My Name Is Zoomtard, I’m Curry In The Whale

So I had an eventful weekend. There was a concert and a conference and a baptism and then I started a mini-craze about a Croatian theologian. What can I say? My infectious enthusiasm has made them all sick. If you all remember last week I was telling you about the wonderous cacophony made by the band Duke Special and the unique opportunity you have to enjoy it in the privacy and comfort of your own home buy purchasing some CDs. Well I went to see Duke Special last Friday night and I was blown away. Even Neuro would have been blown away and she punches me when I sing Duke Special lyrics. Ask Stigmund, who was also there and can also testify to the terrific, thrilling dramatic experience that was Duke Special live. They had people in the audience who played along with them. Planted in the audience! And they played along with cheese graters and whisks! And they all were in costume! And one was a geography teacher and another was a Boy’s Brigade member. A Boy’s Brigade member!

Born Again Christians Have Holy Love In
After the excitement in the Sugar Club I got up with no small amount of dread to attend the National Conference of the Evangelical Alliance Ireland at UCD. There comes a point in every Christian’s life when they’ve really got to ask themselves, “Am I ready to go small talk again?” Especially when you spent two (amazing) years working for an organisation that had four conferences a year. At least. Plus, the theme for EAI this year was “Out of the Ghetto”. For me, being in “the ghetto” (not a literal ghetto for evangelicals that you haven’t heard about in Coolock or somewhere but a state of mind where evangelical Christians bind together in a holy huddle to protect them from the bad people in the outside world who don’t wear What Would Jesus Do? bracelets) is not like an addiction. Getting out of it is not a long process where recognition of the problem is the first step. Getting out of the ghetto simply involves being normal and not spending all your time involved in Christian things around other Christians who reinforce all the crazy ideas you hold until you can’t understand any longer why they seem so crazy to other people. However, in their foolishness, the advisory committee that consisted of people like Dr. Patrick Mitchel and Sean Mullan didn’t feel a need to consult Dublin’s 14th most read Christian blogger.

My bad attitude went fleeing out of the door when the first speaker got up. Mark Greene, the head of the most excellent London Institute of Contemporary Christianity spoke on the topic of Moving The Church Into The World and it was breathtaking. It was brilliantly presented, practical, deeply thought-through, Biblical and done so that you didn’t feel like a failure as he laid out the sad state of the church and how badly we are equipping our congregations for real life. I loved it. I loved the whole day, even if Greene was the outstanding performer for me (although if Sean Mullan had been first instead of last, in the graveyard shift of 4pm I am sure people would have been equally in awe of what he had to say). The thing that got me at the conference was how we seem to be focusing on the Kingdom of God. There wasn’t any hint that the church’s mission was to go and make more Christians. Or to go and annoy people about morality. The church’s mission is to live the Gospel and so bring about a revolution in people’s lives that will hopefully involve relationships with Jesus but won’t be dependent on that. The vision was big enough to get anyone excited. It was a shame you weren’t there. I’ll invite you next time. You probably won’t get to hear me speak that time though.

The Dove Didn’t Come Out In the Photos
Straight after the EAI conference I went into town to do something I had never done before. I attended an adult baptism. I had never been to one before because, and I’m about to get controversial here, but I think they are wrong with a capital W. A capital W that is in flames and is very spiky and that may growl menacingly as you approach it. Zoomtard readers, it is time to come out to you. I am a paedobaptist and I am proud. I am a paedobaptist and I think I am right.

The courting of Christian controversy aside, I made a friend a few years ago in Trinity who was on a kind of spiritual quest. We used to get together every month or so to talk about God and meaning and history and knowing and all that good stuff. Over the summer, and don’t blame me because I wasn’t even in the country, he became a Christian. This rocks hugely and he has been having a great time switching his degree to Theology and Biblical Studies (you don’t have to do this when you become a Christian by the way, it is optional) and well, being all Christian. I don’t know what that involves either but he does seem to be very happy. So it was his adult baptism, his public declaration of being right with God and I have to admit, the service was amazing. It was humbling. God’s presence was in the room. I thought I would be going with my good theology as a kind of peacemaker between the rude people asking for the gift of baptism a second time and an angry God who is still put out that they took so long to thank him for the gift. It turns out there might have been a slight miscalculation in my theology and it seems God doesn’t agree to just follow a system we might devise.

