Science, Philosophy, Prophecy

In discussing various topics on my website I draw upon various sources of truth, of spiritual authority. Of course, the Bible is a key source of truth, after all, it is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God. But it is not the only source of truth.

This article describes where else I look to for truth.

Various terms I use...

  1. Junk science: creationism and intelligent design.
  2. Junk philosophy: all of it, for three reasons...
    1. Aristotle and others because they accept mind but have no framework for it. Must include God and the spiritual realm.
    2. Many modern philosophers because they create a mental construct on top of reality similar to what Freud did, an invented story of reality.
    3. Atheistic philosophy which makes no sense. (Atheistic science makes sense; atheistic philosophy doesn't.)
  3. Junk theology: most all Catholic and Protestant theology including Aquinas and Augustine and previous. Such things as legal and judicial justification, original sin transmitted via procreation, discussions of things God can or can't do, God kills people and commands people to kill people, evil is merely the absence of good, and others I discuss elsewhere. It's based on junk philosophy, Roman and Greek political science, and other influences. It's all so cerebral, based on logic, non-mystical.
  4. Scientific philosophy: My system having the following ingredients...
    • Accept science except: (1) Atheism, and (2) rejection of spiritual realm.
    • The Trinitarian God of Christianity.
    • Existence of the spiritual realm having souls created by God with free will who can reject him resulting in evil and sin.
    • The Christian gospel of redemption.

Science 

The Bible is not a book about science, nor is Christianity a religion about science. But there are many passages in the Bible touching upon scientific topics.

Science cannot contradict the Bible and the Bible cannot contradict science; it's that simple. Both are sources of truth.

That being said, not all scientific proclamations are actually true. Certain claims will surely be changed in the future (as they were changed in the past) and certain claims are not even in the realm of science at all.

Regarding young universe, young earth, Adam and Eve the first humans only 10,000 years ago, the global flood...

  1. The Bible does not teach these when interpreted literally.
  2. Trying to prove these using the geological record is, for me, very unsatisfying. A vapor canopy above the clouds? No way. The Grand Canyon formed from soft mud in one year? Unbelievable. The universe appears old because God created it to look old? Absurd.

I accept the following scientific observations as accurate...

  1. The first true humans 200,000 years ago.
  2. Adam and Eve at the beginning of redemption history, at the dawn of agriculture about 10,000 B.C., the first monotheists who worshipped the one true God.
  3. Pain and suffering have existed since the first creatures capable of experiencing these.
  4. Natural selection and evolution.
  5. The earth is very old, and the universe much older still.
  6. There was never a global flood covering the earth. When the earth was young long before there were creatures, the earth very well may have be covered in water; but this is not Noah's flood.

I accept the foundational orthodox Christian teachings...

  1. Adam and Eve were literal people, tempted by Satan who appeared as a serpent. They ate from the tree and original sin began.
  2. Each species was created under the guidance and oversight of God, not from merely random genetic mutations. These were not random, but guided.
  3. Jesus is deity, the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, who literally took on human form from the virgin Mary; he literally died and was resurrected.
  4. Original sin which separates us from God and requires faith in Jesus for redemption.
  5. Judgment to eternal hell for those who reject God's love; eternity in the new heavens and new earth in a resurrected body for the others.

I reject the notion of a pre-Adamic race before Genesis 1:2.

In my view, the Bible is to be interpreted strictly literally.

Regarding miracles: I believe the Bible accounts of miracles are true, and I believe miracles can still happen today (but they are rare).


Philosophy

The domain of philosophy is unprovable with scientific experiments. From the ancient Greeks continuing into our modern day, philosophers continue to muse about the nature of reality and of human nature. Having studied some of their views I conclude they have not framed the questions correctly. Philosophy should address the spiritual realm as it relates to God's plans and purposes; it should have as its focus: (1) the soul and (2) the spiritual realm.

Early philosophers tried to explain the non-material aspects of reality in the same way scientists explain the physical realm; inventing laws and constructs. For example, for the physical realm we have: space, matter, time, energy, the natural laws — everything can be explained in terms of these. But these can never explain such things as: consciousness, evil, love, emotion, passion, thought, memory, etc., etc.

Philosophers fill the void by creating non-material constructs such as: form and substance, Freud's ego and id, universal ideas, perfect intelligence, the soul as the principle of life and movement, causality, perceptions and impressions and ideas, categorical imperative, Hegel's dialectic, utility, reality as the embodiment of rationality, dialectical materialism, God is dead, the Will to Power, the Superman, determinism.

