Place Your Bets: The probability of life evolving on even one planet in the whole universe is “less than 1 chance in 10172 (100 thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion)

Guest post by theologian Dr Robert Knowles.

Is there any proof of/against evolution? Is it possible for evolution to exist without contradicting the Bible?  i.e. Could it be that God designed us differently at the moment of creation but that he has gradually changed things, or does the Bible suggest otherwise?

As I understand the theory of evolution as it has developed “post-Darwin”, then we cannot simply accept it as its stands. What I believe we can accept is a notion of a “divinely directed creation process” that looks like “Darwinian evolution” when viewed through naturalistic spectacles.

As I understand it, the traditional evolutionary theory demands that “time and chance” causes genetic mutations to be occasionally positive, and that “natural selection” then favours positive mutations since these are better suited to the environment. All this happens “post-DNA” formation. Prior to DNA formation, certain chemical ingredients supposedly came together by “time and chance” again, and gradually DNA molecules, and ultimately cells, form.

Continue reading “Place Your Bets: The probability of life evolving on even one planet in the whole universe is “less than 1 chance in 10172 (100 thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion)”

BONUS: The Dragon EXPOSED in The System

The previous four posts have attempted to articulate the what and how of the principalities and powers – those often unseen but felt realities that play out behind the things and events and experiences of human history – and I have enjoyed the chattering behind the scenes with those from all over the world who have been engaged and written in. The insights and dialogue have been amazing.

It is a happy day when a tuned in member of the pop-culture world can articulate what is so complicated to say in polite society. Having said that, the video by Tom MacDonald is very powerful as are the lyrics, but even at this point it must be pointed out that MacDonald is an outsider to the music and entertainment establishment. And yet, he has stuck it to the Man by becoming a massive star in his own right, and on his own terms. Like Bob Dylan in the ’60’s, he is becoming a poet of his generation, writing what is called the poetry of our age, and Oh! BTW – all the Old Testament Prophets were poets…. and were rejected to their great cost and the cost of those to whom they spoke, therefore: LISTEN TO THE POETS.

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The Dragon

My daughter has a story book about a boy who wakes up one day and sees a little baby dragon in his room. It’s all rather harmless and when he tells his mother about it, she tells him to stop making stuff up and get dressed and come down for breakfast, using her repeated phrase, and the title of the book, “There’s no such thing as a dragon!”

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An antidote to a virtue of compliance

Here is an article from The Baptist Times by Baptist pastor Ian Stackhouse:

I confess that I have been quite vociferous in my disdain for the government’s persistent use of lockdown as a way of dealing with covid. In my opinion, the ‘collateral damage’ will be significantly greater than anything arising from the virus. I also have serious concerns about the restrictions on worship that we have endured this past year, as well as restrictions on civil liberties in general.

In stating these concerns, I have been accused of various things: recklessness, paranoia, and lack of compassion. But strangely enough the one that has irritated me the most is the charge that I am stuck in the past, unable to realise the enormous opportunities brought about by this crisis. Indeed, someone made a comment to me other day that my desire to regather Millmead in our new sanctuary might yet prove my Achilles heel, simply because the gathering of large congregations in one place is now regarded by cutting edge missiologists as something of an old wineskin.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer in particular exacerbates these longings…

Eric Metaxas on his ten year anniversary edition of ‘Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy‘:

Bonhoeffer’s story remains so moving to me that I feel deeply humbled God allowed me the privilege of bringing it to so many readers over the years. His extraordinary life cannot help but inspire anyone who becomes familiar with it. I know because it’s changed me dramatically, and everywhere I’ve gone people who have read the book have told me the same. That’s what the lives of saints do. They reverberate through the years, shining truth and light into the future.

The first couple of chapters:

Pages: 1 2

Bring Them Home

 

From the Description:

About a year ago I gave a workshop at the European Leadership Forum (ELF) on what I believed were the factors behind the emergence of Islam in the 7th century, employing only historical critical analysis to do so. That workshop was uploaded onto the ELF YouTube site (FOCL) just 2 months ago, and already over 116,000 people have viewed it, pushing it up to the 5th most viewed video on the FOCL channel.

