Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Navigating Genesis

I was introduced to astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross (president of Reasons to Believe) in the early 90's but did not really begin investigating his model of origins until the mid 2000's when my view of origins and my Christian worldview was beginning to be challenged by observations of scientists in many different disciplines. I was hit by the higher critics who wished to interpret Genesis in a metaphorical (and not historical) light. Some of their points seemed valid, but others were questionable. I found Dr. Ross' approach of integrating all of Scripture with all the sciences quite intellectually attractive. It offered the possibility to reconcile the findings of modern science and the research of the higher critics with the Genesis accounts. However, before I was willing to change my view of origins from young-earth (universe is 6,000 - 10,000 years old), despite the observational evidence, I had to see a proper interpretive treatment of the Genesis accounts of creation that recognized them as historical events, granted the poetic writing style, understood the ancient cultural context, and consistently preserved all the essentials of Christian theology (including original sin and Christ's atonement). All those requirements have been satisfied, and "Navigating Genesis: A Scientist's Journey Through Genesis 1-11" (paperback, Kindle, GoodReads, Small Group Study) shows how it is accomplished through a careful examination of the Genesis accounts. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

7 Quotes From Ken Samples on Christianity's Explanatory Power

"The truth that there is an infinite, eternal, and personal mind behind the realities of the universe that can be detected through human reflection is the most transformative Christian apologetics idea in history. Christianity's explosive explanatory power and scope extends to such human enterprises as philosophy, psychology, science, religion, the arts, history, law, education, labor, economics, and medicine."

"The laws of nature exhibit order, patterns, and regularity. Because a personal God designed the universe to reflect his inherent rationality, the world exhibits elegant order, detectable patterns, and dependable regularity. These teleological qualities are essential to the nature of science because they make self-consistent scientific theories possible."

"Just as a detective builds a case by adding evidence, or a physician arrives at a diagnosis by considering multiple symptoms and tests, anyone can arrive at a meaningful conclusion based on a cumulative case. One of the strongest evidences that Christian theism's truth-claims are correct rests in its ability to account for and justify the many diverse and undeniable realities of life."

"In their heart, people experience the pull of moral duty. This sense of moral oughtness is prescriptive in nature, and it transcends mere subjective feelings. Individuals may deny, rationalize, or even violate their moral obligations, but those obligations remain a necessary part of human life."

"By describing human beings as fallen sinners, Scripture possesses explanatory power and scope that other holy books and secular philosophies of life clearly lack. In other words, historic Christianity's description of human nature and actions corresponds to reality. The Bible accurately pegs the person in the mirror."

"God appears to be more concerned about his children's character than about their comfort, therefore he uses evil and suffering to facilitate the believer's moral and spiritual maturity."

"Apart from God, we cannot fulfill our function and purpose in life because we were specifically created through the imago Dei to know, love, and serve our Creator."

These quotes were gleaned as I read Ken Samples' book 7 Truths That Changed The World. See my full review here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Man's Fallible Ideas vs. God's Infallible Word

Those who have read this blog for quite some time know that I spend a lot of time discussing specifics of the Christian worldview, not just a "mere Christianity." Going into the details of a worldview allows people to test worldviews against reality to see which one accurately describes the world in which we live. As discussed in other posts (here and here), it is important to discuss and investigate the details of a worldview to ensure that when we defend the truth of the Christian worldview, we are not defending incorrect doctrines that can easily be shown to go against reality (thus falsifying the Christian worldview in the skeptic's mind).

These internal debates are often heated among Christians. All sides of a debate bring their biblical, natural, philosophical, and historical evidences for their view and against the others. The amount of evidence to wade through can be daunting, and it frustrates many. I have noticed that frustration, however, is not just from the amount of evidence to examine, but the weight of evidence for one side or the other. Often many find themselves on the lighter end of evidence. Their evidence has been shown to be misinterpreted by them, incomplete in the details, compatible with the other views, falsified by new research, or even not applicable to the discussion at hand. This is extremely frustrating when the majority of the evidence for one side fails by one these. Unfortunately, I have heard the people with the undermined evidence make an appeal that often has more rhetorical power than intellectual honesty: "Stop reinterpreting the Bible, and stop compromising the Gospel." This is often followed with the question, "why would you want to believe the ideas of fallible man and not the truth of an infallible God," in order to ensure that the reader/hearer understands that if they reject this view (despite the compromised evidence) they are committing a most heinous sin, tantamount to apostasy and heresy.