On doing theology

“The dogmatic task is not simply to ascertain what the prophets and apostles said but to determine what we must say now on the basis of their testimony.”

“Doing theology is being taught by God and being formed by God into fit instruments of his service. It involves an in-depth engagement with the Word of God animated by a zeal for the glory of God.”

Donald Bloesch, The Church: Sacraments, Worship, Ministry, Mission, 23

The Universal Appeal of Wisdom Literature

“One might read the Pentateuch and see only a faint shadow of himself reflected there. The historical books may overwhelm him with facts and events. The Prophets, by some mere chance, may pass him by with their deep convictions and concerns about their own societies and world. But the poetic books will find him wherever he is.”

C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books, 20.

“Not a tame lion…”

I have been reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to Ellyn lately. We just read the chapter where the children meet Aslan for the first time. Lewis writes:

“People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now.”

This brought to mind a quote in one of the commentaries on the first few verses of Psalm 136.

“It would be no use if Yahweh were inherently good but not committed to us; it would be frightening if Yahweh were supreme God and supreme Lord but not committed to us. But Yahweh’s being good and supreme God, supreme Lord, is something to confess.” (Goldingay, Psalms 90-150, 596.)

The paradoxes abound: the Loving Lord, the King who Cares*, the Lion who is a Lamb.

*I borrow this phrase from one of my professors, John Feinberg (No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God.)

Reading Review: Darwin’s Doubt

Darwins DoubtDarwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer In a semi-technical yet readable volume, Meyer expands on his case for intelligent design which he began in an earlier volume—Signature in the Cell. Whereas his focus there was on DNA, here he turns his attention to the so-called “Cambrian Explosion”, the sudden appearance of many complex animals as testified to in various fossil finds. Throughout the book Meyer takes on the various attempts to explain (or explain away) the apparent sudden appearance of these animals that are on offer in the scientific community. In short, he makes it pretty clear that the standard Darwinian and Neo-Darwinian accounts of animal development from a single ancestor through natural selection acting on random mutations are completely inadequate to explain the vast injection of new biological information necessary to generate these animals. The discussion must address technical issues but Meyer does so clearly and makes use of images and illustrations to engage the reader. In the later part of the book Meyer makes his case for the reasonableness of the inference of intelligent design in the development of these animals. He defends intelligent design with reference to the Cambrian Explosion in particular but also more generally as a legitimate scientific option. This book could be an excellent resource for science teachers in both Christian and public schools. The range of literature that Meyer references secures his work against accusations of scholarly cherry-picking. In particular the first and last parts of the book could be useful as they detail the growing dissatisfaction in the evolutionary community with the standard Darwinian model as well as the legitimacy of intelligent design as a scientific position.