Did Jesus really walk on water? (RJS)

Although I have often interacted here with posts on other blogs, I have not generally paid a great deal of attention to the comments on those other blogs. There was an interesting comment on Peter Enns’s post Jesus and the Sea though, a comment I think worth a response and some consideration and one that relates to many of the discussions we have had here of late. (Picture to the right: Sea of Galilee or Lake Kinneret on a rather calm day.)

Pete:

I like your writings here on the Bible; they’re the best thing on Biologos.  But I want to ask you a tough question.  Let me preface it. Your article here appears to argue a both/and position.  That is, it appears to treat the events described both as real historical events and as events with deep symbolic resonance.

In the past, I have seen some theistic evolutionists act, well, kind of squirmy when such episodes are brought  up.  I remember watching one debate, where people kept asking a Protestant minister who was also a TE whether he though Jesus actually walked on the water.  Every time the phrase “walked on the water” was used, the minister corrected people with “he walked on the SEA”, and went into a learned discourse about sea-symbolism in the Old Testament.  By the end, no one could tell what the minister believed about the historicity of the story.

Of course, for the average Joe, if Jesus walked on the sea, he also walked on the water, so the historical question is the same.  Let me put it this way.  If we had an undamaged, clear videotape of the incident, and played it back today, what would we SEE?

I won’t be offended by any reasoned answer, but you can plead the 5th if you wish.

This post didn’t get many comments, although the conversation continued with several more along the same theme as this one. The issue came up in the comment stream on other later posts as well. It was suggested that there is a negative     correlation between taking the position that theistic evolution is the best description of God’s method of creation method and a willingness to believe in the miracles related in scripture, in the Old Testament, and more importantly in the New Testament. TE, it was suggested, starts one on a slippery slope to deny any active work of God. Liberal rationalism here we come. So we ask again the question:

Did Jesus really walk on water?

Well, I am a scientist, someone who certainly takes an evolutionary view of creation, who is skeptical of intelligent design, and yet claims to be an orthodox evangelical Christian … let me take a stab at this.

As a Christian both orthodox and evangelical I affirm the historic creeds – the rule of faith which we have received from the beginning. The Apostle’s creed is a good summary:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

But we believe this, I believe this, not because it is a creed – separate from scripture, but because it is a condensation of scripture. This is the Apostolic witness, the testimony to Jesus as Lord:

John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Philippians 2: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians 1: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Wow. These are powerful passages. As Christians we believe that Jesus was born with a mission and a purpose as the very embodiment of Israel’s God, our God. He was Messiah. He was begotten not created. In him and by him everything was created. He came with a mission to reconcile all things to God himself.

If we really believe this, the acts of Jesus described in the gospels are not arbitrary acts – they are part of his mission and the prophetic witness. They display the power of God. The signs and wonders, the miracles of Jesus are both real historical events and
events with deep symbolic resonance.

Did Jesus walk on water? Yes, he walked on water, stilled the wind, healed and restored. Not for convenience but as part of his mission.

Theism not deism. It is common in parts of our society to dismiss the power of God, to reduce theism (belief in a personal interactive God) to deism (belief in a ‘God’ who got everything started). Miracles, signs, and wonders are simply not believable. There must be a rational (read: natural) explanation. But Christianity is not a deist faith; it is a theist faith. God interacts with and in his creation – in relationship with his people. When we consider the signs and wonders in recorded in scripture sometimes a ‘natural’ explanation is found – and the wonder is in the timing not physical cause, but on other occasions no natural cause is present. After all -  the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land to part the waters of the Red Sea. Suggestion of a natural cause and effect does not undermine the work of God. But it need not be sought.

All of this has no bearing on my view of the mechanism of creation. “We” were not present to witness any miracles of timing. It seems to me that any speculation about a miracle, sign, or wonder without an audience is rather pointless. All we are left with is the evidence of God’s work through his natural cause, the historical record of what happened and the ‘natural’ laws of the environment within which it occurred. Evolutionary creation makes the most sense out of the data. There is no need to invoke Intelligent Design over and above the creative power of God through his ‘natural’ process; although ID cannot be ruled out, the gaps, where an adequate ‘natural’ explanation does not also exist, are shrinking. Identification of miracles of timing is well nigh impossible with the passage of time. Many readers will disagree with me on some of this – but not, I hope, because belief in the signs and wonders of Jesus and in his resurrection is in some way contingent on specific understandings of the mechanism of creation.

What do you think? Are the signs and wonders of Jesus real historical events?

Is there any relationship here between your view of creation and your view of the signs and wonders performed by Jesus?

If  you wish, you may contact me directly at rjs4mail[at]att.net

  • Scot McKnight

    I didn’t mean to comment there because the post got my mind wandering into ideas, but I want to wonder aloud if there is not a correlation between “how” God created/continues to create [important to me] and how God “does miracle.”
    Is there perhaps a revelation, in a miracle event, of the potentiality of physical matter? Is there a potential we don’t yet grasp? Is miracle a “thin place” revelation of what’s in store of the completion of creation?

  • T

    RJS,
    First, Yes. Second, thanks for posting this. Of course, my whole being smiled as I read your ‘theism not deism’ paragraph. Amen!
    A big part of our confession that ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a confession of his power over everything. Tough to be a Christian in a meaningful sense without it.

  • phil_style

    RJS, like T, I light-up a little on reading your statement distinguishing theism and deism.
    I think there is a third extreme, superstition.
    Deism sayds that God/supernatural does not intervene
    Theism says that God can/does intervene, but on specific “purposeful” moments that are out of the ordinary (testable, repeatable, normal events)
    Superstition/”magic” says that supernatural events happen according to some “rules” (a spell, or a potion or something like that) and that if the rules are repeated, the events will re-occur. Superstition is testable becasue it claims repetability, theism is not.

  • Robin

    Appreciate the post. The monks attached to my mother’s church have recently started teaching natural explanations for most of the NT miracles. The most recent one she told me about was that Jesus didn’t really multiply the loaves and the fishes to feed the crowds, but that the miracle was even greater…it was a miracle of sharing. So, I’m glad to see you sticking up for a reading of scripture that allows God to break into history for his purposes.
    I have another question though. I know that you think God can break into history for his mission, but that Gen. 1-3 is probably not factual history. It is hard to get rid of the miracles in the NT and still have a Christ that is more than a man, but I have often wondered how TE feel about the miracles in the OT. From big miracles like the plagues, parting the red sea, and bringing down the walls of Jericho, to smaller miracles like the healing of Naaman.
    Would you hold to miracles such as these in the same way you hold to NT miracles? Do you think your position is a common position for TE or that many TE would be more eager to discount miraculous accounts than yourself?

