A reflection on altruism and an alleged clash between evolution and Christianity


If philosophy does precede science, meaning that it is more important than science, then determining that a world view is philosophically false is to dismiss it. Again that makes sense to mind and idea people like us.

On the other hand if science, meaning facts, precedes philosophy, then the scientific “fact” that the mind is simply an illusion justifies the materialist point of view, that no philosophical reasoning can alter.

The dualist position pits philosophy and science against each other. One or the other is prior. The triune position as I have tried to say does not do this. It is not that either science, philosophy, or theology is prior. All three are prior, because all three come from God.

Neither the physical, the rational, nor the spiritual is prior or superior. They are all equally important. If something is “spiritually true,” but scientifically false like YEC, it is false. If something is “scientifically true,” but theologically false, like survival of the fittest, it is false. If something is “philosophically true,” but theologically false like Western dualism, it is false.

Science says that it superior to philosophy and theology because it demands that its ideas or theories be verified by facts. This why it is distressing when science violates this rule by not verifying how natural selection actually works. That is why it is distressing when theologians allow scientists to flout their own rules by failing to call them on this.

If theories must be based on facts, then how is philosophy and theology superior to science, which is the Other Book of God found in nature. In my opinion theology is also based on facts, but a different kind of facts than science.

Theology is based on theological facts found in the Bible, Creation ex nihilo, humans created in the Image of God, the Trinity, I AM WHO I AM, Salvation by Grace through Faith, Covenantal Relationship, et al.

These are facts found in the Bible and tested though the ages and theological truth is based on them and by testing against philosophical and scientific truth. Iron sharpens iron.

Philosophy is based on philosophical facts. The problem today is that there are no philosophical facts. The facts supposed to be the basis of dualism and monism just do not hold water in today’s world of science. We need a new set of philosophical facts or truths if we want to have a valid discipline of philosophy, or agree with Hawking and Dawkins that philosophy is kaput.

How did you get this premise? Saying you start one place to get another place does not make any assertion about relative importance, and so the nonsense you always repeat about the “triune position” and Western dualism doesn’t follow.

What? I have never heard anyone assert such a thing. Philosophy is based on models of epistemology.

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If one must begin with philosophy to understand science, and can not move from science to understand philosophy, then clearly science is dependent on and less important than philosophy, and vice versa.

Also it is clear that this statement is not true. Science and philosophy are best understood in equal relationship to each other and in conjunction to theology. Thus my nonsense does follow as I said it does.

Philosophy is based on models of epistemology

What makes you think that models of epistemology are not philosophical facts?

In attacking my view you seem to say that there is no possible valid triune model of epistemology, which is far from true.

Here’s what I find interesting; Francis Schaeffer traced the path of influential thought from philosophy, through the arts, through the sciences, through the academia, to finally land in the masses. When Hawking in his book The Grand Design says on the very first page, “Philosophy is dead,” what I see is that philosophy was actually “there first.” The indeterminacy of quantum mechanics was preceded by indeterminacy in philosophy and the arts (as realism progressed through impressionism to expressionism and increasingly towards abstract art).

When I look at the rejection of “mind” I do see nihilism. That doesn’t require me to reject the science. It tells me that “philosophy was there first.”

Should we be offering something better? Absolutely!

Precedence, N. priority.
syn: preeminence, importance, preference, supremacy, rank, superiority, right.
found in Marc McCutcheon, Roget’s Superthesaurus, 1995, p. 397.

The answer is Yes.

The indeterminacy of quantum mechanics was preceded by indeterminacy in philosophy and the arts (as realism progressed through impressionism to expressionism and increasingly towards abstract art)._

I am not familiar enough with this concept of Schaeffer to specifically comment on his analysis. I certainly agree that philosophy has an impact on science. I am also saying that science has an impact on philosophy.

If philosophy was first, than there is the temptation to apply the old fallacy, if x precedes y, then it follows that x caused y, which well might be the case, but hardly means it must be the case without a direct relationship.

