Exploring Evolution and Christianity with an Agnostic

Over the next few weeks, I plan to host several interviews of authors who are writing on Christianity and evolution.  As readers of the blog well know, I sort of think this conversation is important, I’m pretty sure it ain’t goin’ away, and more and more thinkers are entering the conversation.

In today’s post, I interview Bruce Glass who just published Exploring Faith and Reason: The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution. Glass is an eclectic sort of chap: business man, artist, photographer, and–since his days apparently contain more than the customary 24 hour–has a keen and long-standing interest in philosophy  faith, and science. He also tells us in the interview that he is an agnostic, though you might not have picked up on that if he didn’t tell you.

With that mix, Glass adds his own perspective to the evolution and Christianity discussion, and he agreed to answer a few questions about his book.

Why did you write your book?

Most disconcerting is that a majority of Americans, Christians and non-believers alike, think that Christianity and evolutionary science are engaged in an ongoing opposition to one another. This has caused a great many Christians to distrust the motives and the findings of scientists and many non-believers to dismiss Christianity as nothing more than irrational superstition. While there are a few well-written books out there that seek to dispel these myths, evidently more voices are warranted.

Evolution and Christianity is a hot topic, and a number of books have come out in recent years addressing it. What makes your book different?

Primarily three things. First, since I am agnostic I have no personal stake in Christianity’s concordance with the findings of science. I have no reason to contort either of them to make them compatible. So hopefully, readers of all persuasions can conclude that the book provides an impartial analysis of the, often underappreciated, intellectual depth of the Christian faith as it is aligned with the natural world that we see around us.

Second is the format. The book is a fairly comprehensive introduction to evolutionary science for the benefit of readers who may be largely unfamiliar with Darwinian theory and the weight of evidence that supports it. Since skepticism of evolution is most often founded in the perception that it undermines, not only Scripture, but the fundamental tenets of Christianity, the book starts by directly addressing those theological concerns.

Third, I try to address a number of the pressing theological implications of evolution, including apparently “random” events occurring within a world under God’s sovereignty, the idea of a “fallen world” with humans evolving as a population, and how evolution does not preclude the possibility of a higher order of moral reasoning that results from a direct, spiritual connection to a living God. Included is a discussion of how the paths to spiritual knowledge and scientific knowledge are so very different, and yet, these two kinds of enlightenment can result in fully compatible layers of understanding our world.

In your book you contend that an emphasis on the Anthropic Principle—the so-called “fine-tuning” of the laws of physics that permits the evolution of intelligent life, as embraced by many Christians—overlooks the importance of recognizing the original concept of that Principle. What do you mean by that?

It seems apparent that if God had intended for us to find “proof” of His existence or telltale signs of His handiwork through scientific analysis of the natural world, then it would have been very obvious a very long time ago. The Bible tells us that faith doesn’t really work like that.

Recognizing the remarkably precise quantitative values inherent in the laws of physics and the properties of our physical universe is indeed a useful way of envisioning God’s creative order. We should be wary, however, of declaring the discovery of empirical evidence of God’s handiwork. There are two reasons for this: The logic doesn’t follow, and God doesn’t mark His trail.

Among the infinite number of possibilities, the likelihood that our universe would exist as it does (capable of evolving and sustaining life) is unfathomable. Such an outcome is most improbable. We might recognize, however, that each and every other possible outcome for a universe is equally improbable. The only reason we think our universe is so special is because we have a personal stake in the matter. Only a God capable of producing all outcomes could objectively prefer one to another.

Faith founded upon empirical evidence is a precarious faith. Throughout much of history, men have pointed to misunderstood natural phenomena as evidence of God. During the period that came to be known as the “Age of Reason,” claims of scientific evidence of God became rather commonplace. The unintended result was that, as scientific discovery progressed, the discrediting of such claims soon became the first seemingly rational basis for atheism.

