Humility | How to Hold Knowledge

Fine then there is no point discussing such things with you.

I answered you when your whole post consisted of “absolutely”. Save your special pleading, your non responsive stance has been noted so the discussion is closed between us - from my side overtly as from your side implicitly.

the odious supernatural.

Of course not.

Moderators, please note my question followed Mark’s post but was not addressed to him.

Ms. Rankin. It takes a Brit. :wink:

There is nothing humble is having lines in the sand.

  1. We believe the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God. By the Holy Spirit it is the “living and active” means through which God speaks to the church today, bearing witness to God’s Son, Jesus, as the divine Logos, or Word of God.

We don’t. Apart from in the most deconstructed way.

  1. We believe that God also reveals himself in and through the natural world he created, which displays his glory, eternal power, and divine nature. Properly interpreted, Scripture and nature are complementary and faithful witnesses to their common Author.

See above.

  1. We believe that all people have sinned against God and are in need of salvation.

I have no idea what that, the first clause, means. My sins are all against other people. I need saving from, in, beyond my brokenness, my guilt, my shame, my life, my privilege. My death. My return to non-existence. What else I can’t imagine.

  1. We believe in the historical incarnation of Jesus Christ as fully God and fully man. We believe in the historical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which we are saved and reconciled to God.

I want to believe that, and after the last comma in the most deconstructed way.

  1. We believe that [the idea, the story of] God is directly involved in the lives of people today through acts of redemption, personal transformation, and answers to prayer.

  2. We believe that God typically sustains the world using faithful, consistent processes that humans describe as “natural laws.” Yet we also affirm that God works outside of natural law in supernatural events, including the miracles described in Scripture. In both natural and supernatural ways, God continues to be directly involved in creation and in human history.

No " " are possible. Natural law is prevenient of creation, of God. He has no choice whatsoever. He’s humble. God sustains the world by instantiating natural laws. From eternity. For infinity. There are no miracles in the ‘OT’. What was Scripture for Jesus can’t be for us. God cannot be directly involved in natural ways, despite grounding their being. God is not involved in history apart from in and around the incarnation and its first circle, the first generation Church. There is no trace of God in creation OR history.

  1. We believe that the methods of science are an important and reliable means to investigate and describe the world God has made. In this, we stand with a long tradition of Christians for whom Christian faith and science are mutually hospitable. Therefore, we reject ideologies such as Materialism and Scientism that claim science is the sole source of knowledge and truth, that science has debunked God and religion, or that the physical world constitutes the whole of reality.

They are only mutually hospitable in so far as religion can have no impact on science whatsoever, including on Materialism and Scientism. There are no gaps they do not completely fill. Apart from our mesoscopic incapacity to understand. Faith has to acknowledge the perfect, complete explanatory power of Materialism and Scientism, wave a white flag from the gutter, but still profess yearning. Science does not have to debunk the supernatural. Just utterly ignore it.

  1. We believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life over billions of years. God continues to sustain the existence and functioning of the natural world, and the cosmos continues to declare the glory of God. Therefore, we reject ideologies such as Deism that claim the universe is self-sustaining, that God is no longer active in the natural world, or that God is not active in human history.

God is active by willing existence. That is 99.99…99…% all with regard to nature. Including history. Nature created the universes, the Earth and the infinity of inhabited worlds from eternity.

  1. We believe that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Thus, evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes. Therefore, we reject ideologies that claim that evolution is a purposeless process or that evolution replaces God.

What do you mean ‘ordained’? Evolution is synonymous with life, with RNA. You can only mean that God decided (something) in advance. What? When? In eternity?

  1. We believe that God created humans in biological continuity with all life on earth, but also as spiritual beings. God established a unique relationship with humanity by endowing us with his image and calling us to an elevated position within the created order.

Which is what?

  1. We believe that conversations among Christians about controversial issues of science and faith can and must be conducted with humility, grace, honesty, and compassion as a visible sign of the Spirit’s presence in Christ’s body, the Church.

And with our whole, open, courageous, free ranging, free thinking, saying all the unthinkable, unsayable things, with unflinching minds FIRST. In the Spirit of a sound mind. Reasonable.