Most people, including myself, associate the break down of philosophy with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. This meant that breakdown of a Newtonian deterministic universe and the end of Absolutes. Thomas Kuhn wrote his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions on this event which has yet to fully play out in its consequences. I do not think that Relativity was preceded, that is caused by philosophy, nor do I see how philosophy has been able to adapt to this new scientific environment.

Doesn’t the act of labeling something with the very negative label of nihilism and the fact that nihilism is also philosophical view, which has little to do with this theory, which is purported to be based on scientific fact, indicate a rejection without careful consideration?

The main point is that scientists generally speaking respect scientifically proven facts over philosophical ideas. If it is true that the mind really does exist, we need to prove this scientifically rather than depend on philosophical arguments alone.

Except, as is my main point, that scientists may not be realizing that they are actually reflecting philosophy that already exists (e.g., indeterminacy). Thus, the claim that “philosophy is dead” would be ignorant of existing philosophical claims and the way that science is reflecting those claims. I would have a hard time imagining philosophers consciously deciding to reflect philosophy…

Scientists do realize that they are reflecting a philosophy that already exists, which is materialism. What they are rejecting is metaphysics, and all the philosophical baggage that goes with this. If you read what the New Atheists write and dialogue with them on the internet, you will see that they do take seriously the philosophy of Monod, which we studiously ignore.

According to what you say, we need to wait another 50 or 100 years for this trend to changes, so we can agree concerning truth with materialists.

The other thing is you and Francis and most of us refuse to take seriously the materialistic point of view, because in our view it is so obviously flawed. Therefore we keep responding to their truth with our truth which means that we are talking past each other, so there is no common ground.

If BioLogos takes its Two Books theology seriously this should not happen, because this doctrine says that God’s Truth or the Logos is revealed through Nature as well as through the Bible. If this is true, and I firmly believe that it is, then science that denies the fact that life meaning and purpose is false scientific thinking. I really do not know why I have to argue with Christians, it seems that I do.

Further if God reveals Godself through the Book of Nature, the Book of Nature should be triune like God. This is also true, because Nature is not only determinate or indeterminate, it is both. It is triune. Therefore you cannot win over the nonbelievers by convincing them that evolution is not indeterminate, because it is at least in part.

If BioLogos takes the Two Book doctrine seriously it and those who support BioLogos need to take Relativity seriously. It is the elephant in the room.

In what ways is relativity “not taken seriously”?

Consider, for example, that a YEC position does not (in my estimation) take Relativity seriously with what seems to be a non-relativistic perspective of time…

@fmiddel, thank you for your response.

Certainly revealing God is not the same as being God, but just as clear to reveal God nature must be like God. If God’s Creation had no resemblance to God then there would be no reason to say God created it. That is the reason than nonbelievers claim that the universe is not rational, poorly designed, and evil.

The problem I have is that believers often seem to implicitly agree, particularly when they do not defend the rationality of the universe, which is the basis of science. When we allow Monod’s “nihilism” to go unchallenged, I think we are guilty of this.

Psalm 8:1-9 (NIV2011)

LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

When we look at Psalm 8, David sees the majesty or power of YHWH in the Creation. He also sees the goodness or love of YHWH in the Creation in YHWH’s creation of humanity in God’s Image. (In case you are not aware of this, the word translated angels in v. 5 “elohim” is usually translated as God. Therefore one could translate this phrase as “You made humans a little lower then God” [or in Your Image.])

It seems to me that David sees two basic attributes to God, YHWH’s Greatness and Love in the Creation. The third major basic attribute, God’s Knowledge and Wisdom, which of course is the basis of science, is found in John 1:1 through the revelation that the Logos is the rational core of Nature.

In our traditional thinking we see things as black or white, good or bad, determinate or indeterminate, when that is not the case. Most things is not almost everything is ambiguous in nature. They are good in that they can be used for good purposes. They are not good because they can be used by humans for evil purposes.

