Common Ground on Science and Faith: A Theologian and a Scientist in Dialogue (Video)


(system) #1

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/common-ground-on-science-and-faith-a-theologian-and-a-scientist-in-dialogue-video

(Randy) #2

Thanks for posting this. I thought it was well worth attending (it took place close enough to my home that I could), and other Biologos folks would enjoy watching it, too.


(Christy Hemphill) #3

“We hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch this video.”

A few? :grinning:

I’m sure it’s well worth the few minutes plus the seventy-five or so more.


(Brad Kramer) #4

BioLogos vs. Internet Attention Span: The Never-Ending Battle


(Colin Eakin) #5

With regard to having Richard Mouw as the “Christian” representative, I would point out the following:

In 2015, John Ortberg and Menlo Church hosted a panel of representatives of other religions: Jewish, atheist, Hindu, Muslim. The Christian was supposed to be Richard Mouw, past president of Fuller Seminary. The discussion was designed to hear from each person’s perspective, promote rapprochement and “lower the dividing walls,” as though that is what our commission is from Jesus in Luke 24:47. The entire session was reprehensible for any church which would seek to proclaim God’s truth, of course, but the blasphemy hit its height at the end of the service with the following interaction:

Shawn Landres (Jew): I think we actually disagree on less than one might think, which is to say that the issue is certainty. Something that people frequently don’t know about the history of Judaism historically is that a number of people claiming to be Messiah have emerged. It kind of happens every few hundred years, and then it doesn’t work out so well. People have been crucified. People have been executed. People have ended up converting to Islam, as with Shabbetai Tzevi. Lubavitcher Rebbe died with people claiming that he was the Messiah. A deeply humble and honest Jewish answer would be we just don’t know. The joke is that the Messiah is going to come. There’s going to be a press conference in Jerusalem, inevitably. There’s going to be a gaggle of reporters, and the first question is going to be, “Everybody is dying to know. Have you been here before?” And she will say, “No comment.” I mean, fundamentally, the Jewish claim would be that the Messiah is supposed to do some things that haven’t happened yet. At the end of the end of the end of the day, I believe the Messiah will come. I don’t know who’s going to be standing at the gate of heaven. I don’t know. That’s my best answer. If you believe that is Jesus, I would hope our common conversation would say that all people of faith, that it’s ultimately God who’s deciding who’s getting through the gate. Our human certainty, our finite certainty, our arrogant certainty is what divides us.

Richard Mouw: I hope we get to the gate at the same time, because I’d like to make your case for you.

There you have it: At the end of the age, Richard Mouw–past 23 year president of Fuller Seminary-- would like to tell God He should admit to heaven a man who rejects Jesus as Savior and Lord and thinks the real Messiah will be a she. That is both ignorance of the Word of God and wicked blasphemy if I have ever heard it.

Is it possible for Biologos to have a better representative for the Christian side next time, one who knows and embraces the truth of God’s Word?

Colin E.


(Randy) #6

Brother Eakin,
Thank you for good questions.

Here are some thoughts. I did attend the meeting, and it was not only scientifically helpful, but God honoring. They opened and closed in prayer and a hymn. If you get a chance to listen to it (maybe while you’re doing patient charts–that is how I listen to podcasts now), you would be edified by it, I think. Praveen Sethupathy affirmed humanity’s relationship to God, and Dr Mouw also spoke very graciously.

At the end, Dr Haarsma noted that the Barna Group reported that 50% of Christian youth people feel that the church has rejected science; and Dr Mouw said that to have your pastor say that it’s OK to ask and question about the relationship between the church and science can be an enriching experience. The effort of the meeting was to affirm that the God is the God of science as well as of our faith.

The Gospel is wonderful. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (2 Cor 9:15).

I, too, struggle about this question that the Jewish representative brought up. . What happens if people don’t understand? I don’t know. In the quote above, Dr Mouw did not say that he knew what would happen. He affirmed his friend’s earnest heart in seeking after God. I think he also echoed God’s heart, in that he hopes that God judges us with mercy. My greatest hope is that God judges us according to our hearts and what we know.

For example, my daughter is 5, and bathes herself in the Bible. In Christian school, church, and Awana, she sucks up everything she hears. She makes up hymns to God that she sings as she goes to bed. It’s easy for her to believe. A few weeks ago, she reported from Awana, “Mommy, my friend Harlan just got saved, and he’s going to go to Heaven. I am going to miss him sooo much!” (a week later, she reported, “Harlan was mean to me. I don’t think I’ll play with him any more.”)

But I can say honestly after reading much more about penal substitution, the homoousion (simultaneous God and man nature), and guilt and forgiveness, while she grasps God’s love and forgiveness (maybe because she has a good relationship with her own parents to boot), she would fail miserably on the finer points (what would she say if I asked her how Christ died for her sins, exactly? For that matter, do we really, truly understand it, ourselves?)

