Michael Polanyi – scientist and believer 1891-1976

Michael Polanyi – scientist and believer 1891-1976 – from Wikipedia

Michael Polanyi, FRS[1] (11 March 1891 – 22 February 1976) was a Hungarian polymath, who made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. He argues that positivism supplies a false account of knowing, which if taken seriously undermines our highest achievements as human beings.

His wide-ranging research in physical science included chemical kinetics, x-ray diffraction, and adsorption of gases. He pioneered the theory of fiber diffraction analysis in 1921, and the dislocation theory of plastic deformation of ductile metals and other materials in 1934.

He emigrated to Germany, in 1926 becoming a chemistry professor at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, and then in 1933 to England, becoming first a chemistry professor, and then a social sciences professor at the University of Manchester. Two of his chemistry pupils and his son won Nobel Prizes. He was elected to the Royal Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His contributions to the social sciences, for example his application of the concept of a polycentric spontaneous order, were developed in the context of his opposition to central planning.

Early life

Polanyi, born in Budapest, was the fifth child of Mihály and Cecília Pollