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Soupy
Feb 18th 2009, 09:24 PM
I was thinking about some of the discussion threads on the forums, specifically the ones that debate creation, evolution, origins etc and the debates obviously tend to follow a similar pattern with the same selection of 'beliefs' being the result, so it set my mind to ask a couple of questions ...

1. When considering the creation of the universe and how it all began, do you consider and allow the inclusion of any possible miraculous events, regardless of whatever age you believe the earth / universe to be ?

2. From creation until now, do you believe God has intervened in the affairs and plans of man by using miraculous events when necessary ?

3. Do you believe the miraculous events recorded in scripture to be real or just fantastic stories ?

4. Because miracles can't be scientifically tested, does that have a bearing on what you believe them to be ?

5. There is no doubt the scientific community have taken great steps through the centuries into understanding and explaining many things we see and experience in our world today but should 'scientific data alone' be the driving force when deliberating creation / origins ?

I'm sure I've got few more questions in a similar vein but these will do for now :)

I also think it would be good manners for me to put my answers first...

1. Yes, I believe the very act of Creation had to involve miraculous beginnings
2. Yes
3. Real
4. I believe miracles recorded in scripture to be real, actual events.
5. No, I believe it is impossible to use scientific data alone for trying to explain Creation.

:D

BrckBrln
Feb 18th 2009, 09:54 PM
1. When considering the creation of the universe and how it all began, do you consider and allow the inclusion of any possible miraculous events, regardless of whatever age you believe the earth / universe to be ?

Of course. Like you, I believe Creation itself was a miracle.


2. From creation until now, do you believe God has intervened in the affairs and plans of man by using miraculous events when necessary ?

Of course.


3. Do you believe the miraculous events recorded in scripture to be real or just fantastic stories ?

I would say generally real. I would leave open the possibility for 'fantastic stories'.


4. Because miracles can't be scientifically tested, does that have a bearing on what you believe them to be ?

I believe in some or even most cases God uses natural means to accomplish his miracles. But, obviously there are cases where God doesn't use these means and in that case, I guess they wouldn't be scientifically testable.


5. There is no doubt the scientific community have taken great steps through the centuries into understanding and explaining many things we see and experience in our world today but should 'scientific data alone' be the driving force when deliberating creation / origins ?

I believe so, yes. As long as it doesn't directly contradict the Scriptures (not someone's interpretation). Since God created the whole universe then we should be able to trust what it reveals. And since the Bible isn't a scientific textbook then this is the only way we can find out how Creation happened in all the wonderful details.

crawfish
Feb 18th 2009, 10:35 PM
Good questions! I hope we can clear up some misconceptions with them (hope springs eternal... ;) )


1. When considering the creation of the universe and how it all began, do you consider and allow the inclusion of any possible miraculous events, regardless of whatever age you believe the earth / universe to be ?

I do, no question. It is NEVER a question of "what God CAN do", but "what God DID do". The possibility of creation with age always exists in my mind, but if so, God made it look as if things had not only age, but history as well. That history points very clearly toward what science is discovering. Thus, even if the universe is only 6,000 years old, it doesn't matter; we are discovering what God intends for us to discover.


2. From creation until now, do you believe God has intervened in the affairs and plans of man by using miraculous events when necessary ?


Yes. God intervenes miraculously in order to display His glory to man. In almost every miracle mentioned in scripture, there was either a direct human interceder or direct human involvement. The only scripture that seems to break this model is creation itself, which sets it apart.



3. Do you believe the miraculous events recorded in scripture to be real or just fantastic stories ?

Real. The exception is creation, which in my mind isn't really a "fantastic story" but a spiritual allegory.


4. Because miracles can't be scientifically tested, does that have a bearing on what you believe them to be ?

No. I believe on these matters in faith.

Two miracles can be scientifically tested for, though - creation and the flood - and scientific discovery tells us that we cannot take them in certain ways. It does not make them lies or untrue, but it does point out that they are provided for spiritual edification rather than historical or scientific purposes.


5. There is no doubt the scientific community have taken great steps through the centuries into understanding and explaining many things we see and experience in our world today but should 'scientific data alone' be the driving force when deliberating creation / origins ?