Of course not everyone fell into that trap, inadvertently set by such great thinkers as Descartes and Newton. The renowned mathematician Blaise Pascal, for example, insisted that Augustine and Aquinas had been correct in their claims that God is undetectable in nature. Martin Luther too had frequently written of what he called the “masks of God” by which God can make Himself known spiritually, while remaining hidden from our direct observation. As Jesus had explained to “doubting” Thomas, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Bible says repeatedly that God’s imprint is revealed by the beauty and by the order of His creation. Wouldn’t recognition of the extraordinarily precise values of the laws of physics that enable the evolution of human life be recognition of God’s imprint on nature—clear evidence of God’s imposition of the kind of order on the universe that provides for our very existence?

Yes and no. I think it’s important to recognize a clear distinction between spiritual knowledge and empirical or scientific knowledge. These two kinds of knowing can be thought of as distinct, but if rightly considered, fully compatible layers of understanding our world.

Scientific understanding is of course gained through the study of nature by means of the scientific method, while spiritual insight, on the other hand, is gained through tradition and revelation—through Scripture and an intrinsic spiritual connection to God. As Pascal and many others have noted, knowing God is not a matter for the head, it’s a matter of the heart.

It is through the faithful belief in God’s incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth that the Christian can know God and understand His purpose for individual lives and for all of creation. And it is through this understanding—this spiritual insight—that the believer can attribute the beauty and the order of nature to the work of what Paul described his epistle to the Romans as God’s “invisible qualities.” In that sense, of course, nature can shout the existence of God.

Some critics have suggested that your book doesn’t really reconcile Christianity and evolution—that you do not demonstrate how God is likely involved. Is that your intent?

I think the idea of “reconciliation” can sometimes be confused with “synthesis.” As I have described, I think it is a precarious undertaking to try to specifically describe God’s direct role in the processes of nature. We can know about natural processes through observation and testing. It is rather evident that God has no intention of our observing and testing Him. We cannot demonstrate how God works. We can only demonstrate that natural processes do not preclude God’s dominion.

Do you think that mainstream scientists and creationists, or the advocates of Intelligent Design Theory, can ever come to agreement?

It’s a circumstance of the human condition that individuals comprehend the world differently. So there will likely always be those who reject the findings of science, and those who reject any belief at all in God. But as we work to dispel the myth that science can undermine the tenets of Christianity, undoubtedly there will be many who will find a more unshakable foundation for their faith, and others who will take a second look at Christianity as a viable and enriching foundation for life.

  • http://prodigalthought.net Scott

    Interesting. An agnostic arguing for the compatibility of the Christian faith and science. It’s like a Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus situation, meaning here is a person who does not acknowledge God (now in Christ) yet does things on his behalf. He says he provides an impartial analysis, but I suppose something is at stake for himself. By the way, I say none of this negatively, just quite interested to find an agnostic arguing in favour of the compatibility of the Christian faith and modern science.

    • http://www.nature.com Agnikan

      Are you saying that Cyrus did not believe in a totally good Deity?

    • AHH

      There is precedent for such a book: philosopher of science Michael Ruse (agnostic or atheist; I don’t recall) in 2004 published Can a Darwinian be a Christian?. As I recall, his answer to the title question was basically “Yes, but probably not a fundamentalist one.”

    • Nick Gotts

      Frankly, given the content of the interview, I simply don’t believe Glass is an agnostic.

  • Randy

    Evolution and Creation will never mix, though they are those who compromise and think that God used evolution. However, theological evolution is directly opposed to the Word of God. All scientists look at the same evidence for the origin of the earth, whether they are evolutionists or creationists. Their presuppositions will tell them what to believe. I admit that creation requires faith, but why don’t these evolutionists admit that what they believe is also faith? And I don’t think you have to hang your brain at the church door when you come in. God tells us in His Word that He wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. Believing in creation doesn’t require ignorance.

    • http://www.nature.com Agnikan

      God speaks of evolution in Genesis 1:11, 20.
      “Let the earth bring forth….”
      “Let the waters bring forth….”