  • phil_style

    Me previous could be interpreted the wrong way, allow me to repost it:
    RJS, like T, I light-up a little on reading your statement distinguishing theism and deism.
    I think there is a third extreme, superstition.
    Deism says that God/supernatural does not intervene in the natural world
    Theism says that God can/does intervene, but on specific “purposeful” moments that are out of the ordinary (the “ordinay” being testable, repeatable, normal events)
    Superstition/”magic” says that supernatural events happen according to some “rules” (a spell, or a potion or something like that) and that if the rules are repeated, the events will re-occur. Superstition is testable becasue it claims repetability, theism is not.

  • Wyatt Roberts

    Yes, I do believe Jesus walked on the sea, stilled the storm, etc. That does not necessarily mean, however, that none of Jesus’ miracles might be viewed by modern eyes as less than miraculous. Casting out demons, for example. Could it be that conditions like mental disorders like retardation, schizophrenia, etc. were viewed as demonic activity? It’s quite possible, I think.
    For what it’s worth, Richard Bauckham, author of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, doesn’t accept the story of Jesus walking on the water as historical, but sees it as a later development of the church.

  • Robin

    I think we could still agree that curing someone of mental retardation or schizophrenia by touching them would be pretty miraculous, no? (Especially if he could make their schizophrenia or bipolar disorder infect a herd of pigs)

  • RJS

    Wyatt Roberts,
    I think that there may be ‘natural’ explanations for some of the signs and wonders. They may be events that involve control of natural processes or such. But this isn’t prerequisite.
    The idea that they are later additions of the church to the witness of the life of Jesus I find much more troubling.

  • http://likeachildscience.blogspot.com/ like a child

    RJS,
    I appreciate your honestly. I’ve been following Biologos and while I enjoy the blog postings, I too have been wondering the same thing, particularly with the post you mentioned as well as the miracles series. Although nicely written, sometimes I feel like I’m not learning anything concrete – i.e. its all about semantics. As for myself, I’m still trying to reconcile where to draw the line for miracles in the Bible as a whole (including the one that Christianity rests upon). Your frankness is incredibly helpful. I’m not sure why Biologos’ position is not as obvious. They’ve discussed the various interpretations of Old Testament Adam, so I don’t see why they can’t address the various interpretations for NT miracles as well. I’m also appreciating that on this blog, there is not as much back and forth bickering in the comments about YEC versus TE so we can actually get to the heart of the issues! Thanks again!

  • Scot McKnight

    Wyatt, on the demonized “miracles.” Still, however one explains the more physical and psychological component of exorcism, there remains a powerful witness to Jesus as one who could liberate people from such enslavements.
    On Bauckham … that’s on old explanation and in part it fits with the willingness of ancient people to turn events into more mytho-poetic stories. If we are consistent in method, we have to make room for such explanations at time — if they are more compelling.
    I haven’t seen Bauckham’s explanation but it doesn’t sound right for him to say a later explanation of the church. Wouldn’t he see it as an authorial flourish?

  • Bill

    Are the signs and wonders of Jesus real historical events?
    Absolutley. If they aren’t then I am so deceived as to believe the healings I have seen right in fron of my face. If they weren’t historical events, how can we believe people like Luke who was very particular about placing the events and happenings with and around Jesus into historical context; in time and space?
    When I see healings and participate in them (which I have), I think, “This is what Jesus and the disciples did and I am doing it too.” Amazing. This is the stuff!

  • http://homepage.mac.com/rc.vervoorn Richard C. Vervoorn

    As Lord of the creation, Jesus is superior to that creation and the rules of the creation. And I believe that the gospels are telling the truth. So yes, Jesus did walk on the water.

  • RJS

    like a child,
    I struggled with the signs and wonders in scripture for quite awhile because the view taught in church bordered on the superstition view – of course Jesus was divine so he could do magic. But they were random acts of magic.
    The vision NT Wright gives in The Challenge of Jesus changed all that for me because it helped me see that the signs and wonders are part of the mission with deep significance, not random acts of a divine being. While one can enter into conversation and disagree with Wright in places, he is dead on right here. And once we, as Christians, realize the significance of the signs and wonders within the overall Christian story, belief makes more sense than skepticism.

  • Wyatt Roberts

    Scot, RJS, Robin — Yes, healing someone instantaneously of mental retardation would still be miraculous. I suppose that anything we might regard as “supernatural” must be translated at some point into some “natural” process (e.g. healings, creation, walking through walls, etc.) So your point is well taken.
    As far as Bauckham, I don’t recall exactly what his explanation was (and don’t have the book with me now), but I think it was in the same section where he addresses the use of “The Twelve” in the Gospels. There’s no agreement between Gospels on who “The Twelve” actually were, and he sees this as a concept that was developed by the early church to help explain/understand Jesus’ mission (very much like Paul).

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I believe that the signs and wonders happened and had the impact that was documented in the bible. Having said that, I think some of them may not be super-natural and some may be. To me, it does not matter whether we understand how or not because the mechanism is no less wondrous if it is explained. I like the concept of miracles of timing, that is new to me. If we were to understand that it was some wild fluke timing where everything aligned and the wind blew the sea, it does not take away from the sign or wonder. It is the impact that it had that was important and the timing that makes it wondrous.
    Relating that to evolution is not an issue for me. Understanding a natural mechanism does not make creation less wondrous. Again, the timing issue may play in evolution, or theism (intervention), or just a really cool reality that was created.
    As far as the deism and theism question, I am clearly theistic. Jesus makes it so for me.

