Did the Medieval Church Teach that the Earth Was Flat?

Supplementary Reading for the Earlier Posts:
Is there a War between Science and Religion? – Science and Christianity: Part 1
How the Myth of Warfare between Science and Christianity Began in Victorian England

MYTH
With the decline of Rome and the advent of the Dark Ages, geography as a science went into hibernation, from which the early Church did little to rouse it . . . Strict Biblical interpretations plus unbending patristic bigotry resulted in the theory of a flat earth with Jerusalem in its center, and the Garden of Eden somewhere up country, from which flowed the four Rivers of Paradise.Boise Penrose, Travel and Discovery in the Renaissance (1955)

The authority of the Fathers, and the prevailing belief that the Scriptures contain the sum of all knowledge, discouraged any investigation of Nature . . . the question of the shape of the earth was finally settled by three sailors, Columbus, Da Gama, and above all, by Ferdinand Magellan.John William Draper, History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874)

QUESTION
Did people in the Middle Ages think that the world was flat? Certainly the writers quoted above would make us think so. As the story goes, people living in the “Dark Ages” were so ignorant (or so deceived by Catholic priests) that they believed the earth was flat.

DOCUMENTED HISTORICAL FACT
But the reality is more complex than either of these stories. Very few people throughout the Middle Ages believed that the world was flat Continue reading “Did the Medieval Church Teach that the Earth Was Flat?”

How the Myth of Warfare between Science and Christianity Began in Victorian England

Reposted here for easy access*

The image of warfare between science and Christianity was invented by  Victorian scientific naturalists under the leadership of Thomas H. Huxley (otherwise known as Darwin’s bulldog). They believed that nature is a closed system of physical causes and that nature should be explained only with inviolable natural laws (as opposed to supernatural laws or spiritual forces). Huxley and his cohorts concluded that the larger populace was receptive to their attacks against Christianity as there was growing resentment against the Church and parsons who had allied themselves with squires to exploit farmers.

They adopted a two-fold strategy in their campaign to overthrow the cultural dominance of Christianity by replacing Christian supernaturalism with scientific naturalism as the foundation for science and education in a secular society: Continue reading “How the Myth of Warfare between Science and Christianity Began in Victorian England”

Is there a War between Science and Religion? – Science and Christianity: Part 1

I. YES! for Jerry Coyne: “Yes, there is a War between Science and Religion.”

Opposing methods for discerning truth
My [Coyne] argument runs like this. I’ll construe “science” as the set of tools we use to find truth about the universe, with the understanding that these truths are provisional rather than absolute. These tools include observing nature, framing and testing hypotheses, trying your hardest to prove that your hypothesis is wrong to test your confidence that it’s right, doing experiments and above all replicating your and others’ results to increase confidence in your inference…

The conflict between science and faith, then, rests on the methods they use to decide what is true, and what truths result: These are conflicts of both methodology and outcome. Continue reading “Is there a War between Science and Religion? – Science and Christianity: Part 1”

Who Was Adam? Scientific and Theological Perspectives: Preview

A monkey in the zoo was heard asking the question, “Am I my keeper’s brother?” The theory of evolution answers the question with an unambiguous “YES!”Apes and humans share a common descent.

Given below are several evolutionary interpretations of the relationship between humans (hominin) and apes (hominid) based on an unproven assumption – that any similarities found between them is due to a common ancestor. Continue reading “Who Was Adam? Scientific and Theological Perspectives: Preview”

Kairos Forum on Genesis, Adam and Evolution

Kairos Forum on Genesis, Adam and Evolution
2pm-5pm, Saturday, 20 Oct 2018
Auditorium, Methodist College, KL
Admission Free

According to a Barna research poll, one of the major reasons why people leave church and abandon Christianity is the perception that the findings of modern science are in conflict with the Bible. The purpose of the Kairos Forum on Genesis, Adam and Evolution is to correct this misconception. The Forum seeks to demonstrate that to the contrary, science complements rather than contradicts the Bible. Science itself leads us to profound questions that find their answers in the Bible.