What would happen to her if she died? Would God accept her? What if she were 4, and hadn’t gotten to this stage of belief yet? I can tell you that from outward appearances, she has “sinned,” in saying “No!” to reasonable requests and throwing tantrums (not many, actually, even as little girls go; and better than I was as a boy at her age, but I suspect she has sinned at least one time so far).

And then, I think further…What if she had severe mental retardation, were 20, and understood only how to eat, sleep, and throw a tantrum? Does she sin? Does she go to Heaven if she dies?

What about the numbers from our medical school that cite at least 50% of conceptions miscarrying? Do they go to Hell if they don’t understand? What about the up to 50% of under-5 children who die in some underdeveloped areas (and used to die in the West, till about 1850)? They surely sin.

Let’s imagine things a bit further yet. What would happen if she were born in another culture, grew up, and heard only a distorted version of the gospel story? In Judaism, where many (see aish.com) argue that the messianic prophecies don’t come to fruit in Jesus? As in Islam, where Christ is a good prophet, second only to Mohamed? It’s not her fault she didn’t understand. Yet, I can tell you that I grew up as a missionary kid in a Muslim culture, and there are many Muslims and people of other faiths who seek God earnestly, are much kinder and more mature–and I believe closer to the heart of God-than Christians like me. Does God catch us out if we never hear, simply because of that? Is He able to discuss things and say “My son died for you” sometime as they die? I don’t know.

What about the Old Testament saints? Do you think Abraham or David would understand and accept all this if given the simple gospel story?

But we say they were under a different covenant. Very well, what about Melchizedek? Even Abraham gave gifts to him as a high priest, though he was not under the covenant.

Isn’t God just? I do not know this for sure, but I do think that God judges us according to our hearts, and according to what we know.

Psalm 51:17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Psalm 103: As a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

I am not a Biologos staff member–just a visitor who learns from them–but I appreciated the meeting. It was strongly God honoring. Regarding the question on God’s faithfulness and justice, if I have hope that He will accept my 5 year old daughter with incomplete understanding, I hope that He who gave His only Son will judge according to this sort of grace. I don’t know what will happen, but I do believe that God is just. I do hope to meet that Jewish representative and praise God with him, as Dr Mouw would. I believe that such a hope is borne of His own Spirit.

I also believe that it is His command to tell the gospel to others. Biologos does attempt to facilitate that by helping those who do not understand the intersection between faith and science to praise Him.

Thanks, Brother Eakin, for your good thoughts. God bless.


(Phil) #7

Beautiful, Randy. I see my grandkids as you describe your children, and have been blessed with my daughters as they grew into adulthood, so you can look forward to that.!


(Randy) #8

I have heard that having grandchildren is even better than having children. I have a hard time believing it! I’m sure you have a wonderful time with your grandchildren. I look forward to that time too, too.


(Colin Eakin) #9

Dear Randy,

Thank you for your email and your reflections. Please consider the following responses, graciously offered:

(1) If Praveen Sethupathy did not affirm Jesus’ statements of John 3:18 and 3:36 that all who do not repent and believe in His name to save them are already under God’s condemnation and await His future eternal judgment, then he did not affirm humanity’s relationship to God, no matter what else he said.

(2) God’s true followers do not reject science; they reject conjectures masquerading as science that violate the plain rendering of Scripture. Churches must teach students to be biblical presuppositionalists; that is, to believe the Bible is true above all else, and that all other truth claims must be processed through the lens of Scripture. One can have a doctorate in science (I do) and yet know it limitations–that science is objective, measurable, repeatable, and reliant upon uniform processes which can be tested and proven. None of this holds for creation; therefore, the one who would know what truly happened must rely upon God’s clear and perfect Word for His account.

(3) Amen re: the gospel, “the power of God for salvation to everybody who believes.” Rom. 1:16

(4) You need not worry about people who don’t understand. Rely upon God’s Word. Jesus says (John 6:37), “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out.” That is a guarantee by the Lord of all. So proclaim the gospel and rest assured that the Holy Spirit will bring to salvation those who have been given by the Father to the Son as His eternal bride, chosen In Him from before the foundation of the world.

(5) With regard to your comment re: the supposed “earnest heart seeking God,” realize that notion goes against Scripture Per Psalm 14:1-3, later quoted by Paul in Rom. 3:10-11, there is no one who seeks for God. We are all born corrupted in heart, mind and will such that, without the power of God for salvation for all who believe, we would all perish. God seeks after sinners, empowering them to repent (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25-26) and believe (Eph. 2:8-9), not the reverse.