  • http://emergingumc.blogspot.com Taylor Burton-Edwards

    The minister who insisted on correcting the language to “walking on the sea” had it exactly right. What REALLY happened is that Jesus was walking toward them or past them on the sea that same night or very early the next morning after the feeding of the 5000. Every gospel records it. And every gospel connects these two events tightly.
    This isn’t walking on the water [cultural, chronological timeline]. This IS walking on the sea [apocalyptic, kairological timeline].
    The truth isn’t in the historical act of human flesh on water. That’s just a surprise. Surprises happen, but don’t necessarily mean all that much.
    The truth is in the apocalyptic (revelatory) act of this man walking on the sea– a place symbolically a sign of chaos, and this night living that symbolism to the full with strong winds and waves that kept battering the boat as they tried to cross to the next destination– whether you think that was Bethsaida from Capernaum (synoptics) or whether you think that was from someplace else to Capernaum (John).
    The feeding (manna in the wilderness), the praying (God on the mountain in darkness), the storm (God of thunder) and the sea (God whose path is upon the sea)– it’s all revelation, it’s all thin place, it’s all a sign of the meeting of this age and the arriving age. It’s all apocalypse.
    I don’t know if a video camera would have caught this. I don’t know if a video camera can record apocalypse. It could record surprises– but then we might doubt whether it was even a surprise because we know what editing can do, and what even various camera angles or light conditions can do to make things appear that didn’t happen that way, or to make things not appear that did happen that way.
    Cameras don’t help us.
    But whether it can or cannot be captured on video makes is no less real, no less an actual incursion of God’s reign inside and alongside our humanly perceived timelines.
    It happened– because it was a happening.
    Peace in Christ,
    Taylor Burton-Edwards

  • http://lovedoesntletgo.blogspot.com Israel Sanchez

    Yes, I do believe in miracles in the bible. And I believe in miracles today. If God does not change, then neither does His interaction with His creation change.
    When He supernaturally healed a paraplegic, his muscles and bones had to go back in their place. In other words, the lame man did not suddenly have super glue or some fairy dust in his legs. Rather, all things supernaturally began functioning properly.

  • Alan K

    I agree with Taylor (#16). Video cannot capture revelation or theology or interpretation of events. If Jesus walked on water, so what. We would conclude that the world is a rather interesting place. But for Jesus to walk on the sea, that is much more significant and says a whole lot more about the authority of Jesus over evil, chaos and death. The science of the Bible cannot be understood apart from the theology of the Bible.

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    The person who asked that question (“Rich”) is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful commenter there. His follow up comments also bear quoting here. He interested in many of the same questions I am (many of which go unanswered at Biologos and here):

    In the case of Pete Enns, to be fair to him, the point of his column was not to raise that question at all, so he has the right to decline to answer it in this context. Still, it is very interesting how few TE supporters clearly distinguish their position from Deism *in practice* (as opposed to in theory). I bet there is not one living, breathing TE who believes in the literal occurrence of as many miracles as Calvin or Luther did. And I say that not in condemnation, but as what I take to be an accurate characterization of a seismic shift in the understanding of Christianity since the Enlightenment. It seems to me that most TEs embrace the Enlightenment with very few reservations, that most YECs are hostile to many of the Enlightenment’s major emphases, and that most ID people fall somewhere in the middle. Thus ID people are hit angrily from both sides, for giving in too much to the Enlightenment by the YECs, and for being insufficiently deferential to it by the TEs. It’s hard being in the moderate middle.
    ……
    I have no quarrel with Pete Enns if he doesn’t wish to answer my question here; it wasn’t, strictly speaking, the topic of his thread. Nonetheless, because the subject was miracles, I thought it might be a good place to raise the more general question. I detect in TEs two differing tendencies: (1) to get rid of as many miracles as possible; (2) to retain the Resurrection and maybe a few other favored miracles, without any coherent principle of interpretation that could justify the exceptions.
    I also detect another tendency in TEs. Just as evolutionary biologists often disagree violently with each other, behind closed doors, but put on a front of unity behind the name of Darwin in public, in order to avoid giving comfort to those they disdainfully call “creationists”, so I have notice that TEs who disagree with each other over miracles (and I know such disagreements exist), always soft-pedal or pass over those differences when publicly commenting in front of either YEC or ID people. I’ve never seen a TE publicly agree with a conventional believer who is criticizing another TE for a liberal view of miracles. I dislike such tribal behavior.

    My own impression is that TE and Biologos are big tents that welcome theological liberalism in the interest of promoting evolution in the church.

  • Jason Lee

    pds:
    I find it ironic that comments #8 and #10 refute your theory of TE Christians. Did you read the comments?

  • Justin Topp

    I don’t fear science revealing aspects of miracles but I don’t expect them to fully. This means I don’t go to the text a priori leaving out anything that seems unscientific. I think that this is in fact a very big deal for someone like me who really does allow reason to trump all. I guess I just accept that we can’t recreate those miraculous events and thus undermine them. I agree with RJS though that Jesus did do the things attributed to him (or at least most of them….). Jesus AS God is essential to Christianity and its uniqueness. But perhaps the NT writers simply “used” miracles to ascribe divinity to Jesus? I’m not sure that I could disprove that either.
    I do find it interesting also that many of us do discount a number of the OT miracles while the NT miracles are left untouched. We’re Christians, so of course we do that some might say. But aren’t we grafted in to the people that the OT is describing? I pose this as someone who questions most of the OT…
    scienceandtheology.wordpress.com

  • Argon

    Jason, it’s ironic to us but also hewing to a pattern.

  • Robin

    Jason and Argon,
    The comments of Scot and RJS are anecdata and do nothing to refute a theory about TE Christians. They are 2 data points on Scot’s blog and the comment PDS posted was at BioLogos. I haven’t done any type of statistical analysis to see how other TE supporters deal with miracles, but I can authoritatively say that the two data points of Scot and RJS don’t disprove an allegation made against the TE community in general. That’d be like saying evangelicals are hateful because my grandma is really nice and so is my mom.

  • Robin

    *aren’t
    And I say it doesn’t disprove anything because he never claimed that every TE supporter acted thusly, just that he had noticed a trend.

  • Jason Lee

    Robin:
    pds’s hypothesis is left unsupported because pds was so sweeping in the hypothesis:
    “TE and Biologos are big tents that welcome theological liberalism in the interest of promoting evolution in the church. ”
    There needs to be the qualification of “are more likely to” between “that” and “welcome” for pds’s hypothesis not to be discarded, no?

  • Robin

    Jason,
    I don’t get that last point. Saying they’re a big tent that welcomes theological liberalism isn’t negated by the example of Scot and RJS, their inclusion reinforces the notion of big tentism.
    If I say that the Democratic party is becoming a big tent that welcomes centrist or conservative members like Jim Webb, pointing out that it also contains lefties like Dennis Kucinich doesn’t do anything to prove that it isn’t a big tent that also welcomes conservatives.
    Have I misinterpreted something you said?

