Tagged: apologetics

Justin Taylor’s Doubts About 24-Hour Days of Creation – In Retrospect

by Jim Pemberton

A couple of weeks ago Justin Taylor posted an article entitled “Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods”. Since that time, many have posted articles refuting Justin’s arguments. In this article I will post links to some of the ones I know about and make a couple of observations myself.

First, let me start off by saying that in general I respect Justin. He’s a well-reasoned man of good character and genuinely strives for biblical accuracy. I just think he missed the mark on this one. Nevertheless, his article seems to have given many of us the incentive to hash this issue out. Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: The Scientific Method, Limitations

by Jim Pemberton

In the previous article I stated the scientific method in probably its simplest terms. I also stated it in probably its best light. In this article I will turn the tide and discuss some of its limitations. I’m sure I won’t be able to state them all here. However, I do want to establish two categories for understanding the epistemological limitations to the scientific method.

Of Science and Faith

Unprovable Presuppositions

The first category is spelled out by the name I gave to this section: Unprovable Presuppositions. Different philosophical systems have different criteria for epistemological demonstration. Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: The Scientific Method, A Positive Look

by Jim Pemberton

We often hear about how science is based in reason, but we aren’t often taught precisely how this works. We know something of the scientific method, but we don’t know how it relates to logic. We only have some sense that it does. We have come to the part of this series on Science and Faith where I will discuss how the scientific method is based on deductive logic in general.

Of Science and Faith

There’s no need in this series to handle all the various forms that the scientific method takes, so this will only be a general discussion. It will involve the common steps and how each works together to produce a reasonable conclusion. Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: Natural Theology

By Jim Pemberton

In the last article we discussed faith based on reason from the teaching of Augustine. It follows as to ask what the relation is between faith and reason. For this we will jump ahead in time from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas.

Of Science and Faith

As it is, I’m not generally a Thomist. That is, I don’t generally follow the teaching of Thomas Aquinas. However, he brought up a concept that is helpful for us to think about in answering our question. Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: Faith and Reason

By Jim Pemberton

Augustine’s Two Streams of Faith

Scholarly analyses of Augustine tend to differ widely. These can be distilled down to two significant streams of thought.

Of Science and Faith

The first is a famous quote of his, “Crede, ut intelligas.”1 It is an admonition to “believe, so that you may understand.” This may sound similar to the famous philosophical proposition, “I think, therefore I am,” made by philosopher René Descartes. This is in line with Augustine’s thinking that more directly serves to demonstrate him as a predecessor to Descartes when he wrote, “Si… fallor, sum” (“If I am mistaken, I am”)2. But I mention the first statement for a reason that will become clear soon. The point is that in this analysis of his thought Augustine pointed forward to Descartes. This was the direction of his philosophical thought.

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Of Science and Faith: Revelation

By Jim Pemberton

In the first article, I talked about the idea that we need to ask how we know something that we claim to know. In the last article, I talked about how Christians believe that there is more than one kind of substance. So to combine the two, we as Christians need to answer the question how we know that this is true. I also observed that monists, particularly the naturalists today, need to be able to answer the question how they know that there is no other substance than that which we experience.

Of Science and Faith

For both of us, in order to answer the question, we need to have information from other kinds of substance. This poses a problem for naturalists since they don’t believe that there is another substance. This assumption requires two things: Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: Substance

By Jim Pemberton

In this series I am discussing a few key philosophical categories. Last time, I discussed epistemology. At the end of that discussion I brought up the idea that God is of a different stuff than the created world.

Of Science and Faith

The philosophical idea of different stuff is often called substance. Substance is that of which things are made. I’m not talking about the periodic table elements… per se. All of the elements that we are familiar with are of the same substance: matter. Inasmuch as matter can be converted to energy, energy is of the same substance as matter. But we have to ask ourselves if this is the only kind of substance that exists.

Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: How Do We Know?

By Jim Pemberton

Introduction

It was said by theologians in the Middle Ages that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. It is recognized that philosophy generated religious movements and Christian theology, in particular, was forged on the anvil of clashing philosophical movement. While we are admonished by Paul not to be swayed by the philosophies of men (Col 2:8), it is precisely in observing where people have been led astray with philosophy that we have learned what the scriptures do not mean.

In this light, it is helpful to understand philosophy so as not to be held captive by it. And it is in the study of philosophy that we learn that there are helpful categories for helping us understand the Bible correctly. In this series, I will talk about the central categories that help give us a foundation for understanding. Then I will discuss at least one of the philosophical systems that are leading people astray today.

Of Science and Faith

How Do We Know?

Perhaps the most foundational area of philosophical thought is epistemology. The word epistemology literally means the “study of knowledge” and it deals with theories of how we know things. Epistemology is the answer to the question, “How do you know?” Continue reading

An Irenic & Vigorous Creationism Discussion at SBC Voices

by Ken Hamrick

Most debates between Old-Earthers and Young-Earthers deteriorate to anger and ad hominem after about 100 comments. Recently, SBC Voices posted my article, “Helping Old-Earth Creationists Face the Supernatural Question,” which had been posted here. The discussion at Voices went to 308 comments before Dave Miller shut it down—probably for reasons of length. Throughout, it remained a great example of how such discussions can be carried on without rancor. I recommend reading down through the comments for anyone looking to understand the different views better.

Helping Old-Earth Creationists Face the Supernatural Question

by Ken Hamrick

Instead of arguing for or against the scientific evidence, or arguing the merits of possible exegetical ways to reconcile Scripture with a billions-of-years chronology, I propose that—for the sake of argument-–we eliminate the evidence question all together. We can do this by accepting all the scientific claims at face value, and still insisting on a recent supernatural creation out of nothing. In other words, we would not posit a young earth, but an old earth that was recently created by divine fiat. When God creates out of nothing, He is not limited to creating things “new.” God created Adam and Eve as physically mature adults and not as infants. He created mature, fruit-bearing trees for immediate food. “He made the stars also”—and made a universe with mature light-trails already existing so that the stars were already visible. All of these imply a time-consuming natural process that was well under way at the first moment of creation. God chose to create not at the beginning of these natural processes, but somewhere in the middle—as if these processes had been going on long before the moment of creation. Continue reading