Continue reading “Kairos Forum on Genesis, Adam and Evolution”

Recent Scientific Studies Support Human Uniqueness and Allow Possibility of Original Human Pair

Biologist Ann Gauger, self-described rebel scientist and one of the editors of the hefty 1000 page volume Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique gave a short but powerful presentation at Biola University on how recent scientific studies support human uniqueness. Continue reading “Recent Scientific Studies Support Human Uniqueness and Allow Possibility of Original Human Pair”

Kairos Research Centre Forum on Genesis, Adam & Evolution

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday 20th Oct 2018

Speakers:
Dr. Living Lee: A Theistic Approach to Geology, Evolution and Fossil Evidence.
Dr. Leong Tien Fock: Hermeneutical & Theological Approaches to Interpreting Genesis 1-3.
Dr. Ng Kam Weng: Who was Adam? Scientific Evidence and Theological Significance.

More Details to Follow.

 

Another Rumor of the Death of Adam

Scot McKnight’s latest book which he co-authors with Dennis Venema promises to deliver a combination “left-hook, upper cut” knockout punch to demolish the traditional doctrine which teaches Adam and Eve to be historical figures.

Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science (Brazos Press, 2017)
Authors: Scot McKnight and Dennis Venema. ISBN – 9781587433948

A new post in McKnight’s popular blog Jesus Creed, Adam According to Jesus” offers several reasons to reject belief in Adam and Eve to be historical figures. While I disagree with Scot McKnight’s misreading of the Bible on grounds of theological hermeneutics, I admire his honesty in going public with his rejection of orthodoxy – unlike other scholars who portray themselves as ‘progressive’ evangelicals despite rejecting several central doctrines of the Bible. Perhaps, this only confirms my suspicion that many ‘progressive’ evangelicals are really closet liberals with no guts.

But readers may echo Mark Twain and rest assure that the report of the death of Adam has been greatly exaggerated. I refer readers to two accessible critiques of McKnight-Venema: Continue reading “Another Rumor of the Death of Adam”

If Evolution – No Adam, No Fall, No Salvation, No Savior

Why do atheistic evolutionists  conclude that Christianity is false? Basically, there rely on the following argument.

The Atheistic Evolutionist Argument
1) If evolution is true, there was no first, historical Adam.

2) If there was no first, historical Adam, there was no Fall.

3) If there was no Fall, the sinful condition of humanity is not an inescapable condition.

4) If the sinful condition is not an inescapable condition, moral and religious categories like ‘sin’ and ‘salvation’ are irrelevant or unnecessary, as evolution will take whatever course it takes by chance].

5) If salvation is irrelevant or unnecessary, there is no need for a Savior.

6) The heart or fundamental claim of Christianity is that it is necessary for Jesus to come as the Savior of the human race

Conclusion: If evolution is true [i.e. there was no historical Adam], then based on (5) and (6), Christianity is false.

Continue reading “If Evolution – No Adam, No Fall, No Salvation, No Savior”

Toward a More Precise Definition of Evolution

Much confusion arises in the debate on Evolution and Creation because the opposing sides are working with different meanings of evolution. It would be helpful to refer to the taxonomy of evolution given by Stephen Myer & Mike Keas.

Principal Meanings of Evolution in Biology Textbooks:

1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature.
2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population.
3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms
have descended from a common ancestor.
4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited
descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random
variations or mutations.
5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended
from a single common ancestor.
6. “Blind watchmaker” thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended
from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent,
purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on ran-
dom variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection,
random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic
mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of
design in living organisms.

In my view, there seems to be evidence to support Evolution (1-4). However, the evidence for general evolution/Evolution (5) remains inconclusive, if not debatable.

Myer and Keas suggest that Evolution (6) in reality is a metaphysical theory. Continue reading “Toward a More Precise Definition of Evolution”