Why would so many people watch a 2.5 hour lecture on such a boring historical subject, unless they found it important, or controversial…most probably it is the latter. The ELF is about to convene once again this week, so I thought it appropriate to upload that workshop on to my Pfanderfilms site as well, not only because it has proven to be so popular, but because this is the very subject we are discussing here on this site.

So, I asked permission to do so from FOCL, and they willingly agreed. This then is the 2.5 hour video concerning what I believe happened in the 7th century which created what we now know today as Islam. It is a long video, so go get some coffee, then sit back and put your feet up, and see if what I say in this workshop matches what you already know transpired historically in that part of the world, and at that time.

When you have finished, I would be interested to know whether you likewise agree or not.

© Pfander Centre for Apologetics – US, 2020 (28,170) [Music: “small adventure”, by Rafael Krux, from filmmusic-io – License CC BY]

Interview with John Colwell and Holy Communion

Here is another fabulous chat by Jeff and Jon, this time with former Spurgeon’s tutor Rev’d Dr John Colwell.

 

I met Dr Colwell when he taught on one of my Masters modules in 2009/10 at Bristol Baptist College (Where Helen Paynter has now been appointed – see her interview on one of her areas of great expertise: Violence and the Bible).  At the time he taught Systematic and Historical Theology for over 20 years.

Rev’d Dr John Colwell is a wonderful man, and I was so privileged to have him as a mentor for several years during my early pastoral ministry.  These days I meet with him in a theology symposium group which is wonderful, and occasionally, for lunch where I can pick his mighty brain on a whole range of issues.  I always find it helpful to make the first half dozen questions a mixture between Thomas Aquinas and the nature of God (mental note: It’s John’s shout next time)!!

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Storm Centres of History: Cairo

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to Cairo, Egypt.

Each place I’ve chosen will be a place I have been to, either as a tourist or a missionary.

Each place is self-evidently interesting for the paradigm-shifting upheaval, the change and new course for humanity that they set.

All of them speak about the great themes of our existence:  justice, truth, freedom, good and evil, etc. and the enduring ability of human beings, bearing the image of God, to experience and endure great trials.

I was a missionary living in Cairo between 2005-07.  I learnt a little Arabic, and slowly grew into the strange new world of Egyptian culture.

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Storm Centres of History: Geneva & Reformation

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to Geneva.

Geneva is a beautiful city.  I don’t know if that was the case half a millennia ago, but back in the mid-16th century, it was a religious storm-centre that changed Europe and the world forever.

John Calvin (1509-64) was a shy, French intellectual; a 2nd generation Protestant Reformer. He was a lamb who would become a lion. 

This was about reforming what was deformed in Church and cultural life.

Calvin (the lamb) himself wanted to retire to a life of private study and theological writing.  He set out for Strasbourg but a French War diverted him to Geneva.

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Theology Question: #5 ‘Why do Christians talk about being servants when it doesn’t seem very inspiring to do so?’

To my mind there is no way to conceive of God in a Christian sense without conceiving of ourselves as servants. ‘Even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

 

Since Kant, ‘individuals’ want ‘autonomy’, self-lordship. Since Nietzsche, we want this in a secular, humanistic sense. With the collapse of the biblical over-arching metanarrative, the modernist has to invent for themselves their own identities and eschatologies. This is exhausting, leading to nihilism – an absence of traditions and criteria upon which to build a concept of self or one’s purpose or telos, generating a sense of emptiness or option paralysis. Corporate self-interested bodies are more than happy to supply the needed content – product consumer-driven fashion-based notions of well-being and identity, herding people into homogenized norms of consumption upon which they then define themselves. Seeing this as freedom, people are really often slaves to multinationals and other powerful corporate bodies, and are perpetually weary and busy therein following the blue-prints of socially constructed virtual realities determined by peer-group pressure and media conditioning. Films like ‘The Joneses’ make this point well.

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