Theistic Evolution and Miracles


#63

You missed the implied “and”. Were taught by Jesus AND performed signs and wonders. We also have it recorded that there were disciples that were taught by Jesus and performed healings, but left nothing that would be considered inspired writings. That we know about.


(Wookin Panub) #64

No, I didn’t miss it. Judas Iscariot was one


#65

What recorded miracle did Judas perform?


(Robin) #66

I think Shawn is referring somewhat to --maybe??-- the pericope in Genesis 6 where the sons of God had relations with human females-- or so it seems to read. But somehow he seems to have more than this in mind here and certainly a source outside of the biblical text…The firstborn of Egypt were just that, the first child of a man and a woman – but they were killed as part of God’s judgment of Pharoah at a certain point in time…


(Wookin Panub) #67

(Mark 6:7) “And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.”


(Wookin Panub) #68

(Matthew 10) 10 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


(James McKay) #70

A dome is the plain, literal meaning of raqia in Genesis 1:6. Get your facts straight man.

If the Bible does not say that the earth has a dome, then Genesis 1:6 is figurative, not literal. If Genesis 1:6 is figurative, not literal, but the days of Genesis 1 are literal, not figurative, then your approach to Genesis 1 is inconsistent. Period.

Describing the OEC position as “questioning an entire book” is a total exaggeration, distortion, asnd misrepresentation of the OEC position.


(Wookin Panub) #73

OEC have told me that they didn’t believe that Adam and Eve were real, that the exodus never happened, the flood etc… I am not distorting anything

And I’ve heard this point made by Christians, not just atheists.

I have an NASB and an ESV. I said nothing of making the point. I said, Atheists use that argument that you made to discredit the bible.


(James McKay) #75

Most OECs do not take that position, Wookin. Many OECs do believe in the Flood and the Exodus.

There’s a difference between “didn’t affect the dinosaurs” and “never happened.”

I’m not arguing against the Bible. I am pointing out that your approach to it is inconsistent.


#77

So Judas has authority and yet there is no record that he used that authority.

Bonus question: For which apostles do we have a record of actually performing raising the dead, healing or casting out demons?

I get 5 of the original 12, Stephen and Paul.


(Christy Hemphill) #78

@Wookin_Panub Please stay on topic. This thread is to discuss miracles and evolutionary creationism. Since you aren’t even an evolutionary creationist, it doesn’t really matter what you think about them.

This thread is not the place to argue about every disagreement you have with EC hermeneutics. You have successfully derailed two other threads this week. We are just going to start deleting your off-topic posts. If you don’t have a real question about EC views, then don’t post. If you have a real question you would like to actually discuss, not just spout off one liners, then start your own thread. We know what you think. We know you disagree. You don’t get a platform here to voice that disagreement ad nauseum. That would be counter to our purposes. If it becomes too much of a pain to monitor your posts, we’ll just silence your account for a while.


(Wookin Panub) #80

It’s people responding to me. I am only responding in kind. If I left the topic, then for that. I apologize


(Lars Gunther) #82

I see no problem in affirming biblical or present day miracles while saying that God also used evolution to bring about biological diversity and even humans. I think the whole discussion is unnecessary.

In the Church where I am a pastor, Hestra in Sweden, we had a conference a few months ago. The theme was “embracing miracles and science, at the same time”. My friend Micael Grenholm has for the last year worked on a book (in Swedish), in which he details 50 healings that are corroborated by hospital journals or similar documentation. He also analyzes common philosophical objections and gives solid counterarguments, including dismantling David Hume and explaining why this is not “God of the gaps”. His topic for the conference was “You can believe in miracles if you love science”. Micaels book is fresh off the press, only in Swedish, though.

For good documentation in English about healing and miracles today, see the following:

I talked about science, worldview and God as both immanent - at work in the regular flow of the world - and transcendent, not being limited by His creation. I thoroughly repudiate theologies that limit the possibilities of God to act in His creation, at the same time I tried to give really good arguments from science why evolution is real and thorough exegesis explaining why that does not contradict the inspired scriptures.

Modern historical critical scholarship repudiates the 19th century view that the miracles of Jesus are later legends. It also clearly says that the New testament teaches that the healing ministry was supposed to continue, although individual believers are not depicted as being 100 % successful. For more on this, see the exegetical chapters in the book Jesus as Healer, A Gospel for the Body by Jan-Olav Henriksen and Karl Olov Sandnes.

