“A Research Question Based on the Reading.”
The reading which I did in the two texts (Boyd’s and the Cognitive book) prompted me to think about some theological issues which I have not thought about for some time. Jonathan Edwards had a paper with the same title I used for this blog entry in the 1750’s. It was countered by Charles Chauncey at Harvard who wrote “A Winter’s morning response to a summer eves reflection . . .etc etc.
That was a couple of hundred years ago, but it seems the debate continues. Original Sin – or what Christians call “Sin Nature” could also be seen under the guise of “competition for sexual selection” in our text. The Puritans thought this was quite evil. Darwin (apparently) and his followers look at it as “natural” in the broadest sense of the word. This naturally (no pun intended) leads to the spin-off topics of Nature vs. Nurture. Are we the strange way we are because of innate nature? Can we overcome our “natural” tendencies to do bad stuff – like eating Scotty’s Donuts or ______ fill in the blank. Or are we determined on the path through life that we take?
Where am I in this debate? “When I was back there in Seminary School” as Jim Morrison would put it, I was a young earth Calvinist. The world was a pretty “determined” sort of place. But time has passed – my views have softened. I am more aware of my own fallibility, and I question much more the answers provided by theologians and philosophers on this issue (not to mention evolutionary theorists like Dawkins and Boyd.)
I feel like I have got my ship righted and back on course (wife, two kids, paid off house.) But questions remain. Is there a purpose to life? Does my fiction writing mean anything to anyone other than me and my small circle of readers? Our texts give some new directions for investigation. Sometimes I threw them down in anger. Or wrote angry “responses” to the Darwinian point of view. There’s some good writing, but some amateurish theology in these texts.
I thought I had left the topic of theology safely behind when I started this program. Tough to get a job with a Masters in Historical Theology. . . But now I’m not so sure I really resolved these questions, merely put them off. Have I really left the hound of heaven as far behind as I thought?