By the way, a bird just hit the window. Here I am planning the next paragraph and boom, it hits the glass doors. Don’t worry though, it was ok. No animals were harmed in the writing of this Zoomtard.

Back On His High Horse
If you are new to this website, I should let you in on its subtitle, which “A theological skeptchpad”. Zoomtard is fascinated by a lot of things but his chief concerns are theology and the Bible. He gets unreasonably excited by both. He has spent the last seven years becoming more and more convinced that the Bible really is unlike any other book, that its plot is a grand project planned and executed by God and that entering into the plot contained in its pages somehow can enter you into the actual plot which is taking place all around us.

If you understand this, then you can maybe grasp just how apoplectic his rage can be when he hears young Earth Creationists take the introduction to this grand plot and pass it off as science. As if God would begin the story with a meditation on how you build a story. Reading Alan Reynolds’ Reading The Bible For The Love Of God has been a step for me in my maturation process that will allow me to discuss this topic with Creation Scientists without ripping their head off and stuffing cottage cheese down their neck and to talk with other people, sane people, without scaring them with my vein popping intensity.

I have had people ask me whether I think Genesis is true. By that they usually mean Genesis 1-3 since it does stretch for 50 chapters. I always answer, “YES! Absolutely.” They then tend to presume that I am obviously an idiot because no one can take that text (which they may or may not have actually read) seriously because “modern science” had disproved it. What they are really trying to ask when they ask me the question is whether I think Genesis 1-3 is true in terms of contemporary historical investigation. The answer to that question would always for me be “Its a moot point. If you push me to say things that are of no relevance, then no.” I would be more kind than that though. You understand I am just trying to act big in front of you?

Genesis 1-3 was never meant to be a historically factual account of the beginnings of humankind or the mechanics of the start of the space-time universe. If you believe it to be true in that sense you are believing something that could not have been intended by the initial tellers of the story or the people millennia later who wrote it down in the form we have it today. The reason I get so annoyed with Creation Scientists is that you can believe it to be historically and factually accurate and still miss the point of the story. In my experience, reading the story that way increases the chance that you’ll miss what is actually being said.

Genesis 1-3 is profoundly true to human experience. Reading it and understanding it for the first time literally rocked my world. It is true in my life to a depth that Dostoevsky or Orwell could never plumb. This is not a truth like a historical statement of fact or a theory of physics but it is the truth we have to grasp if we are going to grasp the big arching plot that God has written us into as characters. Reynolds is really helpful at this point. There would be no difficulty raised by readers if I claimed World War II ended in 1945AD. Unless you were Muslim, in which case the war ended in 1324AH. He presents another scenario, one where he suggest war is a terrible thing. On this point, there would be a lot of discussion. Thoughtful would be made about the potential benefits that come from war and the occassional neccessity of war. At the end though, we would come to the conclusion that war is indeed a terrible thing.

The first observation, which appears to be obviously true is actually only relatively true. The second of the statements is far more open to debate but as much as it is true, it is always true. It is a qualitative statement about human values. Reynolds goes on to give four statements:

  • 2 + 2 = 4
  • I love you
  • Babe Ruth hit 619 home runs in his Major League career
  • I love you too
  • Statements 1 and 3 are different in nature from statements 2 and 4. We can verify 1 and 3. We can check them out and make sure they are true. You or I could both do it just as well as each other. But statements 2 and 4 cannot be proved. Especially by people outside of the interaction. They cannot be proven but they

    can be much “truer” for the meaningful living of life than the so called factual statements.