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    Jason #20 and Argon #22,
    “I find it ironic that comments #8 and #10 refute your theory of TE Christians.”
    My theory or Rich’s? How so? Refute all of his “theory” or some of it? Did you read my comment? Did you realize that I was quoting Rich from another thread?
    “Jason, it’s ironic to us but also hewing to a pattern.”
    Hmmmm. Here it comes. I see patterns developing too.
    “If Jesus walked on water, so what.”
    Alan K., thanks.

  • RJS

    Robin,
    There is a problem, though, with paying too much attention to such trends. They tend to mislead and emphasize surface similarities without any real attention paid to cause and effect. They also lead to “guilt by association.” Worse yet they become ways to undermine discussions by concentrating on tangential issues rather than the core issues.
    So of course liberal Christians (and here I mean those who deny an active role for God, ala Spong, JAT Robinson, etc.) will find TE and rationalized miracles both best fit the overall worldview. The “trend” is meaningless in our discussion.
    The fact that people like NT Wright and Tim Keller are involved with discussion fostered by BioLogos counters the trend that ties their approach to TE to rational naturalism. This is a discussion within the evangelical (broadly defined) community.

  • Scot McKnight

    The little sniping going on isn’t helping, but there is a really good point being made in all this:
    Is there a correlation between one’s theory of origins and one’s theory of miracles in general? I’d say yes, and on a spectrum and not nearly so tidy as some are making it here today.
    Do TEs believe in fewer miracles?
    Do creationists believe in the maximum number?
    This also comes down to genre sensitivities. What kind of literature is Genesis 1-3? What kind of literature is the Gospel accounts of miracles, including resurrection?
    Would you hold Peter’s pence (the fish in the mouth) as solidly miraculous as the resurrection?

  • Justin Topp

    Scot,
    “Do TEs believe in fewer miracles?”… not that I’m aware of. But again, it is a “big tent” (non-apologetic movements generally are).
    “Do Creationists believe in the maximum number?”… you would think so. But it seems like it is more superstition as previous posters mentioned instead of theism. I say this from what I have seen from my Creationist friends, not as a logical extension of Creationism.
    I would say that there is not necessarily a correlation between theory of origins and miracles but that there is a correlation between the limits someone places on science and their potential belief in miracles. But even this is just a correlation, not a causation.
    scienceandtheology.wordpress.com

  • Kenny Johnson

    The topic of OT miracles came up in the book I’m currently reading, “The Drama of Scripture” by Bartholomew and Goheen. They note that some understand that the plagues in Exodus can be understood as related to natural catastrophes that are common in Egypt. Greta Hort suggests that the first 6 plagues resulted from a high Nile infected by flagellates. So:
    Plague 1) Flagellates account for blood-red color of Nile, death of fish, etc.
    Plague 2) Frog deaths due to bacteria from decaying fish
    Plague 3) Gnats = mosquitos which typically accompany the flood season
    Plague 4) Flies = dog flies known for their bites
    Plague 5) Livestock plague from anthrax spread by dead frogs
    Plague 6) Boils from the bites of the dog flies
    Plagues 7-10 not connected to the first 6
    Plague 7) hailstorms are not common, but violent storms are
    Plague 8) Locusts plagues were known in Egypt
    Plague 9) Desert sandstorms caused darkness
    Plague 10) Hort asserts no natural explanation for it. However Humphreys suggests that wet grains stored after the storms contained poisonous mycotoxins that were fed to the firstborn [why only he firstborn?]
    The authors (Bartholomew and Goheen) suggest that even if these are correct, we must not “rest to a merely naturalistic understanding of them, in which Gog is brought in only to explain what cannot be explained naturally. God sustains the whole of creation in existence, and the laws of nature are part of his order for creation.”
    I think this is interesting, even in relation to Jesus’ miracles — and something I think Scot is hinting at. What if these miracles weren’t really violations of the creative order but actually peaks at the greater creation behind the thin veil.
    So even if we take the natural explanation for the plagues (which, by the way, I don’t even think is necessary), God would still be behind it.

  • Robin

    RJS,
    I didn’t intend to ‘pay attention to the trend’ I just didn’t like the attempt to discredit PDS’ comment because you and Scot are two data points that don’t agree with it.
    Trends do matter to me though. I want to know, if I start down the BioLogos road where am I likely to end up? Is there a great chance that I’ll end up like RJS and Scot with a robust, if generous, orthodoxy, or will I end up hanging out with MacLaren and denying the essential truthfulness of most of the OT. Trends are slippery slope arguments and as such they don’t tell us what is true or false, but they give me pause when I think about where people actually end up.

  • Kenny Johnson

    Forgive all my typos and misspellings

  • Taylor Burton-Edwards

    Scot,
    I wonder if there may be a few meta-questions behind the “theory of origins” and the “theory of miracles” question–
    1) What do we believe about what is real?
    2) Are there varying depths or dimensions to reality?
    3) Is facticity (measured in scientific or “historical” terms– recognizing that all historical investigation requires supplying a narrative that can never be comprehensively accurate in any sense) the only one, the primary one, one among several?
    4) How does one sort out the criteria for determining what is real or “more real” in what contexts given the possibility of multi-dimensional levels of realities?
    I suggest these as meta-questions, because it seems to me that answers to these questions might better predict both where we end up committing ourselves on questions of origins, on questions of miracles, and on questions of the relationships between them.
    Peace in Christ,
    Taylor Burton-Edwards

  • Dana Ames

    For years I haven’t been comfortable with an understanding of God that describes his acting in the world as “intervention”. I know it’s hard to put words on some things so that communication is clear. However, the difference between “deism” and “theism” doesn’t seem so great to me, except with regard to involvement/no involvement; both definitions posit God as distant, and Reality as somehow divided into upper (“miraculous”) and lower (“natural”) storeys, which seems to be the stepping stone to dualism. Wright was a big help to me, too, not only wrt the purpose of Jesus’ acts we would call “miracles”, but with giving more vocabulary, with theological underpinnings to support it, to describe Reality as being one thing, and that the Jewish rejection of dualism carried over into Christianity.
    It helps me to, in my mind’s eye, see God as “bigger” than everything, and somehow everything is all “in” him. Not that God is the cause of everything (need to avoid superstition too), but that when something we call “miraculous” happens, it is like the parting of a veil so that we can see something of the other, non-material, aspect of Reality. This reminds us that God is at work all the time; we just can’t see how, and we wouldn’t have the capacity to understand it all even if we could see it.
    So did Jesus walk on water? Yes. Did Jesus walk on the sea? Yes. The event doesn’t have to be reduced to *only* one level of meaning, which meaning, as well as the reduction itself, would only serve to keep Reality divided.
    Dana

