What is the BioLogos Epistemology?

@Swamidass

I quickly ran a COMPARATIVE assessment of this question you ask:

Evangelical YEC’s are FULL of FAITH … so strong, they oppose any scientific evidence that might invalidate the plain reading of their scriptures.

And yet you wonder what it is that fortifies the faith of those who ACCEPT science! I would think it is easy to see that people who believe in God AND accept Science are somehow a little LESS extreme in their Faith.

The better question is … what is the foundation of a faith for a person who can witness, face to face, the evidences of an ancient Cosmos … and REJECT the evidences.

Now THAT is Faith … and perhaps a little too much.

Here in lies the rub. I have a very hard time with this analysis.

As for me, I hope that Evolutionary Creation does not in any way lull me into a life with less faith. In many ways, choosing to follow Jesus in the science has required a great deal from me. In faith, I have had to risk the rejection of my church and family. In faith, I have had to risk the rejection of my scientific colleagues and friends. In faith, I have had to live a life in obedience down an often lonely path of exile. In many ways, my faith does feel very extreme.

My issue with YEC is not that they are extreme in their faith, but that their faith is misplaced. It is placed in creation science (all to often) and their idiosyncratic way of interpreting Scripture, rather than the work of God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

For me, leaving YEC and ID was a process of turning from idolatry. From putting my faith in the wrong things, not from having too much faith.

I wonder if this could be the role of BioLogos in the Church. Calling many of us back to a more complete devotion to the Risen One.

So @gbrooks9, no, I am sorry but I cannot accept that the problem is that YEC has too much faith, and that we have less. I hope this is not true of us. I’d rather say they place their faith in the wrong things, and we find confidence by placing in the right thing. In this right thing, we cannot have too much faith.

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I am willing to walk back from that suggestion … but I’m having a difficult time putting into words what exactly is the flaw in the YEC mindset. I’m sure I’m in very good company …

What do we call someone who joins a cult and assumes unwavering devotion to the SPECIFIC beliefs of that cult? Is it TOO MUCH faith? Too little faith? Incorrect faith?

Whatever it is, @Swamidass, it seems that Christian supporters of evolutionary science seem to have LESS troubles…

Perhaps YEC’s have FAITH too detached from the real world?

I keep running it through my mind …

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How is this for an attempt:

With some very important exceptions in the YEC and ID communities (e.g. see below), anti-evolutionism functions like a “false gospel” . Something that we look to for confidence, community, witness, and devotion. The problem is that this is a role that only Jesus is meant to fill.

I think the problem with AiG type YECs is that they put their trust and their faith in the wrong place. In a false gospel, instead of God’s work in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.


I want to be clear here that I do not think this applies to all in the YEC community. In particular I have a great respect for Todd C. Woods. I very much encourage everyone to read these two posts from him, and consider their source.

Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn’t make it ultimately true, and it doesn’t mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God’s creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don’t be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don’t idolize your own ability to reason.
http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/09/truth-about-evolution.html

I greatly fear that our faith in Christ has been replaced with an idolatry of apologetics. I fear we’ve stopped believing in Christ and started believing in arguments about Christ (or the Bible or creation or what have you). I fear we’ve bowed to the world’s demand that we believe only that which is rational. We’re certainly no longer content with merely saying “I don’t know.” We have to have answers, and endless (and often pointless) argument has become our substitute for simply telling unbelievers what Christ has done for us.
http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/11/nature-of-idolatry.html

If every YEC proponent was like Woods, I do not think YEC would be so hard to peg. In fact, I feel no desire to change Wood’s position on origins. Through Jesus, we are the same family, even if we disagree about origins. I think his dissent from evolution is dignified. I see no reason to criticize him.

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A great insight, in my view, Joshua. In the UK I have had excellent dialogue, and much agreement, with a YEC who is one of the most complete thinkers on faith-science integration I know, with a PhD in evolutionary biology to boot. In the big scheme of things, scientific views on origins ought to be pretty peripheral for a Christian, the bigger issue being how God relates to his Creation, however formed. And as GJDS has rightly said on another thread, that cannot be gleaned from science, and so science should not be allowed to dictate theology.

When one looks at things that way, I find the lines get seriously redrawn. You get Semideists leading opinion in EC, barely-theistic personalists manning the ramparts in ID, and Fundamentalists unconsciously arguing for Cartesian Dualism in YEC… The results are (a) one finds common cause with people in YEC, OEC, ID, EC and anything I’ve missed out (b) one finds oneself at complete odds with other people in all the same categories and © one will be unable to commit fully to any of them, and be viewed with suspicion by them all for “consorting with the enemy”.

As a small example, my blog has been recommended by staff on Uncommon Descent (but not by BioLogos, though it’s basically TE and all the writers came from here!), but I’ll be viewed with suspicion as a TE if I post on UC. Meanwhile here, I’ll be accused of being an IDist, or even sometimes an ID-Creationist (and/or a Fundamentalist and/or as a Calvinist [!] or occasionally as a white male!).

All that distracts from what I see as the core task - not to do apologetics for evolution, whether defined as common descent, natural selection, neutral theory or Lamarckism (he did common descent well before Darwin of course, though with spontaneous generation thrown in to give it some scientific accountability), but to show how scientific accounts sit naturally (and within due limits) in a mature Christian worldview.