    The Bible generally and Genesis 1-3 especially is concerned with statements of 2 and 4. As is our poetry and our literature, our plays and our movies, our music and our art. When we try to explain why we are here, a much deeper question than how, we have to move outside of the realms of empiricism. We can experiment to verify that you are a child’s parent. We cannot experiment our way to verification of your parenthood of that child, the love and devotion and passion and sacrifice that arrived for free when this baby turned up. Real life is lived outside the binary of black and white but there is more truth in the grey.

    The Errata
    Zoomtard is beginning his actual career as a person who preaches on Sunday. He now works for a church and Sunday is the first time he preaches as a churchman. Everyone is welcome, there is no list at the door, entrance is free, as is the tea, coffee and Grace. Feel free to come.

    Some fascinating linkage for you in the form of Genetic Sexual Attraction and Personal Kyoto.

    Your Correspondent, Amazing how this grace helps me rebound

    13 Responses to “My Name Is Zoomtard, I’m Curry In The Whale”

    1. I feel as if I may be missing something here, but are you saying anything more than “Statements of truth in Genesis are not open to empirical validation”? If so, this is not unexpected (what possible way would there be to empirically verify the truth of any of it?)

      I am all in favour if reading the Bible as a narrative and I am very much in favour of the recent trends recognising the importance of narrative in scripture and in the NT view of scripture. So, I am in agreement that the primary purpose of Genesis 1-3 is to establish God as creator, man as creature and provide a background for the current relationship between the two (damaged as a consequence of the fall).

      However, does the fact that the truth of Genesis 1-3 cannot be empirically established negate the *historicity* of Genesis 1-3? It is narrative surely, but is it not also history (or historical narrative)?

      It seems to me that Paul, for example, talked as if an actual factual historical Adam existed. It also seems to me that the reality of an actual fall, and so an actual Adam, is vital to the Christian narrative of history as well as to a good chunk of Christian theology.

      Much of the problem comes down to one’s definition of science. If we take the modern definition (philosophic naturalism held up on the crutches of empiricism) then, clearly, Genisis 1-3 does not fit the bill (or intelligent design theory, or anything else that involves something outside of the supposedly closed natural system). However, one need only look to the Greeks to realise that a science the embraces the metaphysical as well as the physical is more than possible. Theology and science need not be exclusive categories.

      Modern philosophy of science (cf. Feyerabend, for example) have more or less conclusively shown that empiricism, falsifiability, just don’t cut it – indeed, the mere idea of a ‘scientific method’ is plain silly, really. Scientists are still living in a little positivist bubble – the surface tension of their intransigence meant that although the positivist bubble burst everywhere else, it still exists in the lab. Science is so far behind philosophy (not to mention theology!) it’s not even funny.

      Our idea of what constitutes ‘science’ needs to be radically redefined.

      I’m rambling. I’ll stop.

    2. zoomtard says:

      Ramble away sir. Whether Paul speaks of an actual Adam or speaks rhetorically about Adam is largely irrelevant to me since I would have no problems with the idea that Paul, a Roman Jew from Galicia in the middle first century believed there to be a first Adam. That particular topic however becomes far more focused when you remember that Adam in the Biblical text refers to both the character in the Genesis story and humanity. It is the same word, which is a play on the word for ground.

      The Fall is the only aspect of the Christian worldview that can be verified beyond dispute. It confuses me how the literal but non-scientific reading of Genesis is somehow read to mean that we think the Fall is an idea. If Genesis 1-3 is a kind of poetic allegory, as an allegory it must parallel something that happened for it to make any sense at all. So Bob, I agree that the Fall has actually happened but I disagree that God would be bound to talk about it in the dominant terms of our cultural language- empiricism fed by a dirty stream of positivism. 😉

      As far as theology and science not needing to be mutually exclusive, sign me up. I am a huge fan of McGrath’s Science of God project, for example. But the key problem that I have raised in terms of hermenutics, if I can use such a stupidly grandiose term, is the attempt to read Genesis 1-3 through scientific empiricism. It comes as no surprise that this reading is unique to the post-Enlightenment era and I believe it is ungrounded and unuseful. To have a broader view is something we should encourage but that doesn’t mean a merge.

