Thursday, April 30, 2015

John Walton, Adam and Eve

I practically jumped from joy after finding John Walton's BioLogos article

“Natural” and “Supernatural” are Modern Categories, Not Biblical Ones

He writes
Is the text claiming that Adam was formed from dust by the very hand of God, while the rest of us are born from a woman after a nine-month gestation period? Many assume this is the case. But such a view implies that the text asserts a supernatural theory of human origins for which there is no natural explanation or process involved. Again, the text cannot be making such a distinction, because the Israelites did not think in terms of these competing categories.

Alternatively, I suggest that just as Adam is introduced to us as one formed from dust, so we understand that we are all formed from dust, designed to be mortal and frail (Ps. 103:14; 1 Cor. 15:47-48). The text is not trying to tell us how Adam is different, but to tell us how we are all the same. In Genesis we don’t learn that Adam’s creation was supernatural while the rest of us are born through a natural process. We learn that humankind from the very beginning was created with mortal bodies but that God was going to provide an antidote. I address more of the details of this interpretation in my book, The Lost World of Adam and Eve.

If the Bible does not insist that God bypassed scientifically describable processes in the material creation of human beings (since its authors and its intended audience had no such categories), it should not be used to rule out scientific explanations for material human origins (such as evolution). Both the Bible and theology agree that God is pervasively involved in his world no matter what level of scientifically describable cause and effect we can detect. So it is not inconsistent with the biblical text to suggest that God created human beings over a long period of time through processes
At the same time, every Christian should affirm that humans are not merely the result of scientifically describable processes. God has made us ontologically distinct beings, regardless of the material processes involved. We are more than dust; and we are more than any phylogenetic ancestor. Furthermore, this ontological uniqueness cannot be simplified to the imposition of a soul or to the assignment as God’s images. Unique human ontology can't be reduced to anthropological components because it concerns the fundamental nature of our being. We are more than what we are made of, and God is responsible for that.
John Walton

What is so special about that?

Two things.

1. Walton turns our attention to the Scriptures and fixes a deep-rooted often invisible misreading of the story about the creation of man and woman in Garden of Eden. This kind of careful insistence of holding on the Biblical foundations of Judeo-Christian tradition is fundamentally important in modern discussions of science/and religion. It is also so sadly forgotten when Christians get sucked into the glorious world of logic and science and forget Logos.

2. Walton faces Nature as God has created it without letting his religious faith obstruct facts as so often happens. God does not need a single lie for the defense of His works, especially not the fanciful falsifications of facts and outright lies that are so widely presented in public discussions by Christians inspired by unerring Scriptures.

Professor Walton takes his place among the children of Adam and Eve and encourages with his example careful and extensive studies of the Bible as well as brave and truthful studies of Natural Sciences, in the case of Adam and Eve Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology and Paleontology.

The light of the truth, phos to alethinon, is a love affair for those Christians who have accepted that free gift from God - love of the truth.

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2 Thess. 2:10 KJV

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gallipoli - Tell England

"TellEngland" by Source.
Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

On personal note, Tell England: A Study in a Generation by Ernest Raymond (1888 - 1974) is among the few books on World War I that have left deepest scars and everlasting memories in my soul.

The book follows those jolly British young men on their trip to death on the slopes of Gallipoli and is absolutely unforgettable. Especially when reading is combined with a study of the ANZAC campaign 1915 - 1916.

You can read Tell England online as an eBook in Project Gutenberg

Related to that book there is that Australian veteran song Waltzing Matilda which is among the saddest of its kind I know and sometimes still brings tears to my eyes

Today 100 years have passed since the start of Gallipoli campaign. For good reason they talk about heroism - but those two words "human folly" also come to mind.

May they Rest In Peace - all the over hundred thousand human beings that perished there.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Zubin Mehta takes his audience in Vienna New Year 2015 concert

Zubin Mehta 2015
image Wiener Philharmoniker

"The Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert took place under the baton of Zubin Mehta on January 1, 2015, in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. The Philharmonic's Honorary Conductor Zubin Mehta, with whom the orchestra has enjoyed an artistic partnership for over 50 years, conducted the New Year's Concert for the fifth time.

This year's concert was broadcast in over 90 countries around the world and was seen by 50 million television viewers. The program for the New Year's Concert 2015 featured numerous compositions by Johann Strauss Father and Son, Eduard and Josef Strauss as well as works by Franz von Suppé und Hans Christian Lumbye. Five pieces were performed for the first time as part of the New Year's Concert. The program also commemorated 650 years of the University of Vienna and 200 years of the Technical University of Vienna."
Wiener Philharmoniker

The Großer Saal was filled to capacity of 1700 people enjoying the most genuine Wiener Waltz possible. The music loving audience was seated on chairs on the floor and in the balconies surrounding the hall. These locations are significant for what follows.

Towards the end of the concert the Maestro turned his back to the orchestra and began to direct the hand claps of the audience. With very few movements of hand, eyebrows, warning finger now and then - that was all needed to take total control of the audience seated in different parts of the hall. By varying the volume and section of the hall participating in the rhythmic clapping he was actually composing on the spot addition to the piece the orchestra was playing. It was all fun, very musical and the audience just loved it.

At least I have never seen anything like it before - a conductor accurately controlling almost 2000 people with minimal movements and gestures creating a joint musical experience that surely must be unforgettable to those present in this fine concert.