  • John C. Gardner

    The idea of miracles is a contentious one(at least) in a modern or late modern world. I myself accept the authority of Scripture and the existence of miracles. I do wonder whether miracles happen today or as some claim were restricted to Biblical times. How do we explain miracles today and how do know if they exist at a real level(as opposed to a metaphorical level)? What books deal with these issues?
    Tom Wright in his book on the resurrection certainly provides support for this one-off miracle which orthodox Christians believe will happen at the end of the age for all.

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    RJS #28 and others,
    I see many important aspects of Rich’s comments. Here is one of the main ones.
    An argument put forth by Biologos and other TE’s is: Look at all the Christian scientists who thoroughly accept evolutionary theory– you should too.
    I was surprised when I read of Christian scientists who did not feel that the Cambrian Explosion posed any problem for evolutionary theory. I and many other feel that it most obviously does. That is one of the main reasons I engaged in discussions with RJS and others. I wanted to understand their way of thinking. I have learned a lot. As RJS and I have discussed in the past, she holds a strong preference for natural explanations that I do not share. In the area of biological history, she is a sort of a “theistic materialist.” This preference most certainly affects her evaluation of the scientific evidence.
    My take away: Christian scientists hold a variety of views of God, miracles, God’s intervention in nature and history, etc. These views will inevitably affect their evaluation of the scientific evidence, at least in the area of the historical sciences.

  • Robin

    As a scotsman (genetically) my undying hatred of England and all things Anglican (except for John Stott and J.I. Packer and J.C. Ryle) is why I refuse to read N.T. Wright. I just can’t bear to think where that trend might lead :)

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    Robin #32,
    Good point. Also, shepherds who have flocks have to ask where their flock will end up if they endorse the folks at Biologos without reservation.
    The history of the American church from 1870 to 1940 can shed light here, I think.

  • Kenny Johnson

    @38
    Then don’t dare listen to Wright, his voice is just so soothing. ;)

  • Ron

    I like the story and listen to it. Whether it is meant as a fact or an analogy is not important to me. I know God, I have met the living God in a personal way. It is probably my most treasured possession. While I love the Bible and read and contemplate in more sometimes than others, a word by word literal belief is not necessary. It is theological at points, it gives practical advice at times. For many reasons there is a good case to make for it being an inspired collection of books. Its history from the Septuagint to the collection of the letters is important as well as what we read in it.
    Nevertheless, if I had no ears or eyes to hear or read the Bible , I still have my Friend who has visited me on many occasions , the Friend who showed me mercy when I was lost and the Friend that gave me a genuine fear of His power when I needed that.

  • Ken Keith

    There is a greater point that needs to be raised: Is the Bible true? If one believes the Bible is true then creation is true, if creation is not true then the rest of the bible may as well be fiction, including salvation.
    I have a deep science background but when challenged on the above point I looked with fresh eyes at the science of origins and concluded that evolution of any type doesn’t hold water. Additionally I have called Jesus my Lord and based my eternity on the Bible. That is too much to risk to a book that may not be true.
    I feel that one can’t pick and choose what to believe. John 1, Philippians 1 and Colossians 1 are in the same Bible as Genesis 1-3.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Thanks for all the thoughts on this thread, it has made me surface my views more than I had.
    I think that I believe god pervades all levels of existence in a way that makes his will be done, not through conscious effort, but because it is the way it is. His will is not done on top of the will of humans, hence free will.
    I also believe we humans have access to but a very crude part of reality and god’s reality is real in a way that we can not understand.
    Miracles, are things that happened that we do not understand, but I believe that we will eventually understand how all miracles happen. When we do, I do not believe that we will discover that there is no god, but the opposite, we will discover that it is the care of god that we experience at all times.
    For awhile today I thought that the only true miracle that we will not figure out is the resurrection. But now, later today, as I have realized that when we know how the resurrection happened we will have fully realized the care of god, action of god, plan of god, fabric of god, and thereby be resurrected. The resurrected body as shown by Jesus is not a magic trick, it is the nature that we are meant to be as god intended. Like the miracles, we will figure out how it happened and in that moment realize the intertwining with god and purpose.
    I wish I was more articulate.

  • http://www.krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    You can add me to the list of theistic evolutionists who sees no conflict between TE and miracles. Most of the people I know who call themselves TE believe in miracles. There is no necessary linkage between the TE and denial of miracles.
    I suspect what is going on is that YEC advocates perceive TEs as taking the TE position as a way to rationalize an alleged distrust of Genesis 1-3. If TEs will “explain away” these passages, why not other passages, say with Jesus’ miracles?
    Many TE critics are ideologically committed to casting TEs in this light. In fact, what most TEs I know are doing is trying to take each passage in light of its historical context and genre and interpret accordingly. They do this precisely because they DO trust Scripture and what to be diligent in handling each of the pieces well.
    I do think Dana and Scot point to one of my concerns … a binary distinction between miracles and the natural. Something momentous and unexpected events can result from purely natural causes. And yet it is possible that each of the billions of human lives created is a miracle but because it happens so often we see at as natural. Defining a miracle is not so easy as it might first seem.

  • Kenny Johnson

    @Ken #42
    What do you mean when you say the Bible is true? What is your definition of creation?

  • Fish

    “Most of the people I know who call themselves TE believe in miracles. There is no necessary linkage between the TE and denial of miracles.”
    As a TE I agree. I do not understand the logic that says miracles only happened 2000 years ago, either. Miracles probably happen every day but our rational minds discount them.

  • http://davidwarkentin.blogspot.com David

    I think Michael’s point #44 is important for clarifying positions from both sides:
    “Defining a miracle is not so easy as it might first seem.”
    What do we mean by “miracle”?