      I am not certain that what we constitute as science needs to be redefined. I think the definition of science that we have post-Kuhn et al is superb. It is genuinely useful. In my experience most professional scientists embrace the clear terms of science as an empirical activity that is severely limited if not totally incapacitated in the metaphysical realm. Dawkins and his crew really do exist as a better funded, better read mirror image of Hovind and co.

      Brilliant comment with enough to have me thinking for a month. Thanks for it.

    3. I’ll address these in increasing order of disagreement:

      1) “I agree that the Fall has actually happened but I disagree that God would be bound to talk about it in the dominant terms of our cultural language- empiricism fed by a dirty stream of positivism.”

      I don’t think I said God should (or must) talk about it in such a way, or at least I hope I didn’t. However, I do believe that the belief that Genesis 1-3 can be verified empirically is different to the belief that Genesis 1-3 is true history (oh, I sound an awful lot like Francis Schaeffer there!).

      History may not necessarily be verifiable. It usually isn’t, in fact. Believing in the historicity of Genesis 1-3 is something I can do without applying any notions of modern ‘science’ or empiricism to the text.

      2) “To have a broader view is something we should encourage but that doesn’t mean a merge.”

      Again, I agree here. Up until fairly recently what we now called science was called “natural philosophy”. I think theology, philosophy, mathematics and the natural sciences (so-called) should all some under the banner “science”. To do so would require discarding modern notions of naturalism and empiricism, as well as modern notions of verifiable truth (and much of our post-enlightenment conception of ‘truth’ in general). So, like you say – a bigger picture but not a merge.

      3) “I am not certain that what we constitute as science needs to be redefined.”

      We can agree to disagree on this for the moment. ‘Science’ as we now concieve of it is an entirely modern thing, which makes very little sense in either a pre-modern or a post-modern context. It relies on notions of truth and ‘scientific method’ that are so transparently inadequate that we usually just see right through them and ignore them.

      4) “Whether Paul speaks of an actual Adam or speaks rhetorically about Adam is largely irrelevant to me since I would have no problems with the idea that Paul, a Roman Jew from Galicia in the middle first century believed there to be a first Adam.”

      We are into muddy waters here, I guess, and are sailing toward a question of hermeneutics. If Paul believed that Adam (as a man) existed and recorded it in Scripture, is this then true? I understand that we’re coming down to the level of “verifiable propositional truth statements” which both you and I implore and I really am in favour of understanding scripture as narrative, etc. (rather than as something from which we can extract a set of true “statements”). However, what you find irrelevant here strikes me as relevant, firstly because part of Paul’s theology seems predicated upon an *actual* Adam as an *actual* representative who made an *actual* choice at an *actual* moment of space time history (there’s Schaeffer poking his head out again!). If Paul regarded Genesis 1-3 as history, and if the Bible has recorded his (and others’) view that Genesis 1-3 is history, what grounds have I to disbelieve this claim?

      In fact – I think that history and narrative are two terms that should really be treated as synonymous when it comes to scripture – so long as we use history in such a way to include ourselves and our own historical-narrative in the greater historical-narrative (so history isn’t something that has happened, it is something that is happening). I don’t see that Paul et. al. read the OT as narrative in such a way that implied it wasn’t also history.

      “That particular topic however becomes far more focused when you remember that Adam in the Biblical text refers to both the character in the Genesis story and humanity. It is the same word, which is a play on the word for ground.”

      This I understand – and I know it plays nicely into the idea of Adam (and Christ as the last Adam) as representative for humanity. Still, I don’t see how this means that Adam the character in the Genisis story is non-historical (and so entirely allegorical) unless one can prove that Paul et. al. used the word Adam primarily to mean “humanity” and used it rather than some generic word for humanity in order to foreground the narrative of the Fall but *not* to refer to a historical personage.

      I’m floating into somewhat unfamiliar waters here so I’m probably being less than coherent.