      • http://dpitch40.blogspot.com David P

        I just finished The Evolution of Adam last night, so I’ll probably mostly be approximating what Dr. Enns would say. His contention is that trying to read Genesis 1 to confirm or deny a strictly modern question like evolution is the wrong approach–Genesis is an ancient text written by ancient people in an ancient mindset, and the scientific origin of life or the earth was simply not on their radar.

        • Randy

          Genesis was written to supply the Israelites about the origin of the earth. It was written in a historical plain reading style narrative text, which about any Hebrew scholar will tell you, even if they don’t believe it.

          • http://dpitch40.blogspot.com David P

            Except Peter Enns, apparently. Could you link me to the view of one such scholar?

          • peteenns

            Uh….what?

          • Randy

            I don’t know about links, but here are some Hebrew scholars that believe in literal days as Genesis says- Dr. Robert McCabe; Dr. Ting Wang; Dr. James Barr, who specifically doesn’t believe in Genesis; Dr. Stephen Boyd; and Dr. Andrew Steinmann, to name a few.

      • Randy

        “bring forth” in the Hebrew simply means “to abound”. It has nothing to with evolving. And even it it did, and that is a big “if”, they would have to do all their “evolving” in one day, not millions of years, as the PLAIN reading of the text reveals.

        • peteenns

          Randy, for what it’s worth, Gen 1:11 and 1:20 use different verbs, and neither means “to abound.”

          • Randy

            I’m glad you mentioned this, Peter. I did a little bit more studying. I should have clarified my answer. There are two different verbs in verse 11 and 20. In verse 11, the word means “to sprout”, which makes sense because it is referring to grass, trees, and the seeds coming forth. In verse 20, you are actually wrong. The verb does mean “to abound or swarm with life, to bring forth or increase abundantly”. You have to read into and really twist the Scriptures in order to stuff evolution in that verse. And still yet, you have to deal with the fact that it is a literal 24 hour day, not millions of years of evolutionary processes.

        • rvs

          The “plain reading of the text”–as a phrase–reminded me of a fascinating earlier post on this blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2012/10/dan-harrington-on-huff/

          The phrase “plain reading”–in my experience–usually means something like the following: “This is how my region of Christiandom reads the text, and I hope you agree with us.”

      • chris northcutt

        It is a real stretch to assert that “bring forth” implies millions and billions of years of gradual evolution from one type of creature to another.

    • Andrew

      ” . . .theological evolution is directly opposed to the Word of God.”
      The king of all ironies is that the above declaration is itself a result of theological evolution.

      • Randy

        What……?

        • Andrew

          Sum up your basic Christian beliefs in a brief paragraph and I will guarantee you several of those basic premises are the result of theological development over hundreds (in some case over 1000) of years.

          • Randy

            I get my beliefs from the Word of God, no where else.

    • Nick Gotts

      Believing in creation doesn’t require ignorance.

      Oh yes, it does. Ignorance carefully preserved in the face of overwhelming evidence of the reality of biological evolution and the billions of years Earth has been in existence.

  • Bev Mitchell

    “We should be wary, however, of declaring the discovery of empirical evidence of God’s handiwork. There are two reasons for this: The logic doesn’t follow, and God doesn’t mark His trail.” This is so crucial a point for Christians to really get that it should be put up in a public place in very large letters. Perhaps at the entrance to all churches. Or, if that quote is considered too long or too difficult to understand use “Faith founded upon empirical evidence is a precarious faith”.

    “It is rather evident that God has no intention of our observing and testing Him. We cannot demonstrate how God works. We can only demonstrate that natural processes do not preclude God’s dominion.” This is so true. The sad thing is that it has to be said (again and again) to Christians who claim that faith is from God and that this faith alone is our salvation.

  • Nick Gotts

    It is through the faithful belief in God’s incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth that the Christian can know God and understand His purpose for individual lives and for all of creation. – Bruce Glass

    I’m afraid that, given what is quoted above, I simply do not credit Glass’s claim to be an agnostic, and thus an unbiased source.