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The difference, perhaps, is whether one thinks natural causes are an efficient explanation for biological evolution.

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@Swamidass
@gbrooks9

In a nutshell I would say that Evolutionary Creationists believe in John 1:1-4 while YEC do not.

Jesus Christ is the Logos of God.

Let’s not bear false witness about our brothers and sisters in Christ, Roger. I would challenge you to find any YECs who deny John 1:1-4.

Perhaps what you should have said is that you must hold your understanding of said passage as being somehow distinct from what you perceive theirs might be.

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Of course YEC do not literally deny John 1:1-4, but

They concentrate on the OT story of Creation in Genesis and ignore the NT story of Creation as if if did not exist.

John 1:1-4 clearly places Jesus Christ the Word of God over the Bible as the word of God. YEC in my experience with them confuse the two and call the Bible the Word of God.

John 1:1-4 makes Jesus the Logos, the Rational Word of God, while YEC treats the Bible as Mythos, the Absolute Word of God.

When Jesus challenged the meaning of the Sabbath as understood by the Pharisees, He challenged the meaning of the Genesis story. How can one uphold the literal meaning of Genesis when Jesus rejected it?

By upholding an ancient OT reading of Gen 1 YEC denies the NT understanding of the Creation as indicated in John 1:1-4.

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@Relates,

I like this point very much! That’s the first time I’ve seen that point made.

This article by Phil Johnson is probably relevant to the conversation.

http://www.ldolphin.org/ntcreation.html

These are valid areas of disagreement – and I do agree with you that Jesus (and John’s prologue description of him) are preeminent in the understanding of Genesis (and everything else). But this does not warrant the blunt claim that YECs don’t believe this or that passage. They may have understandings that are inconsistent among various passages (according to you and me), just as we are going to have our own inconsistencies, but they will probably not accept your charge that their understandings on these two particular passages are inconsistent, much less that they have rejected either one.

This seems to be an example of illegitimate totality transfer, where someone claims that all the senses of a given word are subsumed in one usage. Logos has various senses and is used hundreds of times in the Septuagint to refer to God’s message revealed by prophets, God’s law, or God’s revealed truth. YECs aren’t making something up out of nothing when they describe Scripture as the word of God. That is how Scripture describes the Law and the Prophets and it is a term used throughout the New Testament to refer to God’s revealed message or truth. It is accurate and correct to refer to Scripture as the word of God. Jesus himself did in John 17:17 and Paul did in Colossians 1:25, and the author of Hebrews did in 4:12. Those verses are clearly not referring to Jesus, but to God’s revelation in Scripture and the apostle’s teaching. Logos as the second person of the Trinity is a title and represents a different sense of the word, but it doesn’t cancel out or overrule or swallow up the other senses.

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@Swamidass

Bro. Johnson appears to sustain the false dualism of the Natural and Supernatural which is not solved by monism.

@Christy

I did not say that the Bible was not the word of God. English translations including KJV capitalize Word in John 1:1 to indicate that this is the divine Word(Logos) or Jesus Christ as made clear in the text. When YECs capitalize the Word of God referring to the Bible, they are clearly saying that the Bible is equal to Jesus Christ. This is also the conclusion that I have come to after dialoging with them on this issue.

I said that YEC, with Jack Ham as a prime example, say that the Bible is the Word of God, meaning that the words of the Bible, narrowly defined and taken out of context, are the ultimate Authority for all faith and practice. It also places the New and Old Testament on the same equal plane.

This is the opposite of what John 1:1- 4 says.

That is quite a theological extrapolation from a punctuation choice. I think you are wrong.

Jack Ham?

Sorry, but John 1:1-4 doesn’t have anything to do with a misguided approach to Scripture. You can fully affirm that Jesus is the Word incarnate and still have a misguided approach to Scripture. You can have a misguided approach to Scripture no matter what your capitalization conventions when it come to the Word/word of God. This just seems like a gross over-simplification and misrepresentation of what is actually a complex intersection of church culture, tradition, language, and theology.

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@Christy

No doubt this problem has complex sources which we do need to discuss rather than sweep under the table.

However misuse of the powerful phrase of “the Word of God” plays an important role in understanding why YEC has a powerful attraction to conservative Christians.

This is certainly true, but I do not think this is usually a well-formed theological notion based on careful interpretation of John 1:1 or any other passage. Often feels like an effective populist rallying cry.

@Swamidass

Without a doubt you are right.

The point that I would like to make is that as faithful Christians, we need to point out that this is not the Christian or the Biblical way to make decisions.

[quote=“gbrooks9, post:21, topic:5224”]
What do we call someone who joins a cult and assumes unwavering devotion to the SPECIFIC beliefs of that cult? Is it TOO MUCH faith? Too little faith? Incorrect faith?[/quote]
The former. I agree with Swamidass, but will go further and hypothesize that the emphasis on apologetics and specifics is a product of too little faith. It is a form of idolatry.

I agree.

[quote]Perhaps YEC’s have FAITH too detached from the real world?
[/quote] Or just less real, or at least less relevant, faith?

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