EVOLVING CONTINENTS SU SPRING 2008 A Special or Pointless Place? Coming weeks’ proposals: We have before us four increasingly capacious metaphors… 3. Chronicle 4. Account 5. Sketch 6. Epic …I offer these in order to provide a “re- frame” and alternate “pictures.” Properties of Models/Language 1. Based on current data 2. Coherent in content 3. Comprehensive in scope 4. Sparking the imagination (fertile) Ian Barbour What IS truth? Godel’s Theorem Gödel's Theorem, regarding the limitative theorems of mathematics and the theory of computation, suggests that once the ability to represent your own structure has reached a certain critical point, that is the kiss of death: it guarantees that you can never represent yourself totally. Kurt Godel And then there is Carbon Dating? Radiocarbon dating relies on a simple natural phenomenon. As the Earth's upper atmosphere is bombarded by cosmic radiation, atmospheric nitrogen is broken down into an unstable isotope of carbon - carbon 14 (C-14). See websites on Carbon Dating CHRONICLE image Religious language can be elastic/stretchable: Creation as CHRONICLE CHRONICLE, today’s word, refers to the “Old Earth” model/language in poetic or figurative genre II Peter 3:8 “…a thousand years is but a day…” suggests variability if not non- literal language Assets of CHRONICLE Model 1. Language flexibility 2. Added literary forms 3. Partial discrimination of faith-based language from experimental-based Deficits of CHRONICLE Model 1. Wide variance of “day” and “old” 2. Sequence detail issues 3. New questions about the contact between scientific and religious spheres Sacred Text In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light;" and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Gen. 1:1ff Event Sequence The order of creation in Genesis 1 is: heaven and earth, light, vault of heaven (i.e., separation of earthly and heavenly waters), seas and dry land, plants, sun and stars, fish and birds, land animals, and last humans. The actual order of appearance of life forms -- sea- dwelling life, land plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals -- is different from the order in either Genesis account. Seed-bearing plants were not the first plants on land, but both Genesis accounts refer to trees and fruits in the initial creation of plants. St. Augustine of Hippo Augustine’s allegorical approach From: The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20 [A.D. 408] "[A]t least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar" (ibid., 5:2). Stephen Hawking Two famous quotes from Hawking A Brief History famously ended with the words: “Then we shall know the mind of God.” This was a metaphor? Hawking’s God would be, as he puts it, “an embodiment of the laws of science”. Second Creation Story (Earliest) Genesis 2: 7-8: "Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Thus the man became a living creature." Gen. 2: 15-18: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and take care of it. He told the man 'You may eat from every tree in the garden, but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.'" Gen. 2: 21-22: "And so the Lord God put the man into a trance, and while he slept, he took one of his ribs and, which he had taken out of the man, into a woman," closed the flesh over the place. Steven Pinker—Human Nature Many literary forms (Genres) Poetry—non-prose or lyrical History—patriarchal, royal, prophetic, etc Genealogy—lines of tribal descent Doctrine—faith statements/propositions Civil—regulations along with ritual rules Hymnody—songs of faith Letters—personal and communal Code (Apocalyptic)—hidden messages More Daffy-nitions/Descriptions: Lower Criticism—root meaning of text Higher Criticism—contextual meaning Documentary Theory—inter-textual nexus Form Criticism—various genre/forms Redaction—editing or revisions Textual criticism—examination of accuracy Manuscript dating—age of manuscripts Emergent Here are the properties of my key word: Expands “evolution” to include aspects of direction and purpose Includes both cyclic and linear dimensions on the space-time continuum Highlights the robust interplay of all things scientific and religious— complementarity Darwin—example of literalism? "I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation." Autobiography Thoughts of Newton and Darwin Two Domains/NOMA thesis Argument # 1—Science and Religion are distinct equal magisteria Argument # 2—Science and Religion are inseparable polar magisteria Mixing of the two leads to unnecessary conflict Source: Rocks of Ages Jay Stephen Gould Fuzzy Thinking Civil courts are charged to sort out bogus and fuzzy messes. A 2005 court case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in Pennsylvania declared: Intelligent Design is creationism re- packaged—not science. The judgment had “nothing to do with politics, but evidence and precedents…” Ruling by a Judge John E. Jones ID defense as Science “Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text. Instead, intelligent design theory is an effort to empirically detect whether the ‘apparent design’ in nature observed by biologists is genuine design (the product of an organizing intelligence) or is simply the product of chance and mechanical natural laws.” John G. West of Center for Science and Culture What Luther would do to me Luther, after whom the Lutheran Church is named, would be saddened by the many theologians, educators and educational institutions bearing the name Lutheran which today propagate that which he despised—evolution. The world should know that those ‘vulgar persons’ who currently call themselves Lutheran, but accept theistic evolution, would get a good thrashing from Luther were he to catch up with them! From a Ultra-conservative blog Literal and Poetic “Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.” Genesis 3:19 From the historic and biblical Ash Wednesday church rites Buyer Beware! Apophatic tradition (deep humility that is agnostic before mystery) is not to be confused with Sgt. Schultz’s: “I know nuz-zing; nuz-zing at all!” Which “Meta”phor/Mindscape? Comments; Discussion; Q&A Summary: “Old Earth” expands and nuances the biblical model/language and avoids the worst of the “conflict” choices. Contrast characterizes this position. We have addressed new choices in part by literary tools—interpretative and symbolic—and by suggesting inter- theretical frames of reference.
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