Even Truth can be distorted into a lie. This is why a true God-centered philosophy must be triune, not dualistic or monistic.

In what ways is relativity “not taken seriously”?

Until we become serious about a relational philosophy/theology we do not take relativity seriously.

Do we view the Bible as “triune”?

The fact that you did not really respond to my comments, but countered with a question which seems intended to reject my point of view leads me to conclude that you are engaging in a debate between worldviews, instead of the scholarly discussion which I find more in the spirit of BioLogos. Even so I will answer your question.

Let me go back to the Bible again.

Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV2011)
_1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, _
2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through Whom also He made the universe.
3 The Son is the Radiance of God’s Glory and the exact Representation of His Being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. After He had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Hebrews explains to ethnic Jewish Christians that God the Father revealed Godself through the Hebrew Bible, but this was not sufficient, so the Father sent the Son to be a complete revelation of God, the Trinity. The Bible as I have said before is not God’s Word, Jesus Christ is God’s Word. This does not mean that the Bible is false, just that it is not complete.

The Bible is good and the Bible is triune, but Jesus Christ is better and more perfectly Triune. Jesus the Christ is both perfectly God and perfectly Human. That means that He must be both Triune as God and triune as human.

The Bible is true, but is by nature linear or two dimensional. 2 Corinthians 3:6 for the letter kills, and the Spirit makes alive. The Bible is true and triune in that 1) the Bible depicts YHWH’s Salvation History, and 2) It depicts it accurately, and 3) it is understood properly. Thus the Bible is three in as much as the salvation history, its depiction, and its understanding are three different things, but when they are understood properly through the Holy Spirit, they are both one and true.

Actually, I’ve never come across the idea that Nature is triune and your insistence that “this must be so” caught me by surprise, frankly. You’ve said that the Bible is triune, but incomplete, but your description of how the Bible is triune seems somewhat contrived, almost as if it “must be triune” so we have to find ways to “make it” triune. The same argument is made of humans (because we are made in God’s image), and I find some of those explanations a little contrived as well (e.g., “body, soul, spirit”). For example, your third “aspect” of the Bible (“it is understood properly”) is only true if it is understood properly!

So, yeah, that is the reason for my somewhat terse response…:confused:

I do appreciate your statement that Jesus, not the Bible, is the “Word of God.”


My dear friend, you ask me a serious question about the attributes of God and I give you a serious response. Your reply is ignore my response and in effect change the subject to the Bible.

Even your second response is not a response to my arguments. You say that 1) you were surprised and 2) you find my arguments “contrived.” Neither of these responses qualify as adequate in my opinion. When I come across an unexpected problem, I try to take my time, review the arguments, and do some additional research. The time frame of your response as well as the response itself does not indicate you did this.

Now we need to go back to answer one question at a time. Can Nature or the Creation be considered to be triune? Yes, No, or maybe and Why. Of course you do not need to give a definitive response right now.

It could be (I don’t know how legitimately). It needn’t be.

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What kind of an answer is this? You think that it could be, as anything might be, but you do not know of any legitimate reason how it could be. This even though you have not provided any legitimate reason why it could not be and I have provided you with reasons to show that it is.

“It needn’t be,” even if it were true?

Yes, it is not required that Creation be triune. God is triune. What reveals him is not God. Humans are not triune and explanations of humans as triune are inaccurate and contrived. I would argue the same is true of Scripture. And Creation. As I said, your contention took me by surprise. I’ve never heard that before. I have heard it of humans (and remain unconvinced).

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Fact: God created humans in the Image of God. Fact: God is Triune. Conclusion: therefore God’s Image, humanity is Triune.

What reveals God is not God, but what reveals God is like God, in that it reveals God’s Power, Wisdom, and Goodness. The Heavens are telling the Glory of God.

Are the heavens triune? Must they be?

Do the heavens reveal God’s Creativity? Or…they can’t because that would be “four”?

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