Posts for Jun, 2005.

6/27/2005 11:15:00 AM

Gonzalez and Richards Intro and Chapter One

Posted Monday, June 27, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
Comments: 2
Show Introduction

Book(s) Review: Dan Brown, Deception Point (New York: Pocket Books, 2001); Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards, The Privileged Planet: How our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2004). 


One of the more surrealistic reading experiences you might engage in is to read Dan Brown’s Deception Point and Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards’ The Privileged Planet at the same time.  In the Brown novel, the theory is that, since we cannot, find intelligent life anywhere in the universe (presumably including Earth) a meteorite crashes into earth comprised of sedimentary rock and a colony of – get this – giant fossilized lice.  Bang your head on the desk a couple of times, take a deep breath and warp yourself into another universe wherein we evolved from the primordial slime and Earth was seeded by aliens and – like angels and Demons or The Da Vinci Code – you can just hang on for a Dan Brown kind of ride.  Just ignore the traditional factoid page that always gets Brown into trouble with people who think.  Because it is a novel, I will let you take the rest of the thrill ride without me. 


Conversely, Gonzalez and Richards have a riveting introduction to their work, subtitled: “How our place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery.”  After reading a review in Astronomy magazine wherein the book was panned, I went on-line to try and find out what the problem was – the reviewer left me clueless!  I discovered that it is in the genre of “Intelligent Design” and the pseudo-intelligentsia, in its relentless attempt to stifle thinking people, simply lampoons rather than engages.  After firing off a letter to the editor of Astronomy in which I trashed the review and pointed out the lack of credentials of the reviewer, I went right out and bought the book.  I have not been disappointed!

Read more of Gonzalez and Richards Intro and Chapter One

6/23/2005 11:30:00 AM

Book Review, Review Rhetoric Criticism of “Do we live on a ‘privileged’ planet?”

Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
Comments: 3
Show Introduction

Book Review, Review

Rhetoric Criticism of

“Do we live on a ‘privileged’ planet?”[1]

Reviewer Amy Coombs as seen through the eyes of G. D. Vreeland.


I read a review of The Privileged Planet written by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards,[2] and reviewed by Ms. Amy Coombs.  There was so little content to the review that I had to read between the lines to find out what was wrong with the reviewer and right with the book.  Part of it had to do with the pedigree and part of it had to do with the way she panned the book.  Actually, because of the way the book was trashed, I think I will buy the book and read it.  But in the mean time, let us take a look at some red flags she throws up in the attempt to make us believe that the book is not worth the print. 

[1] Amy Coombs, Astronomy (December 2004), 32:12, 104.

[2] Washington, D.C., Regnery Publishing, 2004.

Read more of Book Review, Review Rhetoric Criticism of “Do we live on a ‘privileged’ planet?”

6/23/2005 11:11:00 AM

Letter To Astronomy

Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 by Gerald Vreeland
Comments: 1
Show Introduction

Dear friend,

Greetings from CommencementBay on Puget Sound!  I am a grump, I know; but I really feel that Amy Coombs' review of "The Privileged Planet" did a certain disservice to a small, but statistically significant portion of your readership as well as the authors.  In the first place she insulted the authors by not noting their credentials.  Secondly, I had to go on line and read other reviews to find out what it was that irritated her so much.  Aha!  They are writing in the genre of "Intelligent Design” and we do not like that – NPR folks certainly wouldn’t!  She indicts them for not “analyzing research,” dwelling on “philosophical statements by Carl Sagan” and not focusing on “peer-reviewed studies.”  Wow!  What a dis on Gonzalez!  He has over 60 “peer-reviewed” publications.  Like it or not, Sagan is our philosophical grandfather and he should be debated.  Who better than someone trained in Modal Logic and Philosophy of Science? 

Read more of Letter To Astronomy

6/21/2005 9:00:00 AM

The Matter of the Heart

The place of the heart in Scripture

Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 by Brian Beers
Comments: 4
Show Introduction

A close reading of Scripture is a dangerous activity. A year ago, I was prompted to examine how the heart is discussed in the Bible. This prompting was to go beyond the direct statements about hearts such as Jeremiah 17:9 (The heart is deceitful above all things). What I found was disturbing.  The good news is that we already know that the heart is the “inner man.” The bad news is that those pesky Hebrews used “heart” in a way that doesn’t fit with my anthropology. The good news is that we have translations to smooth out the oddities and obscure otherwise distinctive differences between passages. The bad news is that I decided to dig into the actual Hebrew text. The good news is that I have decided to confess.

My preliminary observations have lead me to believe that the heart was not simply a vague notion of the “inner man.” In the Scriptural understanding of human nature the heart had a particular role. What also fascinates me is that Scripture describes God interacting with his heart in the same way it describes a man interacting with his heart. As we examine these passages, I challenge you to refrain from immediately Westernizing the Scriptures—reducing them to concepts that we already know. This can be disconcerting because they were written thousands of years ago and not according to Western sensibilities. But if we change their meaning by substituting a concept that is easier for us to understand, we forfeit the authority of Scripture.

Read more of The Matter of the Heart

6/18/2005 6:47:00 PM

Holy Matrimony?

Toward a biblical view of vow-officiating for unbelievers -or- Sam holds a lightning rod aloft

Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 by Sam Yeiter
Comments: 11
Show Introduction

I hope to begin a dialogue on the question of marrying those outside the Church.  I hold a double standard, expecting one thing of unbelievers and something probably quite different for believers.  In this post i will only address the former.  I look forward to a vibrant discussion.

Read more of Holy Matrimony?

6/14/2005 9:47:00 AM

A New Theoblogian

Welcome to Sam Yeiter

Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005 by Brian Beers
Comments: None
Show Introduction

I am pleased to announce that Sam Yeiter from some where far, far away will be contributing to Sam graduated from NBS two years ago and has been a true friend to me throughout my time at seminary. Sam is a pastor, and we can look forward to his emphasis on pastoral theology.


Read more of A New Theoblogian

6/14/2005 7:00:00 AM

A Venerable Theoblogian

We welcome Dr. Gerald Vreeland

Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005 by Brian Beers
Comments: 1
Show Introduction

Dr. Vreeland is a professor at Northwest Baptist Seminary, and that is just the latest of many places of ministry for him. He has been at Northwest for 4 years, and his courses in Old Testament literature have had a profound effect on my approach to Scripture.

At last Thursday's senior banquet when all the professors were asked to share what they were thinking when they graduated from seminary as well as a "pithy bit of wisdom" Dr. Vreeland shared the following.


Read more of A Venerable Theoblogian

6/10/2005 3:10:00 PM


The definitive beginning

Posted Friday, June 10, 2005 by Brian Beers
Comments: 1
Show Introduction

the·ol·o·gy (thE-'ä-l&-jE) noun
1 : the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God's relation to the world

theo·lo·gian (thE-&-'lO-j&n) noun
1 : a specialist in theology

theo·blo·gian (thE-&-'blO-j&n) noun
1 : a theologian who has discovered the art of blogging.

Read more of Introducing