April 2011
volume 23 (1)

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Editorial: The Bible, Ethics and the New Atheism

Rodney D. Holder
Pages: 2-2


Mystery and Ignorance

Peter J. Bussey
Pages: 3-21


This essay considers the difference between mystery and ignorance, where mystery is understood as that which cannot be comprehended by the human intellect. Confusion between these two categories may be an important element in the alleged conflict between religion and science. Different types of mystery are considered, some of which can be associated with experiences with religious overtones while others are of a more secular nature; these I call strong and everyday mystery respectively. In particular, we consider the view of Einstein that contemplation of the physical universe and its laws can generate exceptionally strong feelings of mystery. Although science is very accomplished at removing ignorance, mystery still remains after this has been achieved, and elements of mystery are a proper component of both religion and secular personal existence. I examine critically the world-view of rationalism, given that many affirmed rationalists see rational knowledge as being opposed both to mystery and religion. I argue that this is an erroneous position compounded by a confusion between ignorance and mystery. Some suggestions concerning how we relate to mystery in our lives are presented, together with a brief discussion of apophatic theology.


Theodicy and Geodesy: Who Is to Blame?

John Turl
Pages: 49-66


The Christian faith is often questioned when disasters happen. Undoubtedly some people do not want answers so much as to justify unbelief. It is the conviction of the author that many ‘know not what they ask’ and ‘do not stay for an answer’. Presumptions are made concerning God’s nature that need to be either stated or queried, and assumptions made concerning the wisdom and consequences of intervention. The haste with which disasters are labelled ‘acts of God’ is a sad reflection on the human tendency to deny responsibility, even where the evidence is to the contrary. This article examines some possible responses to such challenges.


Adam or Adamah?

R. J. Berry
Pages: 23-48


Many – perhaps most – commentators on the creation story in Genesis accept the conventional scientific understanding that at least several hundred hominids formed the ancestral group which gave rise to modern humankind, treating ‘Adam’ as a metaphor for this group and using the word as a play on adamah, which means ‘from the earth’. This is consistent as far as it goes, but it has the danger of being subservient to science and requiring hermeneutical gymnastics to accommodate robust interpretations of the relevance of the ‘Fall story’ and original sin, especially the force of Paul’s analogy in Romans 5:12-19 between the ‘first man’ and the ‘last man’. These difficulties disappear if we treat Adam as an individual imbued with God’s image, which does not spread through conventional Mendelian mechanisms, but depends on and is transmitted by God’s divine (and mysterious) action; God’s image in us reflects our relationship with him, which can be broken (as it was in the ‘Fall’), but is restored when we are ‘in Christ’. Our role on Earth is to foster this God-given relationship and the responsibilities implicit in caring for our fellows and other parts of creation.



Theistic evolution and the Fall

Dermot O'Callaghan
Pages: 67-68


User’s Guide to Science and Belief

Pages: 67-67


A Response to Dermot O’Callaghan

R J Berry
Pages: 69-72


Book reviews

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Nature and Scripture in the Abrahamic Religions

Jitse M. van der Meer Scott Mandelbrote (eds.) (Ernan McMullin)
Pages: 73-74

The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution, and the Problem of Evil

Christopher Southgate (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 74-76

In Reckless Hands: Skinner v. Oklahoma and the Near Triumph of American Eugenics

Victoria F. Nourse (Edward J. Larson)
Pages: 76-77

Teaching About Scientific Origins – Taking Account of Creationism, Volume 277, Counterpoints series – Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education

Leslie S Jones Michael J. Reiss (eds.) (John Ling)
Pages: 77-78

Against Atheism. Why Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris Are Fundamentally Wrong

Ian S. Markham (Peter Bussey)
Pages: 78-79

Horizons of Cosmology: Exploring Worlds Seen and Unseen

Joseph Silk (Paul Wraight)
Pages: 79-80

The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life

Stephen Hawking Leonard Mlodinow (Rodney Holder)
Pages: 80-81

Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity

David Sedley (Simon Mitton)
Pages: 82-83

Debating Darwin. Two Debates: Is Darwinism True & Does it Matter?

Graeme Finlay Stephen Lloyd Stephen Pattemore David Swift (Simon Kolstoe)
Pages: 83-84

The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

John H. Walton (Ernest Lucas)
Pages: 84-86

I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution

Denis Lamoureux (Graeme Finlay)
Pages: 86-87

Darwin and God

Nick Spencer (John Spicer)
Pages: 87-88

Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins

Denis Alexander Ronald Numbers (eds.) (Andrew Halestrap)
Pages: 88-89

Theology After Darwin

Michael S. Northcott R.J. Berry (eds.) (Celia Deane-Drummond)
Pages: 90-91

God, ethics and the human genome

Mark Bratton (ed.) (John Bryant)
Pages: 91-94

A Second Genesis: Stepping-stones Towards the Intelligibility of Nature

Julian Chela-Flores (Meric Srokosz)
Pages: 94-95

Religion-And-Science as Spiritual Quest for Meaning

Philip Hefner (Louise Hickman)
Pages: 95-96