      I suppose it boils down to this (for me): I’ve long been a YEC for a simple reason. It’s not that the science wows me — despite my scientific tendencies (I’m a mathematician), I’m quite happy to accept that God created the universe sans-explanation. I see no reason to make God’s actions submit to my (or anybody’s) notions of science. i feel that it is clear that Genesis 1-3 is in no way a scientific account and was never, ever meant to be. However, I do feel that if one removes Genesis 1-3 as history we are left without an historical “original-sin” by which sin entered into the world. Paul says “by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners” and without an historical Adam as reference I have awful trouble interpreting this.

      I apologise for being long winded and for being unclear, but I comment because I really want you (probably much more intelligent) opinions on this.

    4. zoomtard says:

      I am off to enjoy some dinner and some Gilmore Girls action but I will be thinking about this overnight and will respond then. Off the cuff response: do you reckon from point 4 onwards we are pitching a conflict between inerrantist readings of Scripture and infallible readings?

      No need for apologies or nonsense about the merits of my response. I simply appreciate the time you’ve taken to form a response and the thought-provoking things you’ve said.

    5. zoomtard says:

      Even after a night thinking about this I am still all over the place. This is probably best read like a Nietzsche book as distinct paragraphs that need not relate to each other. I haven’t been able to properly form an argument. But I will!

      I do want to say that I think your viewpoint on Genesis 1-3, taking it historically but not scientifically is a really valid reading. I disagree with it and think it would pose difficulties in Mission but in all that I write I don’t want you to hear me say “This is claptrap or illegitimate!” I have a tendency to overstate my case and offend in that way. Please understand that I don’t mean it and respect where you are coming from and appreciate you taking me to task.

      I am geniuinely fascinated by my assertion that it doesn’t matter to me if Paul believes there to be an Adam who lived in a Garden called Eden and was wrong about that. It kind of surprises me as I say it. But I do believe it. I guess that is the difference between inerrantist and infallible readings.

      I think the nub of our conversation, and correct me if I am wrong here, is whether the actual fall of the universe must be represented by an account that is to some extent, a historical account. Whether Paul speaks of Adam rhetorically or (for want of a better term) literally, whether he speaks in such a way of Adam, a man or Adam, Mankind doesn’t change the fact that both you and I agree that the universe has actually fallen. You feel Genesis 1-3 demands to be read in some historical sense (I presume you do not believe we will discover the garden or the Cherubim so there are large details in the story that you do reject as history). I believe that the fall that has beset us came with the first human. Whether we call her Eve and set her in the Serengeti about 80,000 years ago or whether we call her Eve and set her in a Garden less than 10,000 years ago. I believe that this fall came through the first humans because I know that it has come into the world through me when I have rebelled against God and set myself up as the Master of my Universe. I have seen my self identity disintegrate, my relationships disintegrate and my action in the environment at large cause disintegration and my experience so fully matches the description offered in the Bible that it caused a conversion of my whole life when I recognised it.

      So with that in mind, I happily embrace the overwhelming testimony of God’s 2nd Revelation; that the universe is very old, that species differentiate through a process of genetic mutation caused by a myriad of factors across a vast span of time and that humankind arose and began thinking and writing and tool making and warring sometime in the last 100,000 years or so.

      I believe that God is at work sustaining every atom that merrily bounces around the Cosmos. I believe that God could have fabricated the world in 6 days as Moses laid it out. I do not reject the YEC reading of Genesis 1-3 because I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. The scope of the modern scientific explanation seems just as, if not more incredible to me. More pressingly, I believe that God became a Jewish carpenter in Palestine and that by dying as an insurrectionist criminal the whole of history turned around. On the credulity stakes, this is way out on the edge of the spectrum.

      But crucially, I believe that all of our learning will ultimately point us to the evidence of this event occuring and this shift in history being made. I don’t think we can immerse ourselves in literature or poetry or maths or geology or social psychology or genetic herbology and not find narrow, windy paths that lead back to the truth of this event. The Resurrection is beyond credulity and you can’t be argued into believing it but intellectual endeavour can bring you face to face with it. In the same way, the God of Truth wants us to engage fully in intellectual endeavour and run down all the broad avenues it provides. We can be sure that where we find truth in poetry or biology or maths or wherever, we find a reflection of our God.

