self-centered ‘sin’ nature, but the scientific data is also consistent with this notion. I can point you to a large body of scientific literature on this subject but a good starting point would include anything written by David Buss, or ‘Moral Minds’ by Marc Hauser. This being the case, acknowledgment of the need for a savior is pretty easy to come by for a person of faith, simply by being self aware.

I disagree with you about the essential argument underlying the evolution vs. creation debate actually being whether someone understands the need for a savior. For a person of faith, the need for a savior is apparent due to our sinful nature (see above), for defining our purpose in this world, and to provide us with hope of something beyond this world and unfettered communion with God. Additionally, I'm not sure I know of anyone who has put their 'faith' in the theory of evolution, at least not any more than they put their faith in gravity, the germ theory of disease, or the internal combustion engine for that matter. I think the presumption that faith can't handle acceptance of evolutionary theory is unnecessary, just as unnecessary as a presumption that faith can't handle the notion of a heliocentric galaxy.

Definitely see the movie when you have a chance, although I think it was a good call not to use up date night on a movie like that. I’d also suggest renting the NOVA video called “Judgment Day: Design on Trial”, it’s another good one when considering and discussing all of these issues. Mike and I watched it last night with our wives and in-laws,

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