According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Creation Story of Genesis "From the Dust" Series @ Biologos

A Conversation About Genesis (RJS)
by RJS
October 11, 2012

We’ve been looking at the question of beginnings from the perspective of the early church fathers using Peter Bouteneff’s book. The post Tuesday concentrated on Basil – and his Hexaemeron. But it is also useful to listen to what contemporary Christian thinkers and biblical scholars have to say about Genesis.
This twelve minute clip comes from the new BioLogos DVD From the Dust directed by Ryan Pettey. An abbreviated version of this clip is contained within the film, the entire clip is included in the bonus footage on the DVD. The film is intended as a conversation starter – and is aimed at a Christian audience addressing the questions that many Christians wrestle with when it comes to science and the Christian faith. In this clip a number of different scholars, biblical scholars, scientists, and theologians comment on Genesis. It is a pretty good line up: Alister McGrath, John Polkinghorne, John Walton, Karen Strand Winslow, Chris Tilling, Nancey Murphy, Peter Enns, Ard Louis, and N. T. Wright.
Science and Genesis
N.T. Wright, John Polkinghorne, Allister McGrath
Biologos "From the Dust" Series
A couple of highlights. John Walton points out the importance of culture in translation (6:18-6:35):
We’re well aware that people have to translate the language for us. We forget that people have to translate the culture for us. And therefore if we want to get the best benefit from the communication we need to try to enter their world, hear it as the audience would have heard it, as the author would have meant it, and to read it in those terms.
N. T. Wright at 8:17-9:05 reflects on the intent of Genesis 1 – he agrees with Walton, but also takes it in a his own direction.
Telling a story about somebody who constructs something in six days … it’s a temple story, it’s about God making a place for himself to dwell and this is heaven and earth and what you do with that is the last thing is you put an image of the God into this temple and suddenly Genesis 1 instead of it being “were there six days?” or “were there five?” or “were there seven?” or “were they 24 hours?”, it’s actually about when the good creator God made the world he made heaven and earth as the space in which he himself was going to dwell. And putting humans into that construct as a way of both reflecting his own love into the world and drawing out the praise and glory from the world back to himself. And that’s the literal meaning of Genesis.
And again at 10:32-11:05:
This world was made to be God’s abode, God’s home, God’s dwelling. He shared it with us and he now wants to rescue it and redeem it. So that we have to read Genesis for all it’s worth and to say either it’s history or myth is a way of saying I’m not going to study this text for all it’s worth. I’m just going to flatten it out so that it conforms to the cultural questions that my culture today is telling me to ask. And I think that is a form of actually being unfaithful to the text itself.

The whole clip is great – but if you only have time for a small bit the stretch from 8 or 9 minutes to 11 minutes shouldn’t be missed.
Basil looked at the text of Genesis 1 in the terms of his day. He didn’t read it with a consciousness of 21st century science, although he did have a sense of the futility of reading it in terms of 4th century science. He and Wright are on the same page in at least one respect, and probably more. The point of Genesis 1 is not science. It is not about concordance with science of the 4th century or the 21st century. It is about God, the glory of the creator and his creation.
What do you think of Wrights symphony analogy?
Do we tend to read the notes without experiencing the music when we read Genesis, or much of the rest of scripture for that matter?
From the Dust is available for purchase from Highway Media or from Amazon, ($20 DVD, $25 Blu-Ray).
A study guide for From the Dust has been prepared by David Vosburg, associate professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. The guide was developed especially for use with college students, but can be used with a much broader group.
If you would like to contact me directly you may do so at rjs4mail[at]
If interested you can subscribe to a full text feed of my posts at Musings on Science and Theology.

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