  • http://www.tiedtoarocket.blogspot.com PDR

    “Miracles probably happen every day but our rational minds discount them.”
    Understatement.
    How easily I spend day after day ignoring the fact that I live (miracle) in a home with 4 other lovely people(miracles) who love, share with, and forgive me (all miracles) repeatedly. While daily watching the sun rise and set (miracles), birds sing, rain fall, wind blow, I get to work with folks who choose to spend their days serving those who need a bit of help to restore their bodies to the miraculous level of function we have. At the same time we live in worlds inside ourselves (emotion, pain, hope, joy, passion, guilt, regret, forgiveness) and with each other (the same list). My definition of miracle at times seems a bit narrow, and I sit at a man-made screen discussing this with folks the world over. I wonder if in all of this I am lulled into thinking I know far more than I really do about what constitutes a miracle.

  • Ken Keith

    I generally take a literal interpretative approach to the Bible when it appears to be literal. Genesis 1-3 says God created the universe in 6 days made up of a morning and an evening. The Hebrew word for day is a literal 24 hour period, there are better words for a period of time. Doesn’t get more literal than that.
    I am not against science. True science has direct observation and repeatability, everything else is theory. When science can observe the making of matter from nothing and make it over and over, and the creation of a “simple” cell then I will reconsider Genesis 1-3.

  • like a child

    Here might be some relevant posts on Biologos on the subject of miracles, although none of which really get at the heart of RJS’s post today.
    http://biologos.org/questions/biologos-and-miracles/
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/scienceandthesacred/2009/05/a-rational-belief.html
    And an interesting discussion in the comments section of http://biologos.org/blog/surprised-by-joy/ , particularly comment 980.

  • RJS

    Ken Keith,
    If you want to enter the conversation, great. We welcome comments from all points of view. But all you are doing is dropping off-topic bombs on the literalness of Gen 1-3.
    This post is on the miracles, signs and wonders of Jesus and why they make sense.
    Is it your contention that they only make sense because the Bible is true?

  • MatthewS

    Thank you for this. I’ve read about half the comments so someone may have already beat me to this.
    The book of Acts contains some important signs and wonders, too. These continue the mission of Jesus on the earth but through the apostles and the early church. I take the miracles of Jesus literally, so also the healings and signs and wonders of Acts. Honestly, I think I’m more skeptical at outrageous claims of changed lives than I am of the miracles of Jesus. Creator God should have no problem walking on water. Changing the heart and attitude and actions of someone who has a free but cracked will – now THAT’S a miracle!

  • R Hampton

    Many TE critics are ideologically committed to casting TEs in this light. In fact, what most TEs I know are doing is trying to take each passage in light of its historical context and genre and interpret accordingly. They do this precisely because they DO trust Scripture and what to be diligent in handling each of the pieces well.
    I second Mr. Kruse’s statement.

  • pds

    Michael #44,
    “Most of the people I know who call themselves TE believe in miracles.”
    The issue raised was never whether some TE proponents believe in some miracles. More anecdotes of TE’s who believe in some miracles does not further this discussion.
    Questioning the motives of people making these observations doesn’t help much either. Many of the comments here seem to confirm the “tribal behavior” comment.

  • RJS

    pds,
    Warnings about the history of the American church from 1870-1945 do little good either. This is merely one more “anecdote.”
    The issue was raised and the implication was – TE leads to a dismissal of miracles and a slide into liberal rationalism.
    I disagree with the this premise. I think that is the point that Michael was making as well.
    Many TE critics does not mean all TE critics – but we need to deal with the issues here, not fence off perceived slippery slopes.

  • RickK

    I think what separates the miracles of Jesus from the reported miracles of other people 2000 years ago is the faith of the reader/listener. Historical records are full of miracles ascribed to various people during the time of Jesus.
    By way of comparison, we have many events and miracles in the Old Testament that are clearly “borrowed” from earlier Sumerian and Mesopotamian legends. Can we honestly call the stories “myths” when they were Sumerian or Mesopotamian, but call them actual events when claimed by Israelites?
    How many “miracle workers” walk the Earth today who have devoted, believing followers who tell amazing stories of incredible feats? Do we believe them more or less than we believe the Gospels? Why?
    A perfectly reasonable, rational argument can be made that Jesus never did anything that broke any laws of physics, and that the miracles attributed to him were the invention of his followers and biographers. In a world where many beliefs were vying for primacy, it couldn’t hurt to give your guy a little superhuman cachet.
    Poetry, not journalism.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    56
    RickK
    Poetry, not journalism.
    If you have not trademarked that then you need to do it now.

  • danderson

    I asked this question on another post: What is the criticism of Cornelius Hunter’s critiques of evolution as poor science and more metaphysical than good research? I found his book, Darwin’s God, very insightful and provacative. It seems that the pro-evolution crowd still have a lot of questions to answer and they can become very creative when they need to fit square pegs into round holes…

  • phil_style

    RickK: “In a world where many beliefs were vying for primacy, it couldn’t hurt to give your guy a little superhuman cachet.”
    Interesting points, although this does raise the issue: How much writing of the period is there, of similar genre, that claims miracles like those in the gospel texts for example?
    And anyway, if there were a load of competiitors claiming miracles, and one decisdes to ascrib some to “your guy” does it really make him any differnet…

  • John M.

    If Jesus didn’t walk on water, what did Peter do?!

  • Kyle Nolan

    Scot (#1) – I think John Polkinghorne has made the suggestion that God might exercise his agency within the realm of quantum physics. I’m not a scientist, and I haven’t taken a science class in a few years, but some of the stuff I’ve read by him about this is pretty interesting.

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    Rich’s and my comments are not primarily about slippery slope dangers.
    Rich’s comment explicitly recognizes that there is a range of belief about miracles amongst TE’s:

    I also detect another tendency in TEs. Just as evolutionary biologists often disagree violently with each other, behind closed doors, but put on a front of unity behind the name of Darwin in public, in order to avoid giving comfort to those they disdainfully call “creationists”, so I have notice that TEs who disagree with each other over miracles (and I know such disagreements exist), always soft-pedal or pass over those differences when publicly commenting in front of either YEC or ID people. I’ve never seen a TE publicly agree with a conventional believer who is criticizing another TE for a liberal view of miracles. I dislike such tribal behavior.

    I would like there to be a consensus on a middle range of possible positions that are faithful to scripture, orthodoxy, and good science. Unfortunately, I see a tribalism on both sides that tends to prevent that.

