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The Blind God and the Blind Watchmaker in Conversation

The Blind God and the Blind Watchmaker in Conversation December 2, 2021

When Shirley Paulson reached out to me about returning for another appearance on her podcast, I was delighted. She interviewed me about What Jesus Learned from Women when I was still working on it and it was a wonderful experience, hopefully one that listeners also enjoyed.

You can listen here to the latest podcast, exploring how ancient ideas about the origin of evil may be relevant to our wrestling with the topic in our time:

I suggested that we could focus on demiurgic ideas of creation (since many prefer not to talk about Gnosticism, which I understand, although I still think that some term is useful for convenience of reference to the traditions with these characteristics, and so more attention needs to be given to that question of other possible labels). I’m interested in highlighting how relatively mainstream Christianity has moved towards a more distant view of God with natural processes at work in the history of evolution and in other ways. Although those processes are not views as personal, they are viewed as uncaring, lacking the creator’s benevolence, and often evolution in particular is depicted as an inept tinkerer. The blind god Sammael from Nag Hammadi and the blind watchmaker Richard Dawkins wrote about deserve to be placed in dialogue. In doing so we discover that the type of view of creation found at Nag Hammadi, in Mandaeism, and elsewhere ought to be appreciated as a perspective worth engaging with and reflecting on today, especially in terms of how it addresses the problem of evil, however much a modern view of creation/life/suffering may need to differ in lots of important ways from that ancient viewpoint.

I am known for making connections between things that interest me, and so it was great to have this opportunity to connect my work on ancient religion (in particular Mandaeism) and my interest in the intersection of faith and science (in particular evolution).

Have a listen to the podcast and let me know what you think of it!

Also from this series:

Marcion Answers “Where Is God When Things Go Wrong?”

More Answers to the Question “Where is God When Things Go Wrong?”

Let’s Talk About Jesus

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