Welcome to BioLogos, Faith!

Meet Faith Stults, a science educator and astronomer who recently joined BioLogos as Educator Support, Program Manager for the Integrate curriculum. Welcome Faith! You can learn more about her story and journey into science in this interview.

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I find this so refreshing and hopeful. Faith is strengthening my faith in Christianity. Must be the Wright stuff!

Wright laid out a compelling vision for what the Christian hope in Jesus truly is and how we are called to live in response to it:

“The whole point of what Jesus was up to was that he was doing, close up, in the present, what he was promising long-term, in the future. And what he was promising for the future, and doing in that present, was not saving souls for a disembodied eternity but rescuing people from the corruption and decay of the way the world presently is so they could enjoy, already in the present, that renewal of creation which is God’s ultimate purposeand so they could thus become colleagues and partners in that larger work.” (Surprised by Hope, p. 192)

It felt like something clicked for me, bringing the disparate pieces of my faith back together in a new, more complete way.

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That’s a great book Mark. I read it easily and gave my copy away.

Now Wright does not shy away from writing a thoughtful section on what hell will be like, and I think he connected it to how we become like what we worship.

In saying the whole point is not, means that it’s still, and in Jesus view, a very big piece.

Edit: Correction, maybe he means the point is not, because Wright, like most all reformed theologians, understand the new creation not to be some disembodied state

I like what I’ve heard from Wright aroundnhere but of course he grounds his theorizing in lthe Bible. Wnen I read what he thinks I find I can almost always find a corollary for within my next ‘em beliefs. So that makes him more widely useful. However I don’t find any use for a concept of hell. Though I suppose, like sin, it has to do with thoughts and acts which distort or shrink ournhumanity. But if Wright basically thinks we live in a state of “instant Karma” where everything plays out now, I’d have to agree.n

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I haven’t studied Wright’s work. I know he holds some controversial positions. But honestly, what isn’t controversial these days??? I really enjoyed his book “Surprised by Scripture” but I’m not sure the subject matter would entirely thrill you. You might enjoy hearing from a less shrill theological voice for a change, though, as an antidote to so much other noise we hear these days.
Michael Horton (Reformed theologian I’ve been listening to for years) talked about Karma once, much like you describe Wright doing. His point was that without grace, it’s all karma. Now I’m interested in what Wright has to say.

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Neither have I. Thanks for the recommendation. I think I read something that was recommended and he joined a discussion I start a while back. Another good one Merv recommended is Richard Rohr.

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Wright showed up in a discussion here?! How cool.

That’s nice and all, but let’s be honest, you also don’t have any use for the God that is to be worshipped.

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“One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only back to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings.”

NT Wright, Surprised by Hope

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And further:

“These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways… they pass simultaneously not only beyond hope but also beyond pity.”

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Yes and no. While I don’t need or recognize any divine being apart from the cosmos I do recognize what I think gives rise to God belief from my recognition of the difference between what I can deduce at will and what can be received through insight and inspiration. The depths within is where we overlap with the divine. Those are gifts unlike any we could ‘just make up’.

Should we worship what bestows meaning? Well there is certainly reason for gratitude and respect but worship has has connotations which demean our own role in all this to being mere spectators. I prefer “devotion”. We should strive to be worthy by harnessing our conscious power of narrowly focused attention to its service. Our own deliberations and efforts are insufficient and so need to serve what is beyond us.

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Yes In this November 2018 discussiontopic. I believe his first post there was about the 19th one.

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I started listening to Craig Keener’s shorter book on miracles, and there was an interesting remark he makes about how certain individuals admit that if they were to witness a resurrection, it would necessarily have a natural explanation for them. So what point is in their saying there is insufficient evidence to establish the validity of miracles. I think this relates to your position, but I could be wrong.

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I just finished Surprised by Hope also (and we talk about it in today’s podcast with him!

It really changed my world, as being raised as a Southern Baptist “go to heaven when you die or experience eternal conscious torment” ilk.

“As long as we see salvation in terms of going to heaven when we die, the main work of the church is bound to be seen in terms of saving souls for that future. But when we see salvation as the New Testament sees it, in terms of Gods promised new heavens and new earth, and of our promised resurrection, to share in that new and gloriously embodied reality, what I have called life after life after death, then the main work of the church here and now demands to be rethought in consequence.” Surprised by Hope (not sure what page, was listening on audio :slight_smile: )

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Yes natural explanations would need to be ruled out before accepting as conclusive anything like the biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection. For that matter even if we were certain no known natural explanation could explain it there would still be a number of dots you’d have to connect to establish the cause was the God of the Bible. But we are only talking here of sufficient justification for claiming as fact what Christians believe on faith. I don’t imagine it is or ever will be possible to render faith unnecessary, and I don’t think that is necessary a bad thing. If certaintly isn’t a strike against Christian belief.

I think there is an important difference between not being moved to accept Christian beliefs and not finding sufficient justification to establish those beliefs as fact. Faith in any kind of belief that underlies the personal significance one experiences in life will never be the kind of thing we can deduce from rational thought. Intellect cannot be the determiner of what is sacred so why look for some way of justifying what you hold as sacred?

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Exactly.
 

He said to him, "…they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."
Luke 16:21

 
But we do have objective evidence of the Christian God intervening into our spacetime. For those with faith, those interventions strengthen and confirm faith, building confidence and resulting in the accusation of bluster from some.   ; - )

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I wonder if you think that the faith of someone like our mods who seem ready to concede their epistemic position is no better or worse than mine is any less adequate or satisfying to them than your sometimes blustery faith is for you? For that matter, how does your faith compare to the person that is convinced each leaf falling from a tree is a wink from God? How important is it for a Christian to hold their belief as absolutely certain, would it add to or subtract from their life satisfaction?

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory.”

I’m not sure if I have shared with you the “therefore know for certain” from Acts 2:36. In the passage you can see how Peter bases the argument on OT prophecy, eyewitness evidence for the resurrection (ie. historical arguments like Wright uses), and a self-evident work of the Spirit.

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Keener handles this in his book as he looks at the spectrum of what may and may not be called the exceptional work of God. He compared it to whether or not a person has long or short hair. For there is long hair and short hair, and a fuzzy boundary between the two.

I’m not ready to judge anyone’s respective faiths [(except of course those with no faith ; - )], but since knowing God in reality is possible and desirable and not just something to be studied disinterestedly and academically, that fact ought to be motivating to anyone who has even a modicum of faith, to thirst for and not be satisfied without it.
 

Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3

He who is having my commands, and is keeping them, that one it is who is loving me, and he who is loving me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14:21

 
ETA: square brackets above.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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