Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Present Danger?

"The Bible clearly testifies of numerous supernatural events,
and if God doesn't over-rule the natural, we have to throw the book away,
and its God...
We would have to eliminate our belief in all of Gods miracles, including the resurrection,
in which case, we might as well reject the message of Christianity altogether".

Chris Tiegreen - Love, power and a whole lot of evil.

Back in the mid-1990's, journalist John Horgan produced an intriguing work entitled The End of Science, in which he postulated that we were reaching the limits, empirically, of what science could actually tell us about a vast range of observations, and that the 'gap' left would therefore have to be filled by 'detail' which some observers rightly have noted would temper certain theories as immune to falsification - in reality, leaving these approaches redundant, because their assertions do not really explain anything.

It's not the first time humanity has found itself here. The 'whole' world view our culture generally espouses today bears traits of commonality to those propounded in some of the early Greek states, as does the amount of confidence invested by many in such ideas, but perhaps the most telling thing about all this for me is the impact such suppositions have upon many who apparently express 'christian' beliefs which seek to adapt to these assumptions.

Take this morning, for example - a television discussion on whether we are born good or evil.
The majority present who were 'religious' ('christian', Muslim, and Hindu) held we are born good, seeking to express this in a fashion which didn't cause any real opposition to atheists, who saw such matters as derived in a small way through genes, but predominantly through learning. What was clear was they all saw 'traditional' Christian belief - that we are born with corruption - as wrong and entirely irrelevant - the important thing was to live liberated and without any guilt.

I truly worry when Christians start teaching me that 'what Adam did doesn't matter' - that, in effect, we were not 'conceived in sin', but I'm no longer really surprised. After all, the Eden record, in this view, is just a story, like the Creation or Noah's flood and the tower of Babel, the offering of Issac or the Exodus - these things didn't really happen... they're just what was written down (we're not sure by whom) in 'special language' to tell us our lives mean... something.

I understand the logic. For the world to be "safe" to our natural way of navigating it, there just cannot be any real place for the miraculous - for a God who acts directly in our world - any notion of that kind would have to entirely conform to a spirituality that would be to 'our' benefit (how we see and understand things now). Christianity actually unseats us there.

How can God fashion something complex as our universe in six days, or then destroy the earth bar what He held safe through a great flood? Why make a place as perfect as Eden and allow such a location as the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to be visited by the Serpent?
Why demand of Abraham the life of his son? These are deep questions, which 'speak' of far more going on than what is defined by science, so they are certainly not going to be faced well by a modern approach which, like that of the Epicureans, views such 'history' as impossible, because naturalism has no place for the miraculous or the non-material in the manner the Bible speaks of it.

The God who caused the light to shine out from the darkness, notes Paul, is the same God who causes the light of the knowledge, the true significance, of God, to shine into us through the truth concerning Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Christianity is inherently marked and defined by this - there is simply is no other 'message' of value, for this alone gets to the very core of our reality, not only in the 'here and now', but regarding our origin, our departure from that realm, and how all creation will be returned to it.

We cannot escape what the New Testament defines as 'the truth that is in Jesus Christ'.
The time has come, for us to face this.

1 comment:

Howard said...

A good point was made on this at the Uncommon Descent Blog by Denyse O'Leary:
"If Adam and Eve can be considered non-historical, many questions, including that one, become cloudy — for example, the question of how and why other humans should be implicated in their sin or benefit from their salvation. So it was disturbing to see that nearly a third of the membership responding felt the question was “not of great importance.”

No doubt, some people think I have been rather hard on ASA over the years, and I don’t deny it. The trouble is that a Christian organization can easily be co-opted by fashionable atheism at the precise points where intellectual capital matters. Then it may take refuge in asserting that “We are all Christians here because we pray together.” This survey seems to suggest a trend in that direction".