Articles

The Final Word: Prisoners of Our Own Device by Steve Donaldson
Articles , Philosophy / November 10, 2017

The Final Word: Prisoners of Our Own Device Steve Donaldson Steve Donaldson, Ph.D., is Professor of Computer Science and Senior Fellow in the Center for Science and Religion at Samford University. Abstract: Over-confidence in a set of beliefs is frequently buttressed by a binary mentality and, strangely for Christians, a microscopic view of God. Such misplaced assurance can quickly lead to a fixed outlook that assumes an aura of irrefutable permanence. That humans gravitate toward rigid ways of thinking is unremarkable, but it is especially surprising how many educated individuals seem trapped in a perpetually decaying orbit about their pet theories and theologies. For scientists, theologians, and philosophers purportedly engaged in a search for truth, this is a particularly troubling state of affairs and is the root of much unnecessary conflict at the interface of the disciplines. Key Words: binary fallacy, size of God, interdisciplinarity, freedom, constraint, philosophy of science, Christianity Share this on:

Paleoevil, Theodicy, and Models of Earth History by Kurt P. Wise
Articles , Philosophy / November 8, 2017

Paleoevil, Theodicy, and Models of Earth History Kurt P. Wise Kurt Wise earned a Ph.D. in paleontology and is Professor of Natural Science and Director of the Brady Center for Creation Research at Truett Mcconnel University in Cleveland, Georgia Abstract: The total amount of natural evil includes natural evil in the present world plus the natural evil of the past—including ‘paleoevil’, the natural evil inferred from the geologic record. ‘Baseline paleoevil’—paleoevil directly inferred from the geological record—is considerably greater than the natural evil observed in the present. Beyond phenomena of the present that cause suffering—such as disease, parasitism, carnivory, degenerative aging, accidental injury, death, extinction, floods, droughts, storms, tsunamis, mudflows, and avalanches—the geologic column also evidences giant meteorite impacts, supervolcanoes, and superquakes. Because the geologic column is an incomplete sample of earth history, the actual amount of paleoevil is an amplification of baseline paleoevil. How much the baseline paleoevil is amplified is dependent upon one’s view of earth history. A minimal amplification is necessary if the earth is young; an amplification by at least five orders of magnitude is required if the earth is old. Even greater amplification is required if organisms arose by biological evolution. Augustine’s theodicy dominated most…

Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature by Bruce L. Gordon
Articles , Philosophy / November 6, 2017

Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature Bruce L. Gordon Bruce L. Gordon is Associate Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at Houston Baptist University and a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture Abstract: Modern science has revealed a world far more exotic and wonder-provoking than our wildest imaginings could have anticipated. It is the purpose of this essay to introduce the reader to the empirical discoveries and scientific concepts that limn our understanding of how reality is structured and interconnected—from the incomprehensibly large to the inconceivably small—and to draw out the metaphysical implications of this picture. What is unveiled is a universe in which Mind plays an indispensable role: from the uncanny life-giving precision inscribed in its initial conditions, mathematical regularities, and natural constants in the distant past, to its material insubstantiality and absolute dependence on transcendent causation for causal closure and phenomenological coherence in the present, the reality we inhabit is one in which divine action is before all things, in all things, and constitutes the very basis on which all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). Share this…

Responding to Perceived Theological Implications of Evolutionary Creation by J. B. Stump
Articles , Philosophy / November 3, 2017

Responding to Perceived Theological Implications of Evolutionary Creation J. B. Stump J. B. Stump is Senior Editor at BioLogos and Visiting Scholar at the University of Notre Dame Abstract: In this article I will respond to several common arguments against the position known increasingly as evolutionary creation. I consider an argument that evolution undermines the gospel itself, and other reductio ad absurdum arguments about human uniqueness, divine action, and the problem of evil. These are not technical arguments from academic literature as much as more popularly held views that I encounter regularly in churches and other places speaking to lay audiences about evolution and the Christian faith. Here I attempt to lay out the logic of these arguments (which is often more felt than articulated) and show where they can reasonably be opposed. Key Words: evolutionary creation, theistic evolution, evolution, sin, human uniqueness, divine action, miracles, problem of evil Share this on:

The “Conflict Thesis” of Science and Religion: a Nexus of Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Religion by R. Clinton Ohlers
Articles , Philosophy / November 1, 2017

The “Conflict Thesis” of Science and Religion: a Nexus of Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Religion R. Clinton Ohlers R. Clinton Ohlers (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is a Residential Fellow with the Creation Project at the Henry Center for Theological Understanding, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This research was made possible by the Henry Resident Fellowship program, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. Abstract: The idea of inevitable and perpetual conflict between science and religion is known among historians as the “conflict thesis.” It exploded in popularity in the late nineteenth century with the rise of the Victorian scientific naturalists to positions of leadership in prominent scientific institutions. A common misperception exists concerning the two authors most central to the widespread dissemination and lasting popularity of the conflict thesis: John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White. This misperception assumes that because Draper and White pitted science and religion at odds, they were not themselves theologically engaged. On the contrary, Draper and White held very specific theological views and championed them in their written works. Like others at the time, they shaped their theology to conform to their vision of science, a vision articulated by scientific naturalism, with its commitments…

