On this day in 4977 B.C. the universe was created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, considered a founder of modern science. Kepler’s 17th-century estimate was later estimated by scientists in the 20th century to be off by about 13.7 billion years. So, remember my timeline project? I kept finding online resources dating creation at 4004 BC, until I found BibleDiagrams.com, which has an extensive set of charts — very well done.
I confess that I fall behind in reading some of the books that come my way for review. A while back, I received a book on evolution that I just didn’t know when I’d get down to reading — but it just so happened that my friend Mike is interested in the subject and was already doing some reading on it. In the interest of getting a review posted sooner rather than later, I passed along the book to get his opinion — his review follows. In addition to these comments, Mike has also recommended Michael Spencer’s review, where Michael Dowd actually joins the comment thread part way through, making for an interesting discussion.
Darryl Dash observes that It’s about more than people, musing out of a week spent with Dan Block. It’s a good post with diagrams to illustrate our conception of the relationship between Yahweh and the People of God. In reality, there is a three-way relationship between Yahweh, the People of God, and the earth, or all of creation. After an illustrative quote from Hosea, Darryl writes,
I asked Dr. Block if this helps us understand the cosmic implications of the gospel, and he said, “Of course!” The gospel isn’t only about reestablishing a bipartite relationship between God and us; it restores a tripartite relationship between God, his people, and the earth. Not only is our relationship with God restored through Christ’s work, but creation itself is being redeemed.
Today is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment. I’ve just been writing this week about nature and our connectedness with it, a theme to which I’ll be returning on Blog Action Day later this month, along with more than 6,500 bloggers registered so far.
Dale Allison Jr. speculates in The Luminous Dusk: Finding God in the Deep, Still Places on wonder, and the impact of its loss. He gets there by observing a shift over time in the way people interpret and respond to major events such as natural disasters or even human-inspired catastrophes. Where once people would assume some fault in their relationship with God or the gods, they now assume some fault in God himself, if he exists: “Before 1700, misfortune made people doubt firstly themselves, not God and the Christian faith. Obviously, much depends on our prior inclinations. My question then is, What accounts for prior inclinations? In particular, what accounts for the medieval tendency to believe, or for the modern tendency to disbelieve?” (p.6-7) Just so we don’t get sidetracked, let’s imagine he’s using “modern” in its non-technical form to mean “today” despite the apparent reference to pre-modernity or post-medieval times, and despite the later reference to “us moderns.” I don’t consider myself “a modern” but perhaps the ongoing shift is the appropriate context for these observations… but we’re not getting sidetracked. Allison notes there can be no one answer, and goes on to consider possibilities, beginning with the concept of wonder, which is what I want to major on here.