    • Dean

      Why, isn’t that a true statement about what most Christian’s believe?

      • Nick Gotts

        It is: but Glass is clearly not saying “This is what Christians believe”; he’s saying “This is true”. Throughout the interview he talks in the same style; he’s a Christian pretending to be an agnostic, but not at all convincingly.

    • Artie

      I am Bruce’s brother in law and I can assure you he is an agnostic despite many years of my sharing the gospel with him. But unlike most agnostics he is open and has read the Bible and knows more about Christianity than 95% of Christians.

      • Nick Gotts

        I don’t care who you are; the evidence that Glass is not an agnostic is abundantly clear in the interview above.

  • Mark Chenoweth

    I really enjoyed these insights, especially from an agnostic. It’s refreshing to hear a non-Christian who nevertheless respects Christianity.

    I do, however, have a few bones to pick. I just don’t think his explanation of the anthropic principle only seeming significant because we’re here was persuasive.

    I think philosopher John Leslie’s analogy really makes more sense than what Glass says. I also think Robin Collins, who has contributed both to our understanding of evolution and Christianity, has sufficiently responded to views similar to Glass’s. http://home.messiah.edu/~rcollins/Fine-tuning/FT.HTM

    I do agree with Glass however that no amount of evidence or argument could ever MAKE someone into a Christian.

    I agree with Alvin Plantinga that belief in God is probably a “properly basic” belief even if there weren’t any good EMPIRICAL reasons to believe in him. Nevertheless, I think the design argument (the physical constants, not biology) provides a good reason to believe in at least SOME sort of God.

    Could it be through the noetic effects of sin that the mind can’t rationally perceive God when it is supposed to?

    I understand that this sort of idea may make agnostics and atheists out to be some sort of “irrational creature,” and I don’t want to do that. We’re all irrational and sinful creatures and many Christians are fore more irrational and sinful than atheists. Nevertheless, could it be that a person who is more virtuous is more likely to see God’s hand in creation than someone who steeped in the passions of pride, lust, vanity, etc? The nous has been darkened. The noetic effects of sin.

    Great contribution to the conversation, look forward to seeing more of these. Thx!

    • Hanan

      How does one get from: SOME sort of God, to a theistic God that cares about sin?

  • http://johnwmorehead.blogspot.com John W. Morehead

    In response to Randy above, this type of attitude in looking down at other Christians who draw upon a different and studied hermeneutic of both Scripture and nature as somehow compromising is one of the problems Evangelicals face in their own camp on this topic. Beyond that, the failure to be self-critical in acknowledging that theological presuppositions help shape hermeneutical and scientific interpretations among creationists of varying stripes, is a problem as well. My hope is that humility, charity, and a reflexive posture might be considered by our more conservative and fundamentalist brethren in these matters.

    • Klasie Kraalogies

      Fundamentalism and humility cannot co-exist. Speaking as one who grew up thus.

    • Randy

      I don’t look down on other Christians period. If some think God used evolution, I just think there are mislead or misinformed.

      • Craig Wright

        Randy, I think that most scholars recognize that the author of Genesis was talking about 24 hour days, but that he was not writing a scientific manual to understand creation. It is a theological thesis and a polemic against his contemporary pagan cosmologies.

        Out of curiosity, how do you understand the way in which scientists determine the age of the universe?

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  • http://rgrydns2.blogspot.ca Richard Greydanus

    Genesis 1 contains, in highly structured, poetic narrative, the account of how, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In short: the creation of everything that exists, including you, the reader. We can set aside the apparent archaism of the text. Genesis 1 may not easily yield up a neo-Darwinian account of biological evolution, harmonizing genetic theory with natural selection; but it is nevertheless very contemporary. In certain respects, it is more contemporary than a neo-Darwinian evolutionary account; though not that it is contemporary with the current scientific consensus, but because it is contemporary with you and I, as living breathing persons, in a world populated by many things.

