Author Archive

The Focus of Christian Faith (Belief)

Posted: March 21, 2010 by Prof. Dan Lioy in Biblical Studies, Creation/Evolution

Over at Biologos, there is a blog titled “The Light of Faith”. The writer talks about the importance of faith in connection with the “orderliness and consistency of God’s world”.

I thought it was important to add a clarifying thought or two in connection with the above, and so I posted the following in the comments section:

>>>Just to clarify, it is important not to make the notion of “faith” a vague, ill-defined, end in itself. Faith always has an object. For believers, it is the triune Creator-King of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.

In this regard, Hebrews 11:6 declares that a basic starting point for faith is believing that God exists. And, according to verse 3, a related belief is that He formed the universe by means of His powerful command (regardless of whether, from a modern-day scientific viewpoint, the process of creation involved evolution).

To put an even finer point on the above, Christianity asserts that it was through the divine-human Word, Jesus of Nazareth, that all things were made (John 1:3). This includes everything throughout the cosmos, whether visible or invisible (Col. 1:16). Indeed, He sustains all things by means of His powerful word (Heb. 1:3), including, it would seem, the eons-long process of evolution.<<<

I just received my author copies of the upcoming edition of the Cook Bible Lesson Commentary for 2010-2011. There’s both a KJV and NIV version.

Each year over the last decade, I have had the privilege of writing and editing these publications for Cook, which contain Bible lesson commentary for use for each Sunday of the year. And it’s my understanding that tens of thousands of churches make use of these products in their Sunday school and adult CE programs throughout the U.S. and overseas.

I’m happy to report that I’m busily working on the next edition for 2011-2012!

Can what is symbolic point to what is real history?

Posted: March 16, 2010 by Prof. Dan Lioy in Uncategorized

Peter Enns has posted another blog titled “Paul’s Adam” (Part 2). And there’s a comment posted by “Joe Francis” questioning how a writing that is symbolic can “contain real history”. I thought I’d respond to the same, and the following is what I posted:

>>>From my perspective, it is possible that a highly stylized, literary rendition can be both symbolic in content and point to historical and theological truths.

For instance, I think it is possible to regard Genesis 1 as portraying the creation of the universe in a story-like manner that, one the one hand is akin to other ANE stories, and on the other hand is sufficiently distinctive to set itself apart from the latter.

So one historical truth would be that the universe had a starting point. A corresponding theological truth would be that the Creator-King brought all things into existence. Admittedly, some might regard these observations as merely faith-based statements which cannot be proven using the scientific method. Fair enough.

Still, the preceding need not rule out the potential validity of such premises. For instance, Francis Collins, in a recent interview with Charlie Rose, wryly asked “why is there something instead of nothing”. The backdrop of Collins’ Q was the supposition of the universe originally being created by God.<<<

The temporal vs. the eternal

Posted: March 15, 2010 by Prof. Dan Lioy in Uncategorized

Over at Biologos, there’s a new blog titled “The Things of the Earth”, to which I appended the following response. I thought I’d post the latter here, because I think it bears mentioning. Specifically, evangelicals too often can fall into the trap of having a sort of gnosticized view of reality, in which either one aspect or the other are regarded as being more important than the other. Here, then, is what I recently posted at the following link :

>>>Actually, while not much (i.e. in terms of sheer volume of information) can be inferred about God by observing His creation, there are some inferences that can be made. Specifically, Romans 1:20 points to two “invisible qualities” (TNIV) of God, namely, His “eternal power and divine nature”. The apostle states that these “have been clearly seen”.

Also, while it seems valid to assert that God created the universe for humankind, I think there is more to it than that. Put differently, God’s purposes in creation, while including humankind, are not limited to the latter (cf. Rom. 8:18ff.). Moreover, one meta-objective surely includes the Creator-King bringing glory to Himself.

Now, to the general point of the blog, it is helpful to note that believers should not have a compartmentalized, either-or mentality when it comes to the temporal and eternal, the material and the immaterial, the physical and spiritual aspects of reality. In God’s sovereignty, every aspect of His creation has value, meaning, and purpose, at least from a theological point of view.

Still, from the limited horizon of human existence, reality can at times seem to be filled with paradox, enigma, randomness, and so on. A candid study of Ecclesiastes, the Psalms, Job, etc., bears this point out. The latter observation notwithstanding, Hebrews 1:3 states that the Son is “sustaining all things by his powerful word”, including every aspect of the material universe in which we live. Moreover, Colossians 1:17 notes that in the Son “all things hold together”.<<<

Well, I’m now a community blogger at Endued! As I read it, one of the key aims of Endued is to be a witness for the Lord Jesus to the surrounding culture. Hopefully, my musings will in some way help to advance this aim.

The context for my becoming a community blogger was my recent radio interview with Pastor Rick about my latest book, Axis of Glory. And so I thought it would be appropriate to make material in it the starting point for my initial blogs.

The book itself reflects a continuation of my thoughts connected with prior research in biblical studies I’ve done over the last few years. One area that I explore in Axis of Glory, along with The Search for Ultimate Reality, is the material in the opening chapters of Genesis, specifically chapters 1 and 2. These chapters provide a two-part look at God’s creation (first) of the universe and (second) humankind. It is an understatement to note how important this portion of Scripture is to Christian thought and life.

It just so happens that this same portion of Scripture is of keen interest to those who dialog and write about the relationship between science and Scripture. One prime example of this would be The Biologos Foundation and website (http://biologos.org/), both of which were begun by Dr. Francis Collins (among others). He wrote the best-selling book The Language of God.

It is also worthy of mention that in the upcoming spring term at Marylhurst University, I will be team-teaching an online course dealing with the interfacing of science and Scripture (my third year to do this course). The latter is also the focus of the Biologos blogs titled “Science and the Sacred”.

Recently, at Biologos, Dr. Pete Enns has posted blogs dealing with issues related to the material in the first two chapters of Genesis. He is listed as a Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for the Biologos Foundation. He is also a former tenured professor at Westminster Theology Seminary. His most recent posts have focused on the Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) background of the Genesis creation account, the relationship between Adam and Israel, Paul’s view of Adam, etc.

For me, this is where my own research finds a significant area of overlap. I have started to wrestle with some of the ideas being put forward by Dr. Enns and others at the Biologos Foundation. And I think my blog posts at Endued is a place where I could make some ongoing efforts in that direction. This includes my own approach to Genesis 1, the extent to which Adam (and Eve) are to be understood as literal / historical individuals, how Paul (and Jesus) understood the person of Adam, and so on. Each of these (and other areas) are worthy of individual treatment and discussion.

Well, that’s my plan, at least initially. I’m not sure where this endeavor on my part will lead or what sort of response it will get from my fellow community bloggers & readers. This will be especially so, given the exploratory, openended nature of my musings. And, concededly, there undoubtedly will be theological rough edges exposed in the process.