How’s that for participation? I’m your worst nightmare. I don’t want to be an atheist. But you’ve got nothing I want.

Some notable excerpts:

Earlier before that last bit came up I was thinking that some of the same kinds of things could be said of being surprised by God, and then was gratified to hear something similar and see it in print in the transcript. If we limit God to not being able to intervene at all or if we specify the ways that he must intervene before we believe in him, we certainly are not likely to be surprised! But we have seen multiple instances of delightful surprises, maybe not initially delightful in every case but certainly in retrospect!

This would be called the difference between natural and supernatural revelation.

It’s a slippery slope to be sure.

Such unbearable words

Relative to always policing your thoughts to keep them within preset bounds from fear of social ostracism or eternal torture, risk is a good choice. No one should be forced to live like that. But to jump to the conclusion that nothing has intrinsic meaning that cannot be justified rationally and understood explicitly is not reasonable. What is reasonable is to seek coherence between insight from within that is viscerally justified and what truth can be built up rationally from what bits we can know explicitly. To throw the baby out with the bath water when we ourselves are that baby is just rash.

Who is ‘we’, Martin? Hillary speaks for Biologos. You speak for … ?

Which is one of the abiding mysteries of this forum … Why is Klax still here?

[And that is an honest question above - not an ‘I wish Klax would just go away’ question. It seems only you can answer the question of why would somebody hang around so long in a forum that allegedly has nothing for them?]


3 and half minutes into the podcast and I encountered a real quotable gem to which I must give my accolades and hoorah!

“So a humble person is one who is not primarily concerned with being the one who is right. A humble person is primarily concerned with learning what is right.”

In that space between the extremes we may seek to share what we have learned so far. And no doubt we are convinced that what we discovered is right. So it is well to remember the above. One thing that has always helped me is to keep researching and checking my conclusions (even while I am typing them) to reassure myself that my conclusion really does agree with the evidence. It is from doing this that I have caught a number of my own errors on this forum.

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One of the many good things that comes from being a beloved child of a good Father is not always having to police your thoughts from fear of eternal torture. Christians need to be conscious of their continuing sinfulness (that requires humility, speaking of) and to be regularly resensitized to it by their own devotional reading (not solely academic analysis and criticism tending to excuse disobedience) and to test themselves against the ‘laws of love’ found in the NT.

If failures are found they need to be grieved over and repented of if they want their Father’s smile, but they can be at peace, confident and thankful that nothing can render his signature void from their adoption papers or that they can be unbirthed from being born again, if indeed they have been.

One example of one of the ‘laws of love’ found in the NT in several places is that of submission to the powers that be1 (that requires humility, speaking of ; - ):

An easy application of that most of us can relate to is that of obedience to driving rules and regulations – mandated use of turn signals, not tailgating, observing speed limits and the like. I’m preaching to myself here because I learned to drive in an urban area with bumper to bumper traffic as well as fast moving expressways and learned a necessary degree of aggressive driving that I do not need to use everywhere, especially now that I live in a much more rural area. (When we first moved here decades ago, peak rush hour consisted of four cars stopped at a red light. ; - )
As regulars here will concur, I also need to preach to myself about testing myself against another law of love found in the NT where I been found wanting:


1It’s another discussion, but that does not mean there is no place for civil disobedience. I’ve mentioned here before that when I was called for jury duty once and during voir dire, one attorney asked me if civil disobedience was ever permissible. I don’t remember exactly what I said (it was over three decades ago) – it might not have been “absolutely”, but it was firm enough to indicate that I would not be easily dissuaded. Whereupon I was promptly excused. :grin: I was actually a little disappointed, because it would have been interesting to serve.

I would have said that is a contradiction in terms. If it were permissible, then it wouldn’t be civil disobedience. The proper question is if I might ever think that civil disobedience was the right thing to do. To that my answer would be… probably. I can think of examples in the past where civil disobedience was the right thing to do. But you have to accept the terms which is that by civil disobedience you are seeking change the social order and it will only be permissible if you succeed. But doing what you think is right isn’t always going to be the safe thing to do, for it is only too likely that others will disagree. It is obviously the case that the social order is sometimes very wrong and it needs people to stand up against it for things to change for the better.

