I wanted to call attention to a few of these, as Dr. Colling’s response to elements of my posts on his book is very important. He also makes some substantial points in his comments.
I’m going to quote and link to two of these so that they are not missed.
Chapter 14 almost did not make the cut for the book. One of my closest friends had read the manuscript just before it went to press. He had terminal cancer. When I suggested that I might take that chapter out, he was adamant that it needed to be included. He could see that his life was soon to end, but he was supremely confident that his life would never end. Only the physical was terminal in his mind. The spiritual had no end. One of his favorite sayings to me during those last months of his life was, All healing is temporary.
If I think about this, it is so obvious, but also deep. We sometimes place God before the litmus tests of our experimental designs, saying that if we experience some apparently inexplicable healing or recovery from physical disease, it is God. Well, my friend knew that God does not thrive or even appreciate that kind of notariety. All of us are physical beings, and mortality is common to us all. It is hard for me to believe that God cares a great deal about whether I live to be 60 or 80, but it is easy for me to understand that he cares how I relate to him and to others. In the Bible, Jesus repeatedly cautioned his followers about emphasizing physical health over spiritual.
Are miracles real? My answer is a resounding Yes.
But in the sense that every biochemical process that has been ordained within us, including the innate healing processes are miracles. Can these be tapped by spiritual means? I have not seen it conclusively demonstrated, but I know others who are very convinced, and I accept that reality as a possibility.
That is faith, I guess.
Glad you are finding value in the book.
Source: Comment 99252.
Hello Henry, and all.
The answers to the questions posed in your discussions are, in my opinion, not to be easily had from science. They become matters of faith. I understand very well your thinking Henry, that the creation of intelligent human life may not have been so directly directed as we typically understand the word directed. It may be as you describe. The multiverse theory suggests something similar that there are even multiple universes, and that within some of these, life can develop and evolve to reach similar point perhaps as we. But alas, the stretches of time and space preclude us from ever knowing such things for sure. So here we are, trapped in a sense, in our teeny tiny corner of one of hundreds of billions of solar systems existing within hundreds of billions of galaxies and knowing that we can never learn the answer for certain. All we can do it seems is consider what we do know from science (the physical world) and make the best resonance with our faith.
I recognize that some of the extrapolations tread on what some consider to be sacred ground. but my thinking is that perhaps we have some things wrong in our classic Christian/religious foundations.
One of you suggest that physical death/suffering does not enter the world before a human beings sin. But adopting such a rigid explanation of the Bibilical text creates all kinds of problems. Not for science, but the the credibility of the Biblical text. For thousands of years, theologians did something similar when they suggested that the world was flat and that the earth was the center of all existence. But when science demonstrated that that was simply untrue, religion changed their interpretation of scripture. (But not without some weeping and gnashing of teeth.) Perhaps we are at a similar point now. The conflicts between religion and physical sciences has been fairly well resolved post galileo, but the showdown battle between religion and biological sciences appears to be only now coming to a head, at least here in the US. It is not a significant problem in most other areas of the world.
So back to the fall (first sin.) If we look at the data, mankind has been around roughly between 60,000 years to 150,000 years. But the earths record is quite clear that death, suffering, and massive destructive forces have been ongoing hundreds of millions of years prior to that time.
How is this information reconciled with the classic interpretation of the fall as being the source of death and suffering. Clearly, these things do not arise for the first time when Adam and Eve ate an apple.
Also, if the classic interpretation is accepted that physical death and suffering enter at this time, and that Christs death reverses this physical phenomenon, then why did death and suffering not immediately cease when his sacrifice was completed?
It seems to me that we must be consistent, and careful in our interpretation of scripture. I think it was Charles Hodge who said that to continue to interpret scripture in ways clearly inconsistent with nature is a sure killer for the credibility of the faith.
Especially if there is a different (and in this case, I believe a better) interpretation. Just as Jesus taught, mankind has a tendency to experience and describe our existence in terms of physical, but he suggests over and over to focus on the spiritual. So, when the first man sins, this is spiritual death. When Christ dies, that sacrifice models Gods way, exposing physical death in a puny perspective when stood next to spiritual death. In other words, Christs death was not about the physical dying at all as much as it was perhaps about the willingness to give up oneself for another, or in his case for all! Wasnt it his words? No greater love has a man than that he give up his life for a another.?
So this humble scientist wonders if we are missing the bigger message of Christianity when we build the foundations of the Christian faith around physical interpretations that cannot possible be true.
On another note, Henry. Yes, I am an unapologetic Christian, but these days, that descriptor often seems to connote something that I do not like, so I am more recently calling myself a Christ follower. A follower is not wed to preexisting interpretations or creeds, but is a traveler attempting as best as he/she can to listen, learn, love and explore the best and the deepest that life has to offer. When Jesus was asked what one must do to inherit eternal life, he responded, Love the lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, (and then that troubling little addendum) and your neighbor as yourself. He said, do this and you will be saved.
So I am trying to do the best I can to model and follow the example he has given, and try to offer hope to others that literal or classic interpretations are not necessarily directly from the hand of God. they are but teachings and sometimes poorly understood understandings of man.
Thanks for your interest. I tried hard in Random Designer to make it clear that I am a believer, but also that non-believers need not check their intellect at the door of the church to consider the possibilities for faith and belief.
Source: Comment 99253.
Please go to the original posts for context.