  • BradK

    Ken @42
    “I have a deep science background but when challenged on the above point I looked with fresh eyes at the science of origins and concluded that evolution of any type doesn’t hold water.”
    I don’t mean to pry, Ken, but would you mind sharing some details about your science background? I wouldn’t ask except that your experience might provide a data point in opposition to some things I have observed in the past. Please don’t feel obligated though.

  • Kenny Johnson

    @John M
    Maybe he was just running really fast?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe3St1GgoHQ ;)

  • R Hampton

    I would like there to be a consensus on a middle range of possible positions that are faithful to scripture, orthodoxy, and good science.
    The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed do just that. But because this accommodates such a great range of views on miracles, those who wish for a more narrowly defined view find them unsatisfactory.

  • Fish

    @RickK (56) “By way of comparison, we have many events and miracles in the Old Testament that are clearly “borrowed” from earlier Sumerian and Mesopotamian legends.”
    Excellent point. I would love to get a few examples. Other than the flood. I’m very interested in these common, repeated myths across cultures.

  • Robin

    Fish (65),
    the only example I can think of is the flood, but that shows up globally in creation stories, not just in sumeria and mesopatamia. I’ve been reading Susan Wise Bauer’s history of the ancient world. She goes in depth into the different versions of the flood story from around the world but never mentions any similar stories. She is a Christian, but she has tried to present her history objectively, so I would presume that if there were other similar myths that crossed cultures she would have presented them for the sake of her credibility.

  • http://www.theproblemwithkevin.com kevin s.

    It is not at all clear that the flood story was borrowed from anything. If an event of that magnitude literally occurred, then we would expect it to appear in the oral traditions of other cultures. One could just as easily argue that the presence of a flood story across cultures argues for its veracity.
    You are correct that we should not call it myth when it finds resonance in non-Biblical narratives.
    “A perfectly reasonable, rational argument can be made that Jesus never did anything that broke any laws of physics, and that the miracles attributed to him were the invention of his followers and biographers. In a world where many beliefs were vying for primacy, it couldn’t hurt to give your guy a little superhuman cachet.”
    You can make that argument quite rationally, and many do believe that the bible is simply a work of fiction. But the scriptures meet a pretty high standard for historical accuracy, with which your rational argument will have to contend in order to remain rational.
    However rational it may be, it cannot be squared with Christianity. If you believe that Christ had no supernatural gifting, you are rejecting redemption through him. It may be that you are fine with this conclusion, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  • RickK

    @Fish 65
    I’m no expert, but if I remember what Robert Wright wrote in “Evolution of God”, there was the flood story, borrowed from the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story of a serpent and a tree that cost man his immortality, also from Gilgamesh. Then there is the fatherless infant king-to-be Sargon of Assyria, saved when his mother set him afloat in a reed basket down a river.
    Psalm 29 was probably originally written to honor the Canaanite god Baal.
    And I think virgin birth mythology predates Jesus by 1000 years.
    There are many other examples that illustrate how the god of the Old Testament grew out of earlier traditions. If your interested, I recommend Wright’s book, and particularly his bibliography.
    phil_style asked: “How much writing of the period is there, of similar genre, that claims miracles like those in the gospel texts for example?”
    There is quite a bit of literature from the period. Think about it – all those Greek plays you learned about in school predate Jesus by hundreds of years.
    There are the non-canonical gospels which are chock full of supposed miracles of Jesus that Christianity doesn’t accept as true, like the various infant and childhood narratives. Since the 5th century, people have noted the parallel between the life stories of Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana. Herodotus is also another good source for many many stories of miracles.
    Both historians Tacitus and Josephus describe miracles, though not by Jesus.
    Because of the popularity of Christianity, the Gospels have been copied over and over, and even some of the original Gospels were derivative of each other. Luke and Matthew derived much of their work from the Gospel of Mark. So we’re likely talking about very few original source manuscripts. And originally they were just a few books in a world of other literature. Imagine what was lost in the various burnings of the library at Alexandria. Imagine what was destroyed in the battles between different religious sects. The only reason we have the Gnostic Nag Hammadi scrolls today is because someone buried them to hide them from destruction by orthodox Christians.
    So yes, miracles appeared in much of the writing of this period. Miracles seem as prevalent in that period as witchcraft was in in 16th century Europe.
    That’s why I think there is only one rational answer when someone asks “did a miracle REALLY happen?” We have a few ancient stories, unremarkable in their period, and written by true believers, and few if any written by eye witnesses. Not strong evidence.
    Let’s look at a modern miracle, by comparison. We have thousands of eye witnesses, millions of believers, and even photographic and video evidence that statues of selected Hindu gods miraculously drank milk on one day in 1995. The evidence for this miracle is VASTLY stronger than for any of the miracles in the Bible.
    Do you believe in the Hindu Milk Miracle? Or do you think there are other, non-divine explanations?

  • http://www.miraclesormagic.com Miracles God

    Miracles of God recorded in the Bible that overrule scientific laws are not only about physically walking on water, but also about Christ healing the sick completely by the thousands that was even acknowledged by His enemies (they attributed it to demons or magic), raising the dead, raising Himself from the dead, and bodily ascending into heaven in the eyes of many witnesses. Aside from creating the universe and life, that is, and many other Biblical accounts that could be cited in the OT and NT that are clearly written in a historical context. The very existence of God is by definition, a miracle, outside of natural laws, so it is contradictory to say one believes in the Biblical God and disavow miracles.
    One can dismiss all miraculous events as metaphorical if desired, but there is no documentary or hermeneutical justification for doing so. If one can spiritualize away all these Bible accounts as non-historical, they also have no logical reason for confidence in anything the Bible says, including their own personal salvation, the afterlife, and the new heavens and earth. Why couldn’t they be metaphorical also, if one applies the same ‘logic’?

  • phil_style

    RickK,
    thanks, for the reply. Can we exclude “Greek plays” as data, they clearly fall into different genre from the gospels, or do they?
    Also, the many non-canonical gospels have to be somehow categorised individually to see if they are suitable literary data also. I’m not stong at all on these texts, it would be interesting to see how they fit into the dataset though.
    I certainly think that the likes of Tacitus and Josephus provide some comparable data. They seem to be trying to provide a “history” of some sort. So their way of reporting that history would provide us with something to help inform the discussion.