    Once you step over the stumbling block of a ‘rigorous scientific methodology’ and the need to compare and contrast everything with the latest papers being published in journal Nature, the message of Genesis 1 is fairly explicable. Except for the bit of God creating at the beginning, and the human being created in the image of God at the end, everything described in between is exceedingly mundane. Here’s a link to the text so you can read for yourself: Genesis 1.

    The pairings of light and darkness are held up alongside the pairings of day and night. Land is divided from sea and sky. Fish go in the sea, mammals on the land, and birds in the sky. Way up high are the sun, moon, and stars. Some of the ways these things are talked about seem counterintuitive, I grant you that. Calling the sky a ‘vault’, for example, and dividing waters above the sky from waters below does sound a little strange. But from where I am standing, that’s a pretty good attempt to describe the water cycle without knowing too much about evaporation and the molecular construction of clouds. Tilt your head back the next time you are in an open field and look up: the sky does look like one big vault stretching from horizon to horizon to horizon.

    This is the world that you were born into, minus the agricultural, commercial, industrial, and technological development that attends a rapidly developing urban civilization. That is to say, minus both the creative ingenuity, and also the stupidity, of humans beings. It’s a perfectly pristine, natural world, ready for the human being to cultivate, dig up, and build in, which, in good time, humanity does get around to doing.

    The two bookends of the poetic narrative, i.e. how in the beginning God creates and when, on the sixth day, God creates a creature in his own image, require a little more mental dexterity. On the one hand, human beings are obviously created, just like everything else. On the other hand, human beings seem to be set apart from the rest of created things in some way deserving of the title ‘the image of God’. More specifically, something ‘godlike’ sets the human race apart from everything other thing on the face of the earth.

    The answer is ready to hand; I already touched upon it a couple of paragraphs earlier. Humanity is creative. Granted, humanity not calling stuff into existence out of thin air, but it is working with already existent natural materials in unexpected, sometimes wonderful, and at other times not-so-wonderful ways. And if the human races is responsible for all that artificial stuff that clutters the spaces we live in and the skylines we look at, a question might quite justly, one might even say naturally, be raised about who or what created all the natural stuff.

    More: http://rgrydns2.blogspot.ca/2013/02/introduction-to-christian-doctrine-101.html

  • http://craigvick.wordpress.com Craig Vick

    Kant, in the second preface to The Critique of Pure Reason, ascribes the success of physics to the fact that physicists “learned that reason only perceives that which it produces after its own design; that it must not be content to follow, as it were, in the leading-strings of nature, but must proceed in advance with principles of judgement according to unvarying laws, and compel nature to reply its questions.” Might this point to a difference between scientific and spiritual knowledge (to use the terms in the interview)? Spiritual knowledge is gained through a kind of listening. Scientific knowledge is gained through compelling nature to reply to questions generated by a method (the scientific method).

    • Matt Thornton

      This is a pretty bloodless characterization of the scientific method (and by implication, scientists). Kant may have believed that, but I don’t think the description would sit easily with lots of the people actually doing science today.

      Many scientists describe the better part of their work as ‘listening’ to the part of the universe they’re studying as closely as possible. I’m not arguing there are no scientists with preconceptions and biases, but I think understanding science as some kind of lifeless, detached evisceration of nature is as silly as characterizing all Christians in the mold of the Westboro Baptists.

      The ‘grand’ rationalist/positivist program was killed and buried in the early part of the 1900s, and we have the likes of Godel to thank.

      • http://craigvick.wordpress.com Craig Vick

        Kant meant it as a complement. He’s examining why physics has been so successful whereas metaphysics never seems to make progress. I agree, though, that scientists as scientists also do a kind of listening. It was not my intent to disparage science but to find a way to characterize the two kinds of knowledge discussed in the interview. As scientists we compel (Kant’s word) nature to answer our questions via experiments and observation. Kant points to Galileo and Torricelli as examples. That doesn’t mean nature gives the answers we expect. So as scientists we do indeed listen. Spiritual knowledge involves a different kind of listening. At least I think that would be a good starting point for further conversation.