    6. “I do want to say that I think your viewpoint on Genesis 1-3, taking it historically but not scientifically is a really valid reading.”

      Don’t worry, I am taking it for granted we’re discussing out of some sort of mutual respect.

      When I was younger I read a lot of YEC stuff and was eventually left very unconvinced by any of their arguments. I was attracted to the day-age reading of Genesis 1-3 (which allows it to fit somewhat with current scientific theory) but was held back for two (main) reasons: 1) I’m not sure of the validity of allowing science to influence the reading of scripture. The more I learn about how philosophy-driven science really is the more I become convinced of this. 2) The historicity of the fall account seems important to me. If one tries to locate it in an avolutionary history then the issue of when did proto-man become man and hence subject to the moral and ethical requirements of God. Or, put in a different way, when did proto-man — the created animal — become man — the image-bearing creature and a true ‘person’ capable of having an interpersonal relationship with the personal God. At what point in the chain is the concept of image-bearing meaningful? At what point is the idea of a fall meaningful? I am not convinced that there can be a ‘point’ at which it does in fact become meaningful.

      Having come to these objections as a teenager I more or less stopped there. There wasn’t enough rigour and sense from the creation science people, there wasn’t any grappling with the philosophical implications from the evolutionary science people and I was, frankly, unwilling to go down a path that would cause me to have to change my reading of scripture. I am still at this point – I fear that someday I will have to reappriase some passages in Scripture I have read as literal but I’m slow to do so without *really* good reason (not least because of laziness).

      “…doesn’t change the fact that both you and I agree that the universe has actually fallen.”

      I understand that the absence of an Adamic fall in no way contradicts the irrefutable evidence of both a) my personal fallen state and b) humanity in general’s fallen state. However, Paul would present the fall of the first man as at least a partial explanation of how this situation has come about, as well as a partial explanation of how the ‘last Adam’ might put things to rights.

      So, obviously neither of us denies the reality of the fall and in this sense we’re in agreement on the core issue. However, whether or not the fall was a reality was never really the point of the discussion.

      Credulity is also not an issue. That the transendant God would choose to reveal himself at all is the height of credulity.

      I am increasingly convinced that theology must thrive on the tension of opposites — on krisis, if you will. God is three yet one. God is sovereign and has foreknown and predestined everything, yet we have free will. Christ was God yet man. Etc., etc. Each of these is a pair of mutually exclusive options, an either or. Yet in each case both are true (well, unless you’re a 5-pointer calvinist and agree with the free-will bit). Much of this is down to frame of reference (ours vs. God). So, we must hold all of these contradictions in tension – such must be our theology. It’s krisis all the way.

      In order to render something credible we must submit it to our reason, but our reason is clearly completely insufficient when it comes to talk of God. Reason breaks down completely when it comes in contact with Him. That is, for me it is never a matter of credulity — our conceptions of the credible vs. the incredible are so constrained by our frame of reference and our simplistic ideas of ‘reason’ , and by the limits of the blunt object of our reason itself, as to be the height of silliness.

      So, if I’m not trying to conjure up for myself some sort of ‘explanation’ of creation, etc., that seems credible to me – what am I doing? I think you’re right in saying it’s a matter of hermeneutics. That is, at least one of three things need to happen to convince me to start to change my mind:
      1) it needs to be demonstrated that it really does *not* matter whether or not Paul believed there was an historical Adam as described in Gen 1-3 and that it does not matter that this belief is recorded in the Bible and that some of his theology is predicated upon this belief; or
      2) it needs to be demonstrated that Genesis 1-3 is best read as parable. This seems to me the most likely way I would be inclined to change my mind, because if properly demonstrated it would be a very valid point of view. It would make reading later parts of Genesis (some flood, anybody?) much easier for me. However, for this to happen (with respect to Gen 1-3) I feel I would need some valid alternative actual-historical fall or at least some explanation as to how such a thing could come about.

      I’m not expecting you to provide either of these, mind you. I’m just trying to outline the state of my brain.

