The Biologos blog Science and the Sacred posted two excellent videos of N. T. Wright a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been slow in getting to these, with so many other interesting topics on the agenda – but both are worth a look and a conversation. The first Meaning and Myth deals with Genesis 1-3, the second is on Evolution, the Enlightenment, and Worldviews.
Watch these videos (below) and lets start a conversation.
What role does our worldview play in our understanding and interpretation of scripture?
In his discussion of Genesis, Wright suggests that we have problems with issues that are tangled together, theological, political, and cultural. We need to step outside of our preconceptions and look at scripture on its own terms.
A couple of brief quotes:
Genesis 1, 2, and 3, are some of the most explosive chapters – and when anthropologists talk about myth what they mean is not an untrue story. What they mean is a story that is full of power for how we understand ourselves individually, for how we understand ourselves as a community, for how we understand what the human project is all about. … we need to lighten up about these words and maybe find some other words because I do think it matters that something like a primal pair getting it wrong did happen. But that doesn’t mean I am saying that therefore Genesis is a kind of positivist, literal, clunky, history over against myth.
We have to read Genesis for all its worth. And to say either history or myth is a way of saying I’m not going to study this text for all its 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.
The ideas of cultural influence and worldview are dealt with from a slightly different direction in the other video, Worldview and Scripture. In this video Wright suggests that we live in a worldview that insists that God and the world are widely separated from each other – an enlightenment worldview. At one extreme this worldview denies the existence of God, but the response within the church also buys into the enlightenment view.
The idea that God simply steps in from time to time to perform a miracle is an error of the enlightenment worldview. The conception that a natural mechanism – be it evolution, plate tectonics, or meteorology - eliminates God from the picture is an error of the enlightenment worldview.
If we take off the spectacles of our worldview and see God as all in all – not as generally distant, stepping in to perform specific miracles from time to time – many of the conflicts between science and faith may disappear. At very least we can focus on the questions that matter not on misleading details.
What do you think? How does our worldview impact the way we look at scripture and at the conflict between science and faith? Does it influence the way we look at the questions of creation?
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