        • Matt Thornton

          Craig –

          Good to meet you! Thanks for the clarification on the usage of ‘compel’, but I’m still unclear about this idea of different kinds of knowledge. I hear people use the distinction all the time (artistic vs. quantitative, rational vs. emotional, spiritual vs. scientific, and so on) but I really have a hard time understanding what kinds of distinctions we’re talking about.

          I get the extreme cases – a person who is convinced by the voices in their refrigerator, a theoretical mathematician proving a theorem – clearly there are different kinds of knowledge at work there. That said, it’s the huge middle ground I’m struggling with. Which of your opinions have you arrived at ‘scientifically’ and which have you arrived at ‘spiritually’? I find it a difficult question to answer clearly. How do you prove your postulates? How do you know that basic logic is ‘true’ (if all men are X and Plato is a man, then Plato is X)? Is the (I think very Greek) if/then formulation of many Gospel stories not to be trusted because it rests on the same logical basis? There’s bunches of similar questions.

          Separating kinds of knowledge and understanding into spiritual and scientific seems like a dodge to me. It’s often a way to wiggle out of the need for a difficult answer. The hard core theologians I’ve met have far more in common with the hard-core scientists than not. Leads me to believe that a better distinction might be think about the difference between assumed or postulated positions vs. argued or supported positions.

          I dunno. Twisty stuff.

          Best,
          Matt

          • http://craigvick.wordpress.com Craig Vick

            Hi Matt, Good to meet you too and to find a fellow traveler with respect to these questions. To some extent I’m simply running with the distinction voiced in the interview. We may find a better way of talking about faith and science.

            One thing that has given me a sense of this distinction between scientific knowledge and spiritual knowledge is to think about the physical senses typically used to describe each. What I mean is science is usually described in terms of observation (seeing) whereas spiritual knowledge is usually described as hearing (hearing but not seeing). Of course, these are both metaphors, so we shouldn’t take them too literally. Neither is used exclusively with scientific or spiritual knowledge, but I think there’s a reason why seeing seems appropriate to science and hearing to faith. We don’t pit seeing against hearing (though they can conflict) nor is it a dodge to affirm both senses.

            Perhaps an example may also be helpful. Several years ago I was sitting in my backyard observing a large blue bird. I love PBS nature shows and quickly began to see the bird in that light. I wondered how the sounds it made might procure a mate or fend off a rival. I tried to observe its behavior in terms of bio chemical reactions to stimuli. I then looked at the bird again and thought, “It’s singing, there’s a joy in that bird.” I don’t mean that I thought it sang the way we do or experienced joy the way we do but only that there was something joy like there that my prior observations couldn’t see. So here are possibly two kinds of knowledge. Each has its own danger. In ascribing a kind of joy to the bird I might be seeing something that isn’t there. In my more scientific observations I might be reducing the bird to less than what it really is.

            My comments are probably getting too long, but I hope that’s enough to keep the conversation going. Thanks for engaging me.

  • Hanan

    Am I the only Jew here :-) . Before one speaks of reconsiliation between Christianity and Evolution, doesn’t one first have to try to reconcile Judaism with Evolution. You guys believe in Jesus, but Jesus believed in the Torah did he not? Did he not believe it was written by God?

    So here we have evolution. If there is evolution, there is no Adam, therefore the chronology after that doesn’t exist either which means Abraham the father of what would become monotheism didn’t exist. So how can we reconcile this faith with evolution? After all, your faith (as well as Jesus’s) rested on the notion that YHWH existed. Well…….the only testament to YHYW existing is the Torah, but yet the Torah is irreconcilable with evolution. If evolution is fact, the torah cannot be the word of God from Sinai. (see my chronology issue. No Adam, no Noah, no Abraham, no tribes, etc etc etc.)

    • Nick Gotts

      You’re quite right. All the Abrahamic religions are completely incompatible with the findings of science.