(6) With regard to how God will judge, it has already been established by the Lord Jesus Christ: He will judge by His Word (John 12:48). That is why His Word must go to the ends of the earth, because everyone will be liable unto it.

(7) There is an age of accountability prior to which Scripture indicates that God receives all those souls who perish unto Him. John MacArthur has an excellent book on this subject, “Safe In the Arms of God” (or some variation of that)

(8) With regard to earnest followers of other religions (e.g. Muslims), rely again upon Jesus. He told the leaders of a religion that actually had the true God as their supposed head, “Because you do not believe in Me, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24. If that was true of earnest Jews who deny Jesus, the same will be true of all others who deny Jesus. This reality should convict Christ’s true followers of the necessity of proclaiming the gospel far and wide, and even with more intensity as the time of His return draws nearer (Rev. 1:3).

(9) God’s manner of salvation has been the same throughout history: repentance and faith, deriving from His grace (Gen. 15:6; Gen. 6:8). Even the protoevangelion to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15) promised the Savior. The role of OT saints was to believe everything God had revealed up to and through their time upon the earth, culminating in the New Covenant gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection. If you wish to know more about this subject, I highly recommend Pastor John MacArthur’s sermons on 2 Cor. 3:6-18, which can be found at Grace to You.

(10) God is just, but you don’t want pure justice, which would mean we all go to hell in payment for our sins. God’s justice means that every sinner will die (Ezek. 18:4,20). Fortunately, He is also gracious and merciful and has provided a means for those who repent and believe to have their sins punished once and for all time by Christ upon the cross (Col. 2:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:10-11). That is the only manner by which one may be saved.

(11) I also am not a Biologos staffer, but just a redeemed follower of God who has both righteous indignation against those who would teach His Word in a corrupted and false manner, and pity for those who go to sites such as this seeking wisdom. Evolution is false, and requires a continual reworking of Scripture to make its faulty assumptions work. My encouragement to you would be to recommit yourself to the sufficient, clear, authoritative and necessary Word of God and trust it wherever it leads, even if it means you must adjust your presuppositions about this world and how it came about.

If you would like to know more about why evolution is categorically opposed to the Word of God, and why the world could look so old and yet be so young, it would be my honor to send you a complementary copy of my book, “God’s Glorious Story.” (Its Ch. 4 describes the above). It has a Foreword by Pastor John MacArthur, and all royalties are directed to his ministry Grace to You. Just send me your contact info.

May God bless you as you study His Word, Randy.

Colin Eakin, M.D.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #10

Thanks for your mostly gracious comments and observations, Colin. I know the above was addressed to Randy, but being in a public forum, I’m sure you also mean it as an invitation of engagement for anyone here.

There is certainly much to commend and agree with among your 11 points, and some things to critique too. Just picking up on a couple of those things here; you wrote (in point #2):

That should be true enough on some basic levels, but unfortunately in many circles (such as those you seem to run in?) this effectively becomes instead: “…teach students to be presuppositionalists of our own modern approach to the Bible, …”.

Few of us here would be against presuppositions I think - we all certainly and unavoidably have them. But if we are to mix into those things that are demonstrable falsehoods, even in the name of lining up with something we think we have understood from scriptures, then I think long and hard before I pit myself or what I hold to be true against God’s works and word. I know you insist you would never do either of those things, but the facts cannot be concealed from all those who are willing to examine them.

In your point #10, you do have much weight of much of church history and teaching on your side - that needs to be conceded. What remains to be seen is whether you actually have scriptures, much less the Spirit of Christ behind you in this. That I should shudder to think of God’s perfect justice being applied to me is true without a doubt. That I should pit God’s justice against his grace and his mercy as if those were two contrary things of which one must over-ride the other is another question entirely. Many here will agree with you in taking the traditional approaches to all this, but I for one hope to stay tuned to what the Spirit of Christ has to reveal about where our traditions have or have not failed to bear out the truth. Like you, I hope to make use of scriptures to increase my understandings, but even more importantly yet to live it (something I have a long way to go on!) I’ve recently taken to reading George MacDonald on this (somebody I’m guessing you would disapprove of!). But I’ll let him speak in his own words here from his sermon on “Justice”:

Our business is not to think correctly, but to live truly; then first will there be a possibility of our thinking correctly. One chief cause of the amount of unbelief in the world is, that those who have seen something of the glory of Christ, set themselves to theorize concerning him rather than to obey him. In teaching men, they have not taught them Christ, but taught them about Christ.

The more I read scriptures, the more I agree with MacDonald that obedience precedes understanding. Not that the latter is unimportant … but all the truth in the world is worthless to any of us while we don’t follow Christ in life.

May God bless you and all of us here with the convictions that lead to repentance and to walking closer with Him.

-Merv