      Oops. Long comment. Plus, I never read over comments (or spellcheck them). It adds to the excitement of it all!

    7. p.s. – I’d love an explanation of your terms “infallible” vs. “inerrant”. I’m having trouble differentiating between the two, but that could be my inner child talking.

    8. zoomtard says:

      Sorry about the delay. I have been away conferencing and just generally too busy/intimidated to make a response.

      1) We’re preaching through 1 Corinthians down at the old Christian Factory over the next few months so I will have a go at your point 1 in time.

      2) I think you answered yourself here. Genesis 1-11 is not a historical document. The particular passage we are discussing is written in the form Hebraic poetry. I fail to see the difficulty in reading Genesis 1-3 which just makes me an unempathic fool. Or something.

      As I understand it:
      Inerrant means everything in the book is true and without error. Infallible means its trustworthy. In the space between the two is a whole world of difference.

    9. We agree to a certain extent, of course, but we seem to be talking in circles on some matters – so maybe it’s best to leave it rest.

      I really do feel that an actual historical fall is needed to make huge chunks ot NT theology work (bits of Paul’s theology). Something other than special creation of man, at least, doesn’t seem to leave room for a historical fall. This still seems a problem for me, the benifits of reading early parts of Genesis of narrative notwithstanding.

      This being said, reading Genesis as science is certainly off, and ignoring its function as narrative (alongside it’s function as history even if not apart from it) is imperative to a proper understanding of it.

      Further discussion at some future point, I’m sure.

    10. zoomtard says:

      If Lucas is around, please don’t tear my following personal, hypothetical comments apart. Please:

      Bob,
      Indeed, the topic will be broached again. When Zoomtard is less zoomy. Say Eve and her clan, the first Homo Sapien family arose in the Serengeti some time about 75000 years ago. By her human nature, I imagine that very early in her life she began to wonder why she was here. Why she was who she was. Why! WHY!?!

      As we can know the answer through second revelation, Paul assurres us in Romans that she could know the answer. Yet I am fairly certain that as she reached the age of reason she also reached the age of deceit. She deceived herself about what she deep down knew- that God made her and put her here to fall in love with Him. This is what Calvin would call nisus. And she denied the image-bearingness of her life and lived as you and I lived before we were Christians. She fell.

      Romans 1, transplanted to the plains. I think that is how it happened.

    11. But surely it is arbitrary to decide that at a discrete point in evolutionary history a homo sapien popped out of a non-homo sapien’s womb and this new creature was endowed with reason, moral accountability and was, in fact, bearing the image of God. This flies in the face of the very definition of ‘evolution’, surely. Surely the evolution of ‘mind’ (for lack of a better term) would be much, much more gradual than that.

      That’s all of now – I must rush off to teach mathematics to undergraduates for whom questions of ‘mind’ may not be an issue.

    12. Greymalkin says:

      toss a coin dammit!

    13. […] This was one hell of a mind blowing conference. Sorry, summit. Everyone else was great, even though I had heard Hybels say most of what he had said before because Zoomtard is one well-connected fellow. And because he attended a Hybels training day in March. But just like the EAI conference at the end of last month, what was really encouraging was that the focus was not on making converts to Christianity. These men and women were concerned with the already here and still on-its-way arrival of the Kingdom of God. People who become disciples of Jesus are a natural outworking of the advancing Kingdom but numbers are not the point. Transformation is. Christians ended slavery. Christians have won the victories against racial hatred in our age. But still I think of Christian and I think judgemental and bigoted and self-interested and self-righteous. Then I stop looking in the mirror and think of other Christians and think much the same thing. This discrepancy is because for every Martin Luther King or Bill Hybels there seem to be a dozen Christians fighting over who has the most perfect doctrine or who is the most at fault or concerned with getting people to “tick a box for Jesus” rather than become agents in the biggest subversive cell in the world. Its still a sleeper cell but the more I come into contact with the work of people as diverse as Tom Wright, Mark Greene, Bono or Bill Hybels, I think it can be roused from its slumber. […]