  • Christian Luca

    Thank you very much, Peter Enns, for sharing this interview you had with Bruce Glass! It was very refreshing to read, indeed! I am very much interested in the interaction of philosophy, religion, and science, as my background is in chemistry and physics, but do believe in God (universal reconciliation through Jesus Christ, ie, Christian Universalism), so I love reading blog posts of this nature! It seems that Bruce Glass does a great job in the interview of being forthright with regard to the distinct types of knowing–scientific and spiritual–and that scientific knowledge of natural processes does not necessarily preclude God’s dominion. Generally, it is easier to read the account of an agnostic than that of a theist or atheist when he/she is attempting to show the compatibility between science and faith/religion/spirituality, because generally that person tends to not have a stake in defending either side.

    Thank you again, for the great blog post, Peter!!!

    • Matt Thornton

      I’m just fascinated by the idea of ‘distinct types of knowing’. I’ve never understood how to tell one kind from another. Ideas occur to people all the time and they have no idea where they came from – some are spiritual, some are solutions to math problems, some are ideas about how to breed flowers. Everything, really.

      When we talk about the spiritual and the scientific as distinct types of knowing, I think we’ve set up the discussion in a way that’s bound to be unhelpful. Instead, maybe it would be better to talk about different kinds of argumentation, or different kinds of justification (small ‘j’) or different ways of learning. We all form judgements, opinions and impressions in deeply intuitive and non-conscious ways – independent of the subject matter of those same judgements, opinions or impressions.

      Said another way, it’s as hard to distinguish scientific from spiritual “knowing” (and vice versa) as it is to distinguish the sources of your preferences for particular kinds of music or food. We can wave our hands, but ultimately, most of us are operating on brain stem most of the time in most everything we do.

  • James

    I applaud Bruce’s efforts to find compatability between faith and science in an unbiased manner. He sounds like a closet theist, quite frankly, and I wish him well in his contining search. We theists, truth be known, are also agnostic or incorrigibly conceited. God’s ways are like “the paths of the sea”–difficult to trace but very real in effect.

  • rvs

    Thanks for this highly useful conversation. I’m picking up a bit of Gould’s non-overlapping-magisteria vibe.

  • Mark Erickson

    Peter, I’m very interested to know if Glass emailed you and capitalized “His” (referring to God) himself or if you typed it that way from a recording. My point being I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an agnostic that would capitalize it.

    • http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A10ULJVWJGVUYD/ref=cm_pdp_rev_all?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview Paul Bruggink

      Mark, In Bruce Glass’s book, he consistently capitalizes He, His & Him when referring to God. I assume that he does that for the sake of his target audience: evangelical Christians

    • http://www.exploringfaithandreason.com Bruce Glass

      Mark,
      When discussing God in the context of Christian theology, particularly evangelical theology, I always capitalize personal pronouns for God, as well as the titles “God,” or Creator. This is done out of respect for both believers and the theology.

  • Patrick Miller

    Umm…there are at least a couple of people whom would call themselves fundamentalist that argue for a non-scientific reading of Genesis 1. John Walton being one of them works at moody bible institute, I believe. Though he has been pinned a “liberal”. Whatever that means. Two more whom graduated from the school I attend are Johnny V. Miller and John M. Soden- In the Beginning…we misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context. Another name to throw out there is John Sailhammer- The Meaning of the Pentateuch as Narrative. The introduction will make you think hard, or should make you think hard about how you interpret the Text at hand.

  • Nada Nassif

    As a representative of the American International School in Egypt:
    Debate against Evolution
    Many people believe that there is no contradiction between the Christian faith and the theory of evolution. This is not true because firstly, evolution states that creation is a continuing process because it states that living organizations keep changing to adapt to their respective environments through the process of mutation. While the bible states that it is a completed process and it is already finished in Genesis 2:3. Also, according to evolution, no light existed before the creation of the sun. While based on the bible (Genesis 1:3-19) light preceded the existence of the sun. According to evolution plants evolved after the sun, while the bible states that plants were created before the sun (Genesis 1:11).
    The chart on this link talks about evolutions versus the Christian faith:
    http://www.dianedew.com/creation.htm


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