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Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology”

Image result for god suffers alongside us

Job suffers and mourns alongside Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  Does God suffer alongside us as well?

 

We will go over Chapter 3: “Strategies in Evolutionary Theology” in Christopher Southgate’s book The Groaning of Creation.

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Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 “Roads Not Taken” – Part 2

Image result for jesus as perfect man

 

Some interesting conversations today as we finished Chapter 2 of The Groaning of Creation as we discussed whether or not Genesis advocates vegetarianism, whether Jesus was the apex of human evolution or humanity itself, and if the doctrine of the Fall is a necessary and viable concept given the discoveries of science.

Here are our essays.

 

 

Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 – Part II

 

Woodcut, God, Adam and Eve, snake, devil, Fall of Mankind, Genesis 3, 3, creation of the world, Old Testament, Catholic Picture-Bible

“God, Adam and Eve”, Woodcut, Catholic Picture-Bible

 

This week, we will finish up Chapter 2: “Roads Not Taken” of The Groaning of Creation.

We will examine the doctrine of the Fall and see whether or not it comports with evolutionary theory and the theology of Andrew Elphinstone.

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“Confessions” – Book IX: Chapters 7 – 13

Death of St. Monica
(scene 13, south wall), 1464 – 65, Benozzo Gozzoli (c. 1421 – 1497), fresco, Apsidal chapel, Sant’Agostino, San Gimignano

 

We conclude Book IX of Confessions as Augustine describes his time in the seaport of Ostia, near Rome, around 387 AD.

 

He had been baptized in the spring and headed south in the summer with a small company of friends and family.  They had intended to return to Africa and form a community for prayer, study, and the service of God.  But when they arrived, the Mediterranean Sea was sealed off as both the Eastern and Western emperors fought one another and the usurper Maximus.

 

Here, in the latter half of the book, he recounts his last memories of his mother Monica.

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A Look Into Jesus’ Conception

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.biblicalarchaeology.org/wp-content/uploads/lorenzo-lotto-nga.jpg

“The Nativity”, Lorenzo Lotto (1480 – 1556/57), 1523, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

 

This week, we will take a mini-break from Confessions and discuss the topic of the Virgin birth and Christology.

 

We will be going over an article from the November/December 2014 issue of Biblical Archeology Review titled “How Babies Were Made in Jesus’ Time” by Andrew Lincoln.  A brief synopsis of the article can be found here; for the complete article you have to order from the website.

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UPDATE: “Confessions: Book VI – Chapters 9 – 16

 

St Augustine, detail from the Doctors of the Church Cycle, 1487-1492, fresco, Church of the Santissima Annunziata, Franciscan Monastery, Cortemaggiore, Emilia-Romagna. Italy, 15th century. - DEA / A. DE GREGORIO/De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Saint Augustine, detail from the Doctors of the Church Cycle, 1487-1492, fresco, Church of the Santissima Annunziata, Franciscan Monastery, Cortemaggiore, Emilia-Romagna. Italy, 15th century.

 

We conclude Book VI of “Confessions” with essays on self-interest vs. public interest in political offices, the role of the Church and her teachings on premarital sex, and thoughts on universal salvation and a glimpse into the true cost of forgiveness and grace.

Read them here.

 

 

 

 

“Confessions: Book II”

We will go over all of Book II of Confessions for our next meeting.

 

In this Book , Augustine describes the onset of adolescence (he was around sixteen at the time – c. 370-371 AD) and enters what he seems to consider the most lurid and sinful period of his life. He describes how he returned home after having spent a year in Madaura, a nearby city where he had gone to study rhetoric. His parents had now expended their meager resources for his schooling, which led the young Augustine to take a year off and give him the opportunity to get into some trouble. He “ran wild,” he writes, “in the jungle of erotic adventures…and became putrid in [God’s] sight.”

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What Does it Mean to be “Saved?”

 

 

When you ask your average Christian or evangelical what salvation means, more likely than not, he or she will respond with, “Jesus Christ died for your sins so that you will enter heaven after death, escape from the fires of hell, and instead spend eternity with Him.”  And normally, they would equate that statement to be the basic meaning of the gospel.

 

However, that seems to be a very parochial understanding of the term ‘salvation’.

 

What did the Bible writers, especially the author of the Gospel of Luke, mean by the term ‘salvation’ or what it means to be ‘saved’?

 

Here’s an essay about the term ‘salvation’ here.

 

 

A Critical Assessment of the Reformed Doctrines of Original Sin and Solus Christus (Salvation in Christ Alone)

 

 

So yesterday, we had an interesting discussion on the doctrines of Solus Christus (Salvation in Christ Alone) and Original Sin.

 

I just want to make this clear that these critical assessments of these core Reformed doctrines are in no way to undermine or question the validity of the Christian faith.  We raise these issues and challenges to strengthen the faith and understand what Christians actually believe in.

 

However, I understand how emotionally involved persons who have adopted these traditions and doctrines to heart are and who take this personally.  And I’m fully aware how nasty debates can become, even between faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.  We do it because we take the truth seriously.  We don’t want to engage in polemics attacking or pushing someone to adopt or reject another point of view.  Its purpose is to raise thoughtful questions and engage and spur others to think things through.

 

We live in a complex and interconnected world today and many worldviews will come into contact with one another.  It is important to take other viewpoints into consideration and call out those that do not make sense, are flatly wrong, or seem antiquated.

 

We raise questions, not to cause people to doubt their faith, but more so to realize that an unexamined faith is not worth believing in (to modify Socrates’ famous quote that “An unexamined life is not worth living”).

 

We welcome thoughtful discussion and disagreements with the ideas and viewpoints we present here, so please do comment if you wish.

 

This is theology in action – faith seeking understanding.

 

 

 

 

Neuroscience of Memory and Salvation (Soteriology)

Scientists watch glowing molecules morph into memories in real time

Memory-forming molecules traveling around the brain to form new memories.

 

Came upon this site about the latest research on how memory forms in the brain.

This relates to some articles I wrote about pertaining to cognitive neuroscience and theology.  (The summaries on Peterson and Rev. Choong in particular.)

The key point to understand is that when memory forms, or when new memories form in your brain or when you learn something new (like I hope you’re doing now), there’s a physical change that’s occurring in your brain – i.e. your brain changes.

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