Modern historical research also indicate that there were no Christians that taught hard cessationism in the first couple of hundred years, although some, like Chrysostom lamented the lack spiritual power in his day. For the first 200 years there are lots and lots of evidence for the continuation of the gift of prophecy, often described as having knowledge about hidden things or the future, and not only as “uplifting exhortations”, for the gift of healing and for exorcisms. The secular historian Ramsay McMullen goes so far as to say that the perceived miracles of the church were the foremost means of evangelism up until Constantine. (See his book Christianizing the Roman Empire.

Thus, if I want a scientifically informed view of what the Christian faith and the Christian life means, I should accept the realities of miracles, because that is what historical science tells us has been the original view of Jesus himself and the dominant position of the early Church as well as through the ages.

Scientific method applied to what regularly occurs in the world is perfectly possible, while maintaining the idea that God or created spiritual agents have the ability to interact with the physical creation. One should note here that miracles have not been defined by theologians as “breaking” the laws of nature, but as going beyond the laws. If I have a pen in my hand, it does not drop to the ground. But that is not a violation of the law of gravity. The law is still there, but another force makes the outcome different. This was the view of Thomas Aquinas. He defined “supra naturalis” as going “above” (supra) nature, not “contra” (against) nature. For an informed and non simplistic view about the supernatural, see Thinking in Tongues by James K. A. Smith.

So why could not God create the earth and living beings ex nihilo? That is the wrong question. It is not whether God could, but if God did. The context of miracles in the Bible is not God intervening because the created order is intrinsically deficient, but God acting as a warrior God defeating demonic forces. Every single plague over Egypt is God defeating an Egyptian demonic idol. The parting of the red sea is God defeating Rahab. And while a healing of Jesus is not the exact same thing as deliverance from evil spirits, sickness is just as much a sign of the kingdom of darkness and healing is bringing the Kingdom of God, signaling the presence of the future.

Book recommendation: God at War by Greg Boyd.

The Bible also depicts miracles as something God almost every single time brings about in some kind of cooperation with humans. Moses proclaimed the plagues and stretched out his hand when the red sea was parted. Indeed miracles are called signs because they mean something to humans witnessing them.

Miracles are not supposed to be uncommon in the life of the church. Even a faltering church, like the one in Galatia is presumed by Paul to have on ongoing experience of miracles (Gal 3:5). For exegesis see God’s Empowering Presence by Gordon Fee.

Indeed, healing is also today the most common eye-opener for the gospel. In the majority world, where Christianity is growing, the most common way of becoming a Christian is experiencing or witnessing the healing of a family member. (These usually occur far away from the arenas where flashy preachers give charismatics a bad name.)

But while not being an uncommon occurrence in the communal life of believers, especially in evangelism, miracles are uncommon as to how God acts in the world. Every single second God upholds the created order, gives life and breath to all, helps the lion find its prey. Even if I was to witness a hundred miracles today, every single one of them would be something that goes beyond the way in which God usually works.

Believing in miracles ought not be “deism+”, .i.e. the view that God is not present or active in the regular flow of creation, while sometimes intervening supernaturally. Some pentecostal-charismatic Christians (way too many) shares this assumption with creationists and the ID-community: If it’s not supernatural. it’s not God. This assumption is also shared by atheists like Richard Dawkins, when he says that a God that creates through natural processes is “lazy” and redundant. That is “deism+”, not biblical theism.

All these things considered, it is a regular and abundantly common occurrence for cells to split (mitosis and meiosis, etc). It may be a fantastic, and finely tuned process, but it is not a “powerful act” (Greek: dynameis), a wonder (Greek: tera) or a sign (Greek: semeion), as those words are used in the Bible (Acts 2:22; 2 Cor 12:12; Heb 2:4). And believing that God created DNA in such a way as to make such cell splits unproductive for modifying or generating new features (phenotype) is needless, and not expected when looking at the biblical setting for miracles. Indeed that God could not have chosen to have RNA and DNA originally appear through some for us still unknown God sustained natural process is for the very same reason neither to be required or expected.

Thus (finally) believing in miracles while affirming evolution as the way in which God makes new species appear is a consistent theological position. One that is shared by unknown advocates for the miraculous like myself and Micael Grenholm and well known like Craig Keener and James K. A. Smith.


#83

If all the ways God works is categorized according to three degrees of physical plausibility: 1. the impossible, 2. the improbable, 3. the normal, I think EC is merely re-categorizing the natural works of God based on the evidence we see. I’m sure God won’t mind.

If we can explain how something happened, then it is 2 or 3. Miracles by definition are in the impossible/improbable category. We are barely able to explain the observable in our universe, so I think there’s a lot of room for how miracles can materialize. I feel God’s transcendence of time is adequate to do all.


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