No, but scientific data when strongly supported should force re-evaluation on our interpretation of scripture. We did it with flat earth, we did it with geocentricism, we've done it for other things as well. There is precedent for it that most of us all implicitly accept, even if we don't admit to it. :)

fishbowlsoul
Feb 19th 2009, 02:34 AM
1. When considering the creation of the universe and how it all began, do you consider and allow the inclusion of any possible miraculous events, regardless of whatever age you believe the earth / universe to be ?

2. From creation until now, do you believe God has intervened in the affairs and plans of man by using miraculous events when necessary ?

3. Do you believe the miraculous events recorded in scripture to be real or just fantastic stories ?

4. Because miracles can't be scientifically tested, does that have a bearing on what you believe them to be ?

5. There is no doubt the scientific community have taken great steps through the centuries into understanding and explaining many things we see and experience in our world today but should 'scientific data alone' be the driving force when deliberating creation / origins ?


1. The creation of the universe/earth/life I believe to be miraculous. Just looking at how many things had to go right over a ~15 billion year time span for sentinent life to occur is miraculous.

2. Yes. God has intervened I believe to "move the plot forward" so to speak. I apply the term miraculous narrowly though to things like mmm the Resurrection. Not to my team winning a football game. Now if the Cubs win a World Series :hmm:

3. Most were miracles. Some were miraculous to the observer back then but probably had some natural explaination.

4. No, miracles are matter of faith for each individual.

5. While I believe creation itself to be a miracle, I believe the young earth/universe hypothesis (i.e. interpretation) to be scientifically testable and ultimately untenable. I am very much oppose to trying to use the Bible as a science textbook or try to examine nature through the Bible.

God bless

Scruffy Kid
Feb 19th 2009, 03:12 AM
Soupy --
Thanks so much for this marvelous set of questions!
I was thinking about some of the discussion threads on the forums, specifically the ones that debate creation, evolution, origins etc and the debates obviously tend to follow a similar pattern with the same selection of 'beliefs' being the result, so it set my mind to ask a couple of questions ...
Many of the discussions get rather stroppy and pointless, as people make similar points again and again, as you say. Having these questions as something to structure discussion seems to me a step toward more fruitful discussion!
2. From creation until now, do you believe God has intervened in the affairs and plans of man by using miraculous events when necessary ? Of course I do. While I also believe in Old Testament miracles, most important is that Jesus, became man (yet being God), was born of a virgin, did the various things that the Gospels tell us he did, and above all died for our sins and rose from the dead.
3. Do you believe the miraculous events recorded in scripture to be real or just fantastic stories ? I believe that miraculous events occurred that are recorded in Scripture. However, certain things that are narrated are not necessarily meant as historical records, IMO, but intended as teaching stories. In other cases, the essential events to which a story refers, though they took place, may well be represented symbolically in the story. For instance, Genesis 2 says that Adam and his wife "heard the sound of the voice of the Lord walking in the Garden in the cool of the day." But voices don't walk, and God is not a physical being, so He wasn't crunching gravel or otherwise making sounds. This -- along with many other elements -- suggests that the presence of the Lord, and his relationship to Adam, or humanity, and the creation, is being conveyed to us in symbolic language, which we need to attend to and seek to understand as carefully as possible.

1. When considering the creation of the universe and how it all began, do you consider and allow the inclusion of any possible miraculous events, regardless of whatever age you believe the earth / universe to be ? Yes, of course, I think that the creation of the universe was wholly and completely "miraculous" and more than miraculous. God created ex nihilo -- out of nothing -- a procedure far far more relying on God's creative power than miracles in general are. If it is -- and it is -- miraculous for Jesus to calm a storm, walk on water, be transfigured before the Apostles, or feed 5000, then how much more is it because of God's fullness of being and power that the whole universe comes into being!! If by "miracle" we mean something that goes beyond the usual workings of nature, for instance, how super-miraculous it is for God to establish Nature in its entirety, with its workings and complex mathematical laws!! The only problem with calling this "miraculous" is that the word is too weak: it is hyper-miraculous, miraculous beyond our reckoning, so miraculous that we couldn't even begin to understand the depths of it.

