Side Comments on Ann Gauger's Response to Themelios Review

No sign will come to you except for the sign of the Prophet of Jonah… for as he was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the belly of the earth. Matthew 12:40

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This is so stressful… did I win the toaster oven or not!!!

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If you look at those passages, especially the last one, it seems clear that Jesus does point to evidence for the Ressurection, and this has higher importance than any other evidence. The evidence in nature is fundamentally different. Jesus emphasises that the evidence of the sign of Jonah is greater than the evidence that the Queen of Sheba and Ninevah could see. He is greater.

We have more clarity because of the Ressurection than they could ever have had. It is important because Jesus was not an evidentialist precisely. He was a limited evidentialist, pointing skeptics to only to evidence for this singular event.

Of note this is the same evidence to which Peter points at Penecost, Paul points on Mars Hill, and the same Gospel he received and passed on to us in 1 Cor 15. The only evidence for skeptics is the evidence of the Ressurection, the Gospel message.

With this in mind, I am unwilling to add to the evidence of the Gospel. My arguments from creation do not compare with Gods work to reveal himself. The effort to work out signs in nature is, at least for me, a rebellious idolatry from Jesus’s confident example, offering just one sign to skeptics.

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A theological conversation! My speculation is that he pointed skeptics only to this one sign because:

a) It was the only thing that mattered, and,
b) As I said with 14:10-11, when you are confused about who I am, see what I do (the resurrection being the ultimate sign.)

This is the same reason why I reacted so strongly over the simple evolution of the eyeball conversation. Once you show you can raise yourself from the dead, an impromptu banquet for 5000 is nothing. If you begin with the resurrection, everything falls into place. In the conversations here, similarly, it no longer matters if the drug resistance of malaria cycles every ten years. What matters is whether or not a trilobite eyeball can evolve on its own. At that point malarial drug resistance is a no brainer. As you said, you will explain the evidence for such on a later post.

I respect your opinion in this regard, but mine differs. I think that there are passive signs and there are active signs. The active sign, clearly, is the one that you mentioned. However, Jesus passively also initiated other signs that developed over time. The behavior of the apostles is my personal favorite, because it is what was convincing to me. It was Jesus who warned Simon Peter that he would deny him three times, only to have it take place the same day (or next morning). Luke records that Jesus looked straight at him when this occurred and Peter wept bitterly. Jesus, after the resurrection, met with Peter and three times asked if Peter loved him, and responded to him, “Feed my sheep.” The zeal with which these friends of Jesus lived and died in the aftermath of the resurrection vs. how they lived prior is undeniably significant in my mind. I would also include the transformation of Paul in that same category of significance.

I agree with you that arguments from creation as evidence of the Gospel (assuming we mean the same thing here, the Good News that Jesus has arisen from the dead) are not as significant as the sign you mention and the ones I mentioned too. That said, I don’t see that arguments from creation as evidence for the existence of God are a bad thing.

I’m guessing I don’t get the toaster oven, though.

8 posts were split to a new topic: Did Romans Use Nails in Crucifixion?

It works both ways…
There are well defined mathematical models only for a very small part of what we understand about evolution.
No one has modelled things like how natural selection works in the evolution. So I I guess I can see most of the application of NS as intuition and not science.

I figured you were thinking of this. That’s why I asked you about the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. When the rich man said that his brothers would believe if Lazarus was sent to talk to them. What reply did he get… and what do we learn from it?

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@Ashwin_s

Are you sure about that? Natural Selection is quite easy to demonstrate. Why would it be hard to model?

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As far as I understand, you need to be able to clearly define the “fitness environment”. This can be done in limited circumstances.
And every model is an approximation involving corrective factors which are questionable.

@Ashwin_s

If the metric you are creating is #FE…then it is quantified by calculating “Net Offspring ÷ Time Elapsed”.

I don’t understand what you are troubled by…

Can you do that calculation for things that are supposed to have happened when the eye evolved? Or photosynthesis happened?

I am troubled by making claims without clear evidence. FE cannot be quantified for the majority of the cases where NS is proposed as a cause for change in a particular direction.

Have you thought about actually studying at the literature yourself? So many of the questions you are asking are answered with google searches and careful reading.

To some extent I have and continue to do this.
As far as I know… you can’t calculate fitness for evolution of the eye or photosynthesis as net off spring÷time.

@Ashwin_s

I didnt realuze you wanted to quantify natural selection retroactively.

What would such retroactibe analysis prove to you?

It would prove that it happened. There is a this huge chasm between what NS has been observed do now… and what is claimed it can do.
To me , its an extra ordinary claim without even ordinary evidence.

@Ashwin_s,

I would agree but you have no explanation that fits all the evidence better.

Sure… however ,that is not an excuse for presenting this as a just so or fait accompli story to the public. Be humble enough to say this is the best explanation science has and there isn’t sufficient evidence to be certain it happened this way.
You will cut off all ID type protests if you do this… Why is this so hard for scientists to do?

@Ashwin_s none of us here make the rules in science. Scientists do not answer to us. You face a cross roads. Helplessly complain about things you can’t change, or find a way around it to make your point. I’m taking the second path.

I don’t see the complaining as “helpless”.
Anyway, my purpose was to help in reducing the debates around here by finding language that people can converse in.
End of the day, people do not answer to scientist for their beliefs either. How many Christians do you think dismiss scientific findings on evolution as biased or exaggerations? If Scientists are not willing to come off the pedestal, they are not going to be able to contribute to things like theology.
i understand where you are coming from. Your approach will help you in talking to other scientists… I dont talk much to scientists.

No, no. The Pharisees already believed in God. What they wanted from Jesus was that he was the promised Messiah. You can’t equate his refusal to indulge their unbelief with a teaching that natural theology has no validity.

And again, there is for some reason always a tendency to confuse the proposition “nature intrinsically points to God” with “nature is proof of God for a convinced skeptic.” And one reason for that is that a “convinced skeptic” is always susceptible to grace.

Paul on two recorded occasions began his preaching to pagans by pointing out God’s bountiful provision for them: and there wilkl always be some who, never having thought that way before, suddenly connect to the truth that the world is like this.

C S Lewis came to believe in God through beginning to see that “joy” points to God. It doesn’t prove God, and no doubt all manner of atheists have dissed Surprised by Joy saying that you can have joy and not believe in God. Yet others have been challenged by it to look at joy afresh and realise that it is, indeed, a true pointer to God, and thereby to believe in him and become open, like Lewis, to the gospel.

In one of Pastor Wurmbrandt’s, or Broether Andrew’s books - I forget which - a Soviet surgeon began to tell himself that even if God had only designed this wonderful human hand with which he worked, he would be worthy of worship. It was intimate scientific knowledge of the hand that given grace led him to the truth of design (and ultimately to Christ).

Of course science cannot make the leap from nature to God, because it cannot deal in understanding, which is individual and human, and it cannot deal with grace, which is individual and divine. But scientists can, and will, either make the leap to Epicurean chance or to God because they are humans first, and scientists second.

It’s still the case that until the late nineteenth century, the followers of the Epicurean option were a tiny minority in the world following an outmoded philosophy.

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