Archive for February, 2012

February 29th, 2012

An Outline of the Book of Genesis

by Max Andrews

The following is very brief outline of the book of Genesis.

Genesis:  The beginnings (This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord made the heavens and the earth.  Gen. 2:4 NASB)

Theme Verse(s)In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:1, 10b (NASB)

Author:  Moses (Pentateuch Authorship:  Ex. 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Num. 33:1-2; Deut. 31:9)

Date, Place, and Type of Writing:  1450-1410 BC, General Middle East, Historical

Outline:

*A.  Theological Significances  B.  Practical Applications C.  Major Events  —Multiple or None Major

1.  The Creation—1-2

A.  The Creator creates everything (anything not created is God—cosmological argument—c.f. John 1:3).

  • There are supposed contradictory Creation accounts between chapters 1 & 2.  Chapter 2 is another account in supplementation to the first account by adding details (i.e. we are told that God created man (a generic term here) male and female (v 27), but this does not mean that the first creature was a male-female combination.  The details of that creation of the male Adam and the female Eve are given in 2:18-23.  Likewise, verse 5 adds details about the creation of vegetation on the third day.
  •  Creation was good, untainted by sin (1:10b).
    read more »

February 29th, 2012

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

by Max Andrews

Important Heresies and Orthodoxy

GROUP

TIME

HUMAN NATURE

DIVINE NATURE

CHURCH COUNCIL

Docetism

1st Century

Denied—only an appearance of humanity

Affirmed

Ebionism

2nd Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was natural son of Joseph and Mary

Arianism

4th Century

Affirmed

Denied—Jesus was not eternal; similar to, but not same as God Condemned by Nicea, 325

Apollinarianism

4th Century

Divine Logos replaced human spirit

Affirmed

Condemned by Constantinople, 680

Nestorianism

5th Century

Christ was two Persons

Condemned by Ephesus, 431
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February 29th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Logos, Λογος

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Logos, λογος

Definition: The Logos is the second person in the godhead of the Trinity–Jesus.  The Logos is the preexistent person of Jesus.

More about the term:   Logos is the reason or mind of God (not to be confused with unitarianism).  It is the creative force behind the creation of the world, which in turn, gives the world its rational structure.  The reason why the world is a logical place open to rational investigation is because it bears the imprint of the Logos (the reason or rationality of the God who created it).

God the Father existed without the universe but having within Him His Word or reason.  This proceeded forth from Him (Just as the Holy Spirit proceeds from the mind of God).  The pre-incarnate Christ (John 3:13, 31), Son of God, exists as the mind and reason of the Father (eternally rational). 

February 25th, 2012

Quantum Physics: How Small? How Fast? How Long?

by Max Andrews

Length

Atomic nuclei range from about 10-4 to 10-5 of the size of an atom.  If the atom were about the size of a medium-sized airport (say, 3 km) then the nucleus would be about 30 cm, about the size of a basketball.  Now imagine the airport, 3 km, having a sphere encompassing it.  If you change the basketball to a golf ball you have a rough scale of the hydrogen atom with its central proton.  Inside the golf ball are the quarks.  Change the scale from the proton being the size of a golf ball to the size of a marble, about 1 cm.  The sphere is now the size of the earth’s orbit.  The actual size of a proton is about 10-15m.  This is equivalent to one femtometer, or one Fermi (1 fm).  The smallest distance probed is 10-18m, which is one thousandth of a fermi.  The fundamental particles such as quarks are smaller than this.

The radius of the Hubble volume, or known universe, is about fourteen billion light years, which is about 1026m away.  The size of your desk is about 1026 times smaller than the universe and only 1018 times larger than the smallest probed distance.  The mean distance between the large distance of the universe and the smallest distance probed is 104m, or 10 km.  This means that the mean distance of the universe is about six miles.

February 24th, 2012

St. Paul and the Philosophers

by Max Andrews

Athens’ leading schools of philosophical thought were the Epicurean and Stoic schools, these philosophies were the leading representatives in the confusion caused by Paul’s preaching in Acts 17. Epicureanism, founded by Epicurus (342-270 BC), is mainly a materialist philosophy believing that the universe is composed mainly of atoms but does not deny the existence of gods.  However, there was no belief in divine providence, and life’s purpose was to live as free from pain as possible.[1]  The Epicureans were very existential and would accept the notion of existence before essence or material before immaterial.[2]  They abandoned the search by reason for truth and adopted a hedonistic approach to life through experience.  According to John, in his Gospel account, even Pilate had a desire to search and find truth (John 18:38).

The Stoic school of thought was one of harmony with nature, using rational abilities one possesses, and depending only on oneself for needs.  Their theology of God is some sort of world soul similar to pantheism.  Stoicism was founded by Zeno (340-265 BC) and took its name from a “painted stoa.”[3]  While these two philosophies are different, they are both secular alternatives to dealing with life and problems.