That is precisely why (rather, one reason that's precisely why) I think the accounts of Creation in Genesis 1 and 2 are symbolic accounts. I don't think the kind of ordering of all things that God does in creating are things which we can understand the detailed mechanics of -- and further, the detailed mechanics are not too important anyhow. Certainly, these mechanics include neutrons, protons, gravity, electromagnetism, QCD (Quantum Chromodynamics), molecular forces, and many other things. Things that Scripture does not mention -- and properly so, because they aren't relevant to God explaining to us His purposes in Creation, and because the Bible does not seek to be a science textbook. (It has much more important things to tell us than that, and while we can eventually figure a lot of science out for ourselves, we cannot without God's Scriptural revelation understand God's plans and purposes -- in Creation or anything else.) Therefore, I think what these accounts are giving us is detailed and precise understanding of God's purposes, our own fallenness, and so on. To do that, the Scriptures use the best possible means, and those means are ones that employ figurative language and symbolism with depth and precision, and reveal to us God's purposes and ways, and our own origins and nature, in a profound way.

4. Because miracles can't be scientifically tested, does that have a bearing on what you believe them to be ? Not particularly.

5. There is no doubt the scientific community have taken great steps through the centuries into understanding and explaining many things we see and experience in our world today but should 'scientific data alone' be the driving force when deliberating creation / origins ? "Scientific data alone" cannot be the driving force in explaining anything (including the well-established or novel conclusions of science) -- for instance, how a simple pendulum or spring oscillator works, or how the planets travel around the sun. Tycho Brahe collected data -- it was important scientific work -- but the data had little impact until Kepler devised a better theoretical basis for interpretation -- drawing on eliptical rather than circular orbits. Even this organization of the data had limited impact until Newton -- working on data that everyone had known for many thousands of years (as, that apples fall from trees) as well perhaps as some data that previous scientists had collected, often in response to theory, such as Gallileo's demonstration that gravity doesn't cause heavy objects to fall faster than light objects -- organized the data into a basic and simple theory whose precise mathematical character and implications he then worked out.

The idea that "data" by themselves can form concepts for us is based on the outdated -- and empirically and theoretically ungrounded -- philosophical empiricism of John Locke. (Locke in effect thought that facts write on the tabula rasa -- the empty blackbord -- of our mind). Generally concepts, and theoretical constructs, lens, and paradigms of various kinds, not just facts, are involved in our understanding what goes on. That's true of the "naive science" of a child learning the things we all know about how the world works, and of the more sophisticated science of systematic inquiry which we usually call "scientific."

In trying to make sense of the large contours of reality -- which include such things as the origins of the universe -- facts are the more subordinate to correct patterns of thinking. Thus of course I think that facts, while helpful, even essential, play a limited role in thinking about ultimate matters such as the origins and destiny of the universe and its laws.

Naturally, my view of Creation is shaped by the revealed Biblical accounts in the early chapters of Genesis (and aided by the deep reflections of Christians upon them through the ages). These accounts have had central importance in the formation of science, and of our entire civilization, and they are unique and stunning contributions to human thought. (Not surprisingly -- because they are what God revealed to us.)

Thanks again for putting these helpful questions on the table!! :hug:
Scruffy Kid

Ixthus
Feb 19th 2009, 03:16 AM
God uses science too though to perform miracles. The ten plagues can be scientifically proved.

