The Tentative Apologist
10/10/11 at 11:13 AM 0 Comments

Worldviews: A Conversation with Barry

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I have enjoyed having a convesation with Barry Bowen about the concept of worldview. Unfortunately extended comments in the threads at the Christian Post are very hard to follow since paragraph breaks are not allowed and thus everything gets mashed together. So I have reproduced my response to Barry here: 

Barry: "if Christian convictions cannot contradict scripture, then there shouldn't be anything wrong with using the term "biblical worldview" because then the Bible is our standard for right and wrong."

Randal: "I don't understand your reasoning here. The second part of your statement doesn't follow logically from the first part. Your statement that the Bible is our standard for right and wrong is actually falsified by the Bible itself. Read what Paul says about natural law in Romans 1 and 2 for example. And read how he engages the Athenians in Acts 17. He actually affirms the wisdom of the Stoics by quoting from Epimenides and Aratus."

Barry: "germ theory of disease and plate tectonics have nothing to do with morality, do they?"

Randal: "No, they don't. But scientific theories form part of our worldview and we don't know them from the Bible."

Barry: "reading your comments I have concluded that you believe the Bible isn't enough and oppose sola scriptura."

Randal: "The Bible isn't enough for what? Oppose sola scriptura in what sense?"

Barry: "I believe you are a supporter of a science plus Bible viewpoint. That means you believe Christians should rely on extra-biblical sources for their worldview."

Randal: "Wait a minute. Surely you accept heliocentrism, don't you? But the writers of scripture were geocentrists."

Additional Comments

I am perplexed about the charge that I have a science plus Bible viewpoint, because every Christian surely rethinks their understanding of doctrine and scripture in the light of what we learn about the natural world. Barry mentioned old earth theories, for example (the gap and day age theories being two of them). And he believed those were acceptable. But those are theories motivated by an attempt to reconcile Genesis 1 with the evidence for an old earth. And since we no longer accept Paul's three storied view of the universe (as depicted in Philippians 2) we need to rethink the ascension in light of current cosmology. (What did it mean for Jesus to ascend to heaven when heaven isn't, strictly speaking, something you can ascend up to?) And since we now know there isn't a raqiya (a hard dome vault) in the sky holding back the waters above (Gen. 1:6) we have to reinterpret the meaning and/or significance of passages like this as well.  

Wrestling with these kinds of questions and reinterpreting the faith for each generation in light of the knowledge of that generation is precisely what it is that systematic theologians do.

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