February 23rd, 2012

Theology Thursday: St. Ambrose of Milan

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397)

General summary of Ambrose and his theology: St. Ambrose is one of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin church along with St. Jerome (345-420), St. Augustine (354-430), and St. Gregory the Great (530-604). Ambrose was born into the increasingly prevalent Christian minority of the aristocracy. His father was Praetorian prefect of Gaul.  His father died not long after he was born, leaving his mother and sister to raise him.  His training was in law, and included a knowledge of Greek.  He followed his father into the imperial administration and, after practicing in Roman law courts, was appointed governor of Aemilia-Liguria, ca. 370, the seat of which was Milan.

There was a situation in Milan in 373.  The earlier orthodox bishop had been exiled by the Arian emperor, Constantius, in 343.  An Arian bishop, Auxentius, had been installed in his place, by Gregory, the intruded bishop of Alexandria (Athanasius’s supplanter).  Now, after thirty long years of Arian rule, Auxentius was dead, and both sides wanted control of the see.  Because the possibility of civil disorder was great, Ambrose, who was by this time governor, attended the election. 

February 22nd, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Reduplicated Predication in Christology

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Reduplicated Predication

Definition: A means of understanding the relationship between the natures of Jesus Christ.  When Scripture attributes human qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his human nature.  Likewise, when Scripture attributes divine qualities to Jesus they must be predicated to his divine nature.

More about the term:  With this notion, we may be able to solve the issue of predicates to the Person.  The predicate property of the person is with respect to one nature (i.e. ignorance with humanity and omniscience with divinity—hunger and fatigue with humanity, necessity with divinity).

But now there is a problem.  Once we apply this to Jesus, such predicates like omniscience and ignorance, and impeccability and humanity seem to be incompatible.  It poses a problem with limitations.  Is this irremediable?  I don’t believe so.

Further qualification—We may postulate that divine aspects of Jesus were largely subliminal during humiliation (ministry before death).

February 21st, 2012

Where’s the Line of Demarcation Between Science and Pseudoscience?

by Max Andrews

There isn’t a straight line of demarcation between science and pseudoscience (PS), which is universally applicable in all fields categorized as scientific.  A general guide for demarcating between the two is that the theory should have observable evidence, provides predictions, uses non-controversial reasoning, and is repeatable.  These are simply guidelines and do not necessarily count as criteria for disqualifying a theory if all aren’t met because some are simply untenable depending on the field in which they are applied.  Falsification is not necessary for a scientific theory but it does help substantiate the theory as a robust scientific theory.

When considering the criterion of observable evidence I make the distinction between observation and what is empirical.  Something may be observed and qualify as evidence even though it’s not related to material causes.  This is where the distinction between Duhemian science and Augustinian science must be made. I would deny the use of Duhemian science.  This method, or philosophy, has a goal of stripping science from all metaphysical imports.  Augustinian science is open to metaphysical presuppositions with science.  In the mid 1800’s William Whewell was the first to restrict science to only mean natural science.  Pierre Duhem followed this idea and constructed a methodology, which barred explanations to material causes.  For instance, agent causation is completely compatible with Augustinian science but is prohibited as a scientific explanation in Duhemian science.  Agent causation is something that can be observed but isn’t necessarily reductionistic in the material sense as with material causation because agent causation has metaphysical import.

February 21st, 2012

If I Were an Atheist…

by Max Andrews

When it comes to philosophy there are three things I ponder deeply about every day.  I’m not exaggerating when I say these things.  I think about God every hour I’m awake.  He plagues my thought and attention.  I often think about my relation to him, how he is who he is, his providence, his action in the world, etc.  It is so foreign to me when Christians say that they don’t think about God from day-to-day.  The second idea that occupies my thought is death.  I don’t think I’m morbid about this; I think I’m just being honest with myself.  I wonder what it’s like to die, that moment in between life and death. Is it painful? Is it joyful and painless?  What is it like to see the Lord for the first time?  The third thought I think about isn’t as often as the formers but is nonetheless occurent.  It’s the question: “What would it take for me to be an atheist?”

I certainly believe Christianity is falsifiable, that is, to be proven false.  I think there is biblical warrant for this.  Consider 1 Corinthians 15.17 when Paul says that if Christ had not risen from the dead then our faith is in vain.  To show Christianity is false one must demonstrate that the resurrection of Jesus did not happen.  I was speaking with my professor over lunch a month or so back and we struck up a conversation on what it would take for us to be atheists.  Proving the resurrection false doesn’t disprove God, it just disproves Christianity.

February 21st, 2012

100,000th Visitor to the Blog Wins a Free Book

by Max Andrews

The blog has recently passed over 50,000 views and increases by thousands in less than a week.  The 100,00th visitor will receive a free book from I will send to their house.  You’ll have the option of a theology, philosophy, or science book (actual options soon to come). If you already possess the books I’ll list then you can certainly pick a book within a reasonable price range and I’ll order it for you.

In order to win you must take a screenshot of your computer screen that includes the date and time and the 100,000th visitor stat midway down the right side of the screen of the blog.

In the comment section please list any books you’d be interested in me offering for the prize.