The redness in the Nile could have actually been pollution caused by volcanic activity, specifically that of Santorini, which erupted around 1500 B.C. and whose ash is found in the Nile region. The silt could make the Nile turn blood red, and would also render it undrinkable. Heavy rains in the red-soiled area of Lake Victoria could have caused reddened water to wash downstream.
o Alternatively, a red toxic algal bloom (red tide) could have produced large quantities of toxins that would kill fish.
o Earthquakes could have caused a limnic eruption the same way it happened at Lake Nyos.
* (plague 2—frogs) Any blight on the water that killed fish also would have caused frogs to leave the river and, probably, die.
* (plagues 3 and 4—biting insects and flies) The lack of frogs in the river would have let insect populations, normally kept in check by the frogs, increase massively.
* (plagues 5 and 6—livestock disease and boils) There are biting flies in the region which transmit livestock diseases; a sudden increase in their number could spark epidemics.
* (plague 7—fiery hail) Volcanic activity not only brings with it ash, but brimstone, and also alters the weather system, occasionally producing hail. Hail could also have occurred as a completely independent natural weather event, with accompanying lightning as the "fire".
* (plague 8—locusts) The weight of hail will destroy most crops, leaving several insects and other animals without a normal food source. The remaining crops therefore would become targeted heavily, and thus be destroyed by swarms of locusts which would otherwise be distributed rather thinly. Or the locusts could have increased due to a lack of predators. Even without these explanations, swarms of locusts are not uncommon today.
* (plague 9—darkness) There could be several causes for unusual darkness: a solar eclipse, a sandstorm, volcanic ash, or simply swarms of locusts large enough to block out the sun.
* (plague 10—death of the firstborn)
o If the last plague indeed selectively tended to affect the firstborn, it could be due to food polluted during the time of darkness, either by locusts or by the black mold Cladosporium. When people emerged after the darkness, the firstborn would be given the largest portion of food. Therefore poisoning them.

teddyv
Feb 19th 2009, 04:24 AM
God uses science too though to perform miracles. The ten plagues can be scientifically proved.

The redness in the Nile could have actually been pollution caused by volcanic activity, specifically that of Santorini, which erupted around 1500 B.C. and whose ash is found in the Nile region. The silt could make the Nile turn blood red, and would also render it undrinkable. Heavy rains in the red-soiled area of Lake Victoria could have caused reddened water to wash downstream.
o Alternatively, a red toxic algal bloom (red tide) could have produced large quantities of toxins that would kill fish.
o Earthquakes could have caused a limnic eruption the same way it happened at Lake Nyos.
* (plague 2—frogs) Any blight on the water that killed fish also would have caused frogs to leave the river and, probably, die.
* (plagues 3 and 4—biting insects and flies) The lack of frogs in the river would have let insect populations, normally kept in check by the frogs, increase massively.
* (plagues 5 and 6—livestock disease and boils) There are biting flies in the region which transmit livestock diseases; a sudden increase in their number could spark epidemics.
* (plague 7—fiery hail) Volcanic activity not only brings with it ash, but brimstone, and also alters the weather system, occasionally producing hail. Hail could also have occurred as a completely independent natural weather event, with accompanying lightning as the "fire".
* (plague 8—locusts) The weight of hail will destroy most crops, leaving several insects and other animals without a normal food source. The remaining crops therefore would become targeted heavily, and thus be destroyed by swarms of locusts which would otherwise be distributed rather thinly. Or the locusts could have increased due to a lack of predators. Even without these explanations, swarms of locusts are not uncommon today.
* (plague 9—darkness) There could be several causes for unusual darkness: a solar eclipse, a sandstorm, volcanic ash, or simply swarms of locusts large enough to block out the sun.
* (plague 10—death of the firstborn)
o If the last plague indeed selectively tended to affect the firstborn, it could be due to food polluted during the time of darkness, either by locusts or by the black mold Cladosporium. When people emerged after the darkness, the firstborn would be given the largest portion of food. Therefore poisoning them.
Not sure if I would say this is proven. And besides the greater point of the plagues appears to have been God's direct assault upon Egypt's pantheon of gods. Whether the plagues were natural or supernatural is a moot point.

Anyway with regards to the OP, I would answer in a very similar vein as crawfish, fishbowlsoul, Scruffy Kid, and BrckBrln.

Soupy
Feb 19th 2009, 08:59 AM
Thanks for your post Ixthus but I would be grateful if this thread could continue in the same format as BrckBrin, Crawfish, Fishbowlsoul & Scruffy Kid have answered, I'm trying to avoid the usual 'train-crash' style of thread that all to often results on these topics.

I'm hoping that after many more people post their answers we could get a good cross sections of 'beliefs' maybe add a few more questions and see were we get to ... it could be very informative and revealing but only if we stay in some sort of controlled format.

edit: ooops, nearly forgot you too Teddyv !

Cheers :hug:

Followtheway
Feb 22nd 2009, 03:23 AM
take a look at Lee strobels videos on youtube