  • Jeremiah Duomai

    I don’t see why after swallowing the camel of resurrection one should strain at such gnat as walking on the water. ( C S Lewis!)
    By the way, who all Christians who endorse evolutionary theory use the term “TE”? I keep hearing anti-evolution camp using this term. Is it because they are so ignorant or they want to provoke?

  • pds

    Jeremiah,
    “TE” is short for “theistic evolution.” It is not pejorative, so I don’t understand your claims of ignorance or desire to provoke.

  • pds

    By the way, I am not “anti-evolution” and really do not like that label (nor do other ID proponents who accept many aspects of evolutionary theory), nor especially the label “anti-evolution camp.”

  • Fish

    Thanks, RickK! I knew there was a serpent/loss of immortality myth out there somewhere. Good old Gilgamesh.
    “Do you believe in the Hindu Milk Miracle? Or do you think there are other, non-divine explanations?”
    I want to read more about this but on the face of it, I see no reason to limit miracles to the Christian part of the world. And as I type that, it makes me wonder if the reason we don’t experience more miracles here in the U.S. is that we are conditioned not to believe in them. This is maybe the hidden cost of being too logical, too deductive, too theological, too scientific, with God. Do perfectly crafted apologetic arguments every really convince someone, or is that convincing done by the Spirit?

  • RickK

    @Miracles of God (70), you said “Christ healing the sick completely by the thousands that was even acknowledged by His enemies”
    What documents do we have written by Christ’s enemies acknowledging his miracles?
    A statement in one of the Gospels, written by a believer, that Christ’s enemies were in awe of his miracles is NOT evidence that the miracles are actually real. They may just be the same “tall tales” that we read from Herodotus and other historians of the period. And since the Gospels are the accounts of believers interested in telling a story that will draw new converts, the tales may be even a bit taller than the stories of historians.
    As for your question about afterlife, personal salvation and heaven – yes, it is a near certainty that they are just metaphorical.
    To learn the lesson from an Aesop’s fable, you don’t have to believe a crow actually talked to a fox. To learn the Golden Rule, you don’t have to believe Jesus really performed miracles, do you?

  • http://www.theproblemwithkevin.com kevin s.

    I suppose the milk incident could be construed as a miracle, in the strictest sense of the term. It would not change what I believe about Christ. His miracles were noteworthy for being supernatural, but also for teaching and inspiring.
    That a statue drank milk doesn’t change my perception of scripture.

  • Jeremiah Duomai

    @ pds, it’s just that “evolutionary creation” is the more preferred term. Personally I don’t like “TE”. And I have heard again and again from others too. I think if ID guys don’t like the term “New Creationist” we should not use that; and the same courtesy should be extended to others too.

  • http://bramboniusinenglish.wordpress.com brambonius

    Wow
    thanks for posting this.
    I would call myself a creation agnost most of the time, sometimes tending to evolutionary creation(I hate the expression theistic evolution though, and not willing to make isms about it) and with agnost I mean we can not know. Creation is bigger than we are, and we cannot describe it with our linguctic terms and concepts, the visible did not come from things we can percieve… So a symbolic poem most probably makes the most sense. In that I am willing to accept the things science finds out about the history of our planet, but I’ll always acknoledge that the material dimension is only one part of creation… so my views of creation are deeply entrenced in mystery, and a sense that Truth is bigger than even the bible is able to describe in its fullness.(let alone science of any sort)
    So not at all do I see a dualism between the natural and the supernatural, that’s basicly a line that has been drawn in enlightenment times along with only keeping the material part of the world that could be studied, measured and dissected using reason and empiric method to create our scientific worldview. The real lies between the created and the uncreated, which is the tri-une God versus all the rest that is seen and unseen. The unseen created part of the world includes a lot of supernatural stuff that we don’t know about, and could also be percieved as miracles, but it is just part of creation.
    But the miracles of Jesus are acts of an ‘interventionist God’ in His creation. How would HE be Lod of all creation in a meaningful way without those? I see no reason at all to dismiss them because of some laws of nature that we have been finding out the last centuries… And I also like Scot’s idea in the first comment: “Is miracle a “thin place” revelation of what’s in store of the completion of creation?”
    And I do believe in miracles today (along other things supernatural, some forms of magic/superstition seem to work really well outside our secular western world) but how could I not coming from a charismatic tradition (pentecostel as a kid, vineyard afterwards)
    As for the discussion about TE and miracles, I’m still wrestling with a similar question, but that’s the question about evolution and spiritual beings. I cannot deny their existence, and I’m inclined to more or less accept evolution as evidenced by sciense… But how do spiritual entities get into an evolving creation? Does the invisible also evolve and unfold more and more over time, or were they specially created?
    but that’s off-topic I guess..
    shalom
    Bram
    (captcha: been scenting … huh)

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    Jeremiah,
    “it’s just that ‘evolutionary creation’ is the more preferred term.”
    Preferred by whom? I am sure many TE’s would not like that term. It makes them a kind of “creationist.”
    Francis Collins prefers “biologos.” His foundation is now developing proprietary rights in it.
    RJS and Scot are TE’s and they use the term TE, even on this very comment string.
    Why don’t you conduct a scientific poll and get back to us? I recommend that before suggesting your opponents are “ignorant.” (#72)

  • RJS

    pds,
    I prefer the term evolutionary creation – but I am not going to make a big deal about it because it just sidetracks the overall conversation. Biologos is an interesting descriptive term – but I don’t think it will come to general use. And I didn’t think it would long before the foundation and website were launched.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/majlens_art/pool gingoro

    Robin
    “As a scotsman (genetically) my undying hatred of England and all things Anglican (except for John Stott and J.I. Packer and J.C. Ryle) is why I refuse to read N.T. Wright.”
    I think that I might qualify as a scotsman genetically as well although my mither was Irish. In addition to your list and N.T. I read Polkinghorn, Lewis and others.
    Wm David Wallace
    In a later post Rich qualified his comments about EC/TEs not accepting miracles from the general population of holders of that position to the EC/TE leaders. From my reading on ASA and on BioLogos I would say that his thesis is generally true with exceptions such as have been mentioned above and others. Rich is refering to those who have written the various books on EC/TE like the authors of chapters in Perspectives on an Evolving Creation or the leaders at BioLogos.
    As someone who accepts the miracles in the OT and NT with appropriate qualification I have been considering disassociating myself from the EC leadership, although not changing my views wrt an old earth and common descent etc.


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