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I wasn’t the attorney, and that may not have been his exact phrasing. The point, however, is clear – civil disobedience can be righteous, like hiding Jews from Nazis and lying about it.

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Sorry? Nothing has intrinsic meaning, i.e. of itself, period. And my life is full of meaning. Saw the seven hundred million year old man again today. During our church leadership day. All most meaningful.

I speak for truth Mervyn.

Because somebody has to.

Perceptions of ‘the truth’ are frequently impaired, even by ‘rationality’.

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Oh I think there can be much meaning that slips by me and by extension any one individual as well. But I don’t take my own experience as the authoritative measure of what is meaningful. There can be a poem or painting or a play that just doesn’t ignite anything in me and yet they may have meaning for others. Furthermore there can be meaning which I sense in something but can’t put my finger on. Meaning can be directly apprehended before you understand the basis or are in any position to defend, explain or elaborate on.

People have two natures. Only one of them is primarily rational. In fact the other is more essential for human flourishing even though you can never reduce it to something simple enough to argue for successfully to anyone no matter their interest or receptivity. Religious meaning is in that boat. It isn’t simple enough to model with an equation or test in a lab or make a rational argument for. Now I’m not a one tradition sort of guy and I find attempts to ‘prove’ the unique adequacy of any one tradition tedious. But I don’t conclude from that they have no intrinsic meaning or value to those who say they find meaning there. But I know what it’s like to find oneself buoyed by non rational truths which resist simple explanation. Many philosophic and literary truths are in the same boat. You can only recognize such truths with sufficient familiarity with the necessary traditions and practices. Does that mean one must cultivate familiarity with all such things in order to determine which truths are most important? Of course not. Why assume there is any single gradient by which all human truths can be measured? The thing is we ourselves are the measure of what has meaning for us but it would be silly to insist that only what can be measured and verified by objective standards can even be considered. I know you have aesthetic tastes and interests so must already know this. Just because YEC presents itself as bad science doesn’t mean that anything concerned with theology or the sacred must be equally tainted. That would be a category error.

I was reading something related in Iain McGilchrist’s newest book, The Matter With Things, which I share here not because I think his name should carry special authority. Rather I just find his explanations more eloquent and I find this part at least rings true in my experience.

No-one expects me to say how I know that my understanding of Hamlet is more or less true, either. As a critic of Hamlet I state what I see: people either ‘click’ with what I say – get an insight from it – or don’t. They either feel that I (and now they) know more about Hamlet, or they don’t. This is not to give a single crumb of comfort to the ‘my view is as good as yours’ types. There are, very clearly, better and worse interpretations.

I believe philosophy is like that. With the best will in the world, on both sides, I can’t make you see what I experience as the truth. I can never convince you of a point of view unless you already, at some level, get it. As Friedrich Waismann put it,

We cannot constrain anyone who is unwilling to follow the new direction of a question; we can only extend the field of vision of the asker, loosen his prejudices, guide his gaze in a new direction: but all this can be achieved only with his consent.

The truth is not arrived at ultimately by argument alone, though discussion plays a valuable role along the way in dispelling misconceptions … : in the end every individual must choose what carries conviction, commands allegiance. The experience of understanding involves a shift from what seems initially chaotic or formless, to a coherent stable form or picture, a Gestalt – or from an existing Gestalt to a new and better one, that seems richer than the one it replaces.

Edited to draw @Kendel over to see I have begun to learn to share highlights from my Kindle and might be able to pass that on if you’re interested.

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God does not evolve and the truth about him does not change by anyone’s consent, nor can it be constrained by anyone’s dissent. It can be learned, but only with the humility of a little child wanting to learn, not childish petulance.

All theology that blames is evil. Any political economy that doesn’t comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable is evil. If any philosopher, dramatist, artist, writer, preacher can show me their part in social justice, I will follow them. Nothing else out there has any meaning. Apart from the courage of the Ukrainian people of course. The work of carers. Social workers. Aid workers. Workers. Parents. Teachers.