I should note there are many astute observations and much truth in the statements of Philosophers.

It seems to me what is missing here is the proper distinction between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm contains all things living such as souls, ideas, memories, thoughts, symbols, culture, God, spiritual beings, etc., etc. Philosophy is, really, just the study of the spiritual realm, the study of the soul.

I am especially interested in the question of consciousness because it is the most troublesome to science; it is unsatisfying to merely assert that consciousness is explained if you can map brain activity to conscious experience.

The problem with philosophy is there are so many systems, each contradicting the others, none leading to the essential conclusion and purpose of life which is God. I propose we abandon all this and frame philosophy in terms of the essential reality, which is...

  1. God is.
  2. God created all the material and spiritual realms.
  3. God created creatures to have relationship with himself.
  4. God created human nature and took on this human nature in the incarnation of Jesus.

Therefore, I developed my philosophical system with the above goals in mind. Since the purpose of life is God, the purpose of philosophy is to study life, to study the soul and its interaction with God. So, in encountering philosophical topics, I merely reframe them in the context of Christianity.


Prophecy

Some biblical prophecies can be validated by history. Such and such an event was predicted to occur and it can be clearly shown to have occurred in all details as predicted.

Most prophecy is specifically for the people of the time — or at least that's what they think; they understand it from their culture and historical circumstances. The images make sense to them and the prophecy is understandable. But often, it's also about the future, even yet-future from today. The images weave around each other, sometime emphasizing one, sometimes the other. Time frames lurch wildly from one scene to the next.

Some biblical prophecies may have yet-future fulfillment. We can never know for sure because the future is, by definition, unknowable. Even our eternal redemption is manifest only in our faith.

Many biblical prophecies are unclear. Perhaps some made sense to someone in the past but the meanings are now lost to us. Perhaps some are literally fulfilled only in the spiritual realm, a realm having spiritual bodies and spiritual creatures including the souls of humans; both deceased as well as still living.

My policy is: if I can't demonstrate a given prophecy has such and such a fulfillment, I drop it. There is no other source of truth to measure these against as there is with scientific factors. Although I do propose theories and explanations for many Biblical topics, I am unwilling to stake a claim on a certain interpretation of a prophetic passage, especially one that may be yet-future. I will not announce once and for all that I have discovered the true meaning.

Critics of the Bible assume that all fulfilled prophecy was written after the fact and is, therefore, history. Perhaps some is.


Faith

About the interactions of propositions of truth, belief, knowledge, faith.

A proposition is a sentence, a statement, having truth value (true or false). Truth is concerned with whether propositions match reality. This assumes we have 100% certainly. But there are considerations about perception, the processing of the brain, the nature of reality (material vs merely a mental construct), and others which make this 100% certainty impossible. (I am 100% certain of this.)

Even such abstract propositions as: 2 + 2 = 4, assume things about the mental realm. I think the best course is to assume that truth can be known only with a high probability of certainly, never with 100% certainty. We use induction as well as deduction to determine truth, and the conclusions of induction are never 100% certain.

Christianity is based on truth, upon truth claims regarding the Bible, the person and nature of Jesus Christ, the human condition in this sin stained universe, and the proper way to practice the Christian religion. (Yes, Christianity is a religion, notwithstanding those dum-dums who insist "it's a relationship, not a religion".) The Christian faith uses the ingredients of truth, belief, faith, and knowledge.

Fundamentalist evangelical Protestants generally assume the Bible provides them with 100% certainty about the truth claims of the gospel and that we should believe these, meaning, we should accept them as if they are true. Then, we live out our lives in faith based on these beliefs. The assumption is that belief and knowledge are the same things.

Philosophy uses the words belief and knowledge having different meanings. Both concern truth — about whether the propositions match reality. Belief is when you think they do: but maybe they do, maybe they don't. Knowledge is when these propositions actually do match reality. So it is possible (likely?) someone's belief is wrong belief, belief without knowledge. We should prefer knowledge over belief.

But even knowledge is never 100% certain. Faith is the important aspect of: (1) when we assess propositions, (2) determine them to be highly likely as being knowledge (rather than mere errant belief), and (3) most importantly, live our lives and base our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior as if they are true. (Note: I am not considering the role of works in faith, I address this topic elsewhere.)

My conclusion is that the gospel is true but that most of Christianity has made serious errors in understanding its nature and practice — even the apostles made some errors. Yet in spite of this, putting faith in Jesus Christ, the Nicene Creed, and the Bible (as interpreted via Church History and human history) is the only sensible way to live.