Science and the Sacred

Science and the Sacred


A Library

image-question7-large.jpg

“The Bible is not a book but a library, with various types of writing in it. There is much history, but there are also symbolic stories that convey truths so deep that only a story form could convey them. (That is the true meaning of that much-abused and misunderstood word myth, very different from that of a simple fairy tale.)”

-John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale, Questions of Truth
, page 7

“Applying a method of interpretation to scripture passages can be a daunting task. C.S. Lewis advises us to, ‘Look. Listen. Receive.’ Reading and understanding the Bible is a process of discovery that goes beyond a hasty read-through. One must carefully study and seek to interpret the author’s intended meaning without projecting meaning onto the text.”
-BioLogos.org, The Questions

For more on interpreting scripture, be sure to read “What factors should be considered in determining how to approach a passage of scripture?” from The Questions section of our Web site.

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Kristian

posted October 29, 2009 at 1:24 pm


Add to these Paul Tillich, the “Apostle to the Intellectual”, who said that myths and symbols are the only appropriate way to convey truth about The Ultimate (that is, God). To the objection “Only a symbol?”, he replies “No less than a symbol”. To try to describe God in an objective, technical, historical, or scientific manner is insulting, as if God were describable in terms of finite human comprehension. The Bible points directly to God, but it does not contain God. (See Tillich’s excellent book “Dynamics of Faith”).



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Daniel Mann

posted October 29, 2009 at 1:43 pm


Kritian,
Tillich was also know to be a womanizer. This might explain a lot about his approach to Scripture.



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Knockgoats

posted October 29, 2009 at 2:06 pm


Tillich was also know to be a womanizer. This might explain a lot about his approach to Scripture. – Daniel Mann
As fine an example of the ad hominem fallacy as I have seen! Congratulations.



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Daniel Mann

posted October 29, 2009 at 2:26 pm


Knockgoats,
Are you denying the powerful correlation between the way we live our life and the way we think and do theology? Do you think that thinking and acting are unrelated? Even though I’ve never dismissed what you’ve said based upon who you are and how you live, are you going to deny this correlation?



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Knockgoats

posted October 29, 2009 at 3:23 pm


Daniel Mann,
Your comment implied that Tillich’s views could be dismissed because of a personal failing: that is the ad hominem fallacy. If you had provided an argument against his view, and then said “and I think he took his erroneous approach to scripture because he was a womaniser”, that would have been different. But you didn’t.



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Daniel Mann

posted October 29, 2009 at 3:51 pm


Knockgoats,
If you will refer back to my original statement, I didn’t “dismiss” Tillich, but rather sought to see his approach in the context of his life.
Nevertheless, I agree that ad hominem arguments are usually used to dismiss what the person rather than to deal with his ideas. Sadly, this is often the strategy of TEers in regards to IDers –just label them “liars” and “despicable,” and we don’t have to deal with their disturbing ideas.



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Knockgoats

posted October 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm


Daniel Mann,
You made no attempt whatever to show that Tillich was wrong, just sneered at his personal character: that is dismissing his ideas. The professional cdesign proponentsists such as Ken Ham and Kent Hovind are indeed despicable liars – but that is not why their ideas are dismissed: the same ideas could be and were held by honest scholars two centuries ago. They are dismissed because of the vast range and depth of evidence discovered since then, that shows they are wrong. You and your like shut your eyes to this evidence: you agreed with Martin Rizley when he said that if anything contradicts the Bible, one should refuse to accept it, whatever the evidence.



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Dan

posted October 29, 2009 at 5:56 pm


Daniel Mann,
You did dismiss Tillich just because you think he might have been immoral. I think that when you look at Martin Luther and John Calvin you will see people with far more disturbing lives, but I doubt you would automatically throw out their views on doctrine.
John Calvin had a terrible temper, there are some reports that he was an alcoholic, he was incredibly rude to everyone who disagreed with him, and even had his followers kill some people that he thought were heretics.
Martin Luther was probably mentally unstable (he seems to have thought he was possessed by the Devil), told Phillip I that polygamy was ok, and was certainly a terrible anti-Semite, even when compared to the prevailing views of the time. He even said that every Jew in Europe that didn’t convert to Christianity should be killed. But these are the people who started the Protestant Reformation, which you and I are a part of.
You can’t just disregard Tillich’s views because of his lifestyle without also throwing out Luther and Calvin’s views. Ad hominems are easy to try to use, but really not very effective to someone who understands that people can be right in one area and still be wrong in another.
I don’t think most Theistic evolutionists think all IDers are “liars and despicable.” Most of my friends and family members are young earth creationists, and the church I go to is a young earth creationist church.
Some IDers are liars. Jonathan Wells is a great example of this. He is a Moonie who thinks the reincarnation of Christ (the Rev. Moon) commanded him to destroy evolution. So he went out and got a PhD, and then has been writing books. His “Icons of Evolution” is so dishonest it is sickening. You can look up every example in the book and see that he twisted , misquoted, and misrepresented scientists and evolution. And you have shown that Lennox has a penchant for wild quote-mines. So some IDers are dishonest, and anyone that thinks Christians (not that Wells is a Christian) should be honest needs to call out those that lie in the name of Christ.
That doesn’t mean that we think all IDers are evil. I like Michael Behe’s books and interviews. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy who really believes what he says. I think he is wrong, and the research has pretty overwhelmingly disproven his idea of irreducible complexity, but I think he is a nice man. (He also accepts the evidence for common decent, by the way). I don’t think Dembski is a liar, I just think he is approaching the natural sciences from a computer sciences perspective and is very, very confused. But like I said, virtually all my friends and family (and my Church) follows some form of ID (most of them young earth creationists) and I don’t think my pastor or my friends and family are “liars and despicable.” I just think they are mistaken.



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Your Name

posted October 30, 2009 at 9:58 am


“The professional cdesign proponentsists such as Ken Ham and Kent Hovind are indeed despicable liars…”
Don’t forget Kent Hovind, who is serving time in federal prison for massive tax fraud.



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Mere_Christian

posted October 30, 2009 at 10:10 am


Are not the vast array of anti-theists really just liars when all is said and done? Just people with an opinion. That’s not ad hom, it is also an opinion based on evidence.
Tillich, can be weighed by his personal influences. A german that wound up in Chicago? C’mon now. Probably the place you’ld find the orthodox reality of God twisted like a pretzel just for the fun of being hailed a “great” thinker.
Heck, you can find working minds like this exiting the vast array of straight and gay bars in the wee hours of the new day in many places in the western world.
It’s a good choice that the better place to find a truly “great” theological mind is one of the writers of the works that made it into the New Testament. Building the proper foundation for belief in God as it were.



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Knockgoats

posted October 30, 2009 at 1:09 pm


Are not the vast array of anti-theists really just liars when all is said and done? Just people with an opinion. That’s not ad hom, it is also an opinion based on evidence. – Mere_Christian
I call the likes of Ham and Kovind liars because they systematically distort the state of scientific knowledge by claiming, for example, that modern geology is compatible with an earth-wide flood a few thousand years ago; that there are no transitional fossils; and that “Darwinism” (their preferred term for evolutionary theory) is “in crisis” (a false claim they have been making for decades to my personal knowledge). Now, on what grounds do you accuse “the vast array of anti-theists” of being liars? What is your alleged evidence?



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Ray Ingles

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm


Mere_Christian – the noted Christian apologist C.S. Lewis (perhaps you’ve heard of him? :-> ) coined a term for this kind of argument: Bulverism. As he put it, “You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong… Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is ‘wishful thinking.’ You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself… If you find my arithmetic correct, then no amount of vapouring about my psychological condition can be anything but a waste of time. If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic…”



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creatine

posted October 31, 2009 at 1:07 am


Hello
You have really well written that “The bible is not a book but a library”.Thank you very much for sharing this with us.You have done a good job.Keep up the good work.



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Ron

posted October 31, 2009 at 6:33 am


Amazing how abyone with the smallest intelligence could believe in evolution.Without any doubt God created the Heavens and the earth roughly 6000 years ago in 6 days. Exalt the name of The Lord Jesus Christ.



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Knockgoats

posted November 1, 2009 at 7:05 am


Amazing how abyone with the smallest intelligence could believe in evolution.Without any doubt God created the Heavens and the earth roughly 6000 years ago in 6 days. Exalt the name of The Lord Jesus Christ. – Ron
Wow, Ron, that is such a completely convincing argument! Centuries of science and literally millions of peer-reviewed papers totally refuted in three sentences! When do you collect your Nobel prizes?



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Logan

posted November 4, 2009 at 9:16 pm


Ron, under these circumstances (i.e., taking into consideration your audience), you would be well-advised to support your statement with some facts. (I employ the word “facts” hesitantly here as facts do not usually speak for themselves, but are interpreted according to some preexisting framework or bias). Either that, or begin by stating that, at its core, creationism is based on faith, as the Bible itself indicates. Also, try not to insult your readers. Sarcasm is preferable. For the record, I am a “creationist” myself, and speak from experience—believe me.
Knockgoats:
Since you mentioned “Nobel Prize”, I couldn’t help but add my two-cent’s worth. Anyone can win a Nobel Prize these days. You don’t really have to do anything. Take President Obama for example.



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Knockgoats

posted November 11, 2009 at 1:20 pm


Logan,
The recipient of the Peace Prize, awarded to Obama, is selected by a committee chosen by the Norwegian Parliament: it is inherently political. The scientific prizes are awarded by committees of scientists in the relevant discipline, selected by the Swedish Academy of Sciences. See the difference?



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Bird

posted November 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm


To tell you the real truth…the Nobel prize doesn’t mean anything if you really think about it. Science is always shifting goal posts. In reality the truth is static and never changing. 100 years from now someone may be getting the Nobel prize for disputing the big bang theory…note the word theory. It’s not even a fact and people defend it like religion.



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