A Scientist Who Believes in God! That's Real News!

Well, no, it isn’t. But with Francis Collins being named head of the National Institutes of Health by President Obama, a number of media seem to think it is.

Your servant’s brief riposte is here.

(Your servant’s previous post on “creation versus evolution” is here. And my semi-celebration of Darwin’s birthday is here.)

0 Responses to “A Scientist Who Believes in God! That's Real News!”

  1. Rob

    Dr. Stackhouse,
    I just read your now two year old article that you referenced here about creation vs. evolution. I appreciate your tone most of all. I know that you’re not a young earth guy. Frankly, I’m not sure what I believe about this. Can you give me some biblical evidence that attests to a belief in a less than literal intended interpretation of Genesis? I’m troubled if the argument is that “it simply can’t be” without any clues (internal to Scripture) that tell me where to think literally and where to think otherwise. Stated another way, as a Theologian, how do you know where to start reading His word literally? My fear is to spiral in to a “liberal” scholar who thinks everything is relative in God’s word. From there one can see the ground occupied by those who believe that Jesus was nothing more than a good moral teacher (He was that, of course, but He is infinitely more!). Would love to learn from a thinker such as yourself. Thanks again.

    Rob

    Mathematician and US Marine by trade, (very) amateur apologist.

  2. Ethan Magness

    I think that Gen 4:20 is a pretty good clue that this is something other than a scientific history. I also the think that the presence of two different creation stories is a good clue. I am sure that someone could reconcile the contradictions is they wanted to, but it seems so much more natural to realize that there are only contradictions if we impose the lens of scientific history. If these are theological accounts then the theology of these two texts is not contradictory but instead complementary.

    There are surely other clues but those pop to the top of my head.

    Peace

    -Ethan

    • Rob

      Ethan,
      Thanks for taking the time to reply. I’m not sure how to get a non-scientific history out of Gen 4:20, but maybe there’s something I’m missing. Can you (or someone) elaborate? Also, what two creation stories exist. Been a while since I’ve read Genesis front to back, but I don’t remember a second creation story. Once again, I could be missing something. Any help?

      Thanks.

      In Him

      Rob

  3. poserorprophet

    Hey Rob,

    I think the key to reading any text is understanding the genre of that text. For example, I read (and apply) a manual on how to build a cabinet very differently than I read (and apply) a book of 18th century poetry. So, when we come to the bible, we recognize that it is a compilation of texts and that these texts are drawn from many different genres. We see historical narratives, poetry, epistles, apocalyptic visions, and so on. Therefore, when it comes to Gen 1-2 (each chapter there has a different creation story, so those are the two accounts to which Ethan referred) we must understand the genre of those chapters. It seems to me that those chapters are best read as ancient Hebrew poetry and are not intended to be read as literal accounts of a young earth or whatever else.

    I think that this approach might help you avoid falling into that liberal spiral you want to avoid.

    Grace and peace,

    Dan

  4. Rob

    I guess I’m not convinced yet. Having re-read Genesis 1 and 2 I would be interested to hear how a YEC defends that, and I don’t think that an OEC can necessarily use that passage to demonstrate that we shouldn’t interpret Genesis more literally than just poetry. What I most appreciate, I think, is that we can have this discussion openly and without vitriol. One thing seems certain; if we, as followers of Christ, allow an issue like this to distract us from the more important things then we are sure to make the devil laugh. This kind of debate is healthy and good, but not at the expense of fellowship and reaching out to a broken and fallen world.

    Joining you in praising Him,

    Rob

  5. Rob

    By the way, Dan, I definitely appreciate the breakdown that you gave. Certainly I agree that some Scripture is proscriptive while other parts are descriptive. Thanks for weighing in to help me in my attempt to figure this stuff out.

  6. Jim Martin

    I somehow missed this news regarding Francis Collins. This is wonderful. I am glad to see this kind of person in that role.

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