Christian Theology of Creation and the Metaphysical Foundations of Science by Joshua M. Moritz
Articles , Philosophy / October 30, 2017

Christian Theology of Creation and the Metaphysical Foundations of Science Joshua M. Moritz Joshua Moritz is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of San Francisco, Lecturer of Philosophical Theology and Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and Academic Editor of the journal Theology and Science. Abstract: Recent scholarship within the history and philosophy of science has shown that in both the past and the present, specifically Judeo-Christian theological assumptions about the value, the intelligibility, the regularity, and the character of the cosmos have provided foundational assumptions for certain key scientists and scientific discoveries. This article investigates the nature of the interaction between science and Christian theology by exploring the role that metaphysical presuppositions and theological concepts have played—and continue to play—within the scientific process. I will examine the role of Christian theological thought within both the general philosophical presuppositions that undergird the whole scientific enterprise and within particular presuppositions that were present during pivotal episodes of scientific discovery. I will show how Christian theology has both implicitly and explicitly influenced (and still influences) the ethical values, aesthetic principles, philosophical commitments, metaphysical presuppositions, and motivations underlying the modern scientific project. Because such non-empirical shaping principles are…

Can Science Answer Life’s Big Questions? The Error of Allowing Naturalism to Dictate our Origins Models by John A. Bloom
Articles , Philosophy / October 28, 2017

Can Science Answer Life’s Big Questions? The Error of Allowing Naturalism to Dictate our Origins Models John A. Bloom John A. Bloom is Chair of the Chemistry, Physics and Engineering Department and is Academic Director of the Science and Religion Program at Biola University. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics, an M.Div., and a Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Abstract: The modern tensions between Christianity and science stem mainly from the philosophical assumption of methodological naturalism as a filter for proper “scientific” answers, even for answers to the Big Questions regarding our origins. The pressure to conform to this secular religious view and the way naturalism skews the interpretation of scientific data may unwittingly drive some Christians to propose and defend inconsistent biblical interpretations like theistic evolution. Key Words: origin of life, human origins, theistic evolution, evolutionary creation, science, methodological naturalism, intelligent design, theology, physical resurrection Share this on:

Science and Christianity: The Three Big Questions by Josh A. Reeves
Articles , Philosophy / October 25, 2017

Science and Christianity: The Three Big Questions Josh A. Reeves Josh Reeves is Assistant Professor of Science and Religion at Samford University Abstract: I will present in this paper three major questions that shape background assumptions on matters of science and Christianity. The questions are the following: Does the Bible contain modern scientific theories, how much can non-Christians know, and how far does science reach? Depending on how one answers these questions, Christians will likely reach different conclusions about scientific data, regardless of how carefully they research the topic. By examining important background assumptions, my intent is to help make conversations about Christianity and science more fruitful. Key Words: Christianity and science, biblical interpretation, concordism, theistic science, philosophy of science Share this on:

Why Studying Philosophy of Science Matters: An Editorial Invitation and Introduction by Ryan A. Brandt
Articles , Philosophy / October 24, 2017

Why Studying Philosophy of Science Matters: An Editorial Invitation and Introduction Ryan A. Brandt, Executive Editor of Special Issue Ryan teaches full-time at Grand Canyon University and is a Managing Editor of JBTS This special issue of the Journal of Biblical and Theological Studies features articles exploring contentious but important topics within the philosophy of science. It represents views from across the spectrum of evangelicalism. In keeping with the mission of JBTS—to relay content that is original and yet accessible—this issue will contain not only a diverse range of viewpoints but also unique writing styles that are addressed to different audiences; accordingly, some articles are more philosophically heavy and scholarly and others more approachable and readable. In sum, the issue offers a set of distinct contributions from varied backgrounds and positions, which make this issue a useful overview for students and an impetus for serious scholarly reflection. With an intent to address students and laymen and yet not exclude scholars, this editorial introduction will introduce the reader to three things. First, it will briefly explain the nature of philosophy of science. Second, it will address why philosophy of science is a subject worth studying, particularly for those in the biblical…

Matthew’s Hermeneutical Methodology in Matthew 2:15 by Robert Yost
Articles , New Testament , Old Testament / March 28, 2017

Matthew’s Hermeneutical Methodology in Matthew 2:15 ROBERT YOST Robert Yost (PhD, DMin) is Vice President of Academic Affairs Emeritus, Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary Abstract: In Matthew 2:15, Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1 and states that the events recounted are a direct fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy. However, the Hosea passage is a clear reference to the exodus, not to an event which occurred over 1400 years later. Was Matthew playing fast and loose with Hosea’s prophecy? Was his statement of fulfillment an abuse of Hosea’s context and meaning? Matthew 2:15 is one of the most problematic passages in the Bible with respect to the New Testament use of the Old Testament. Key Words: prophecy, fulfillment, typology, midrash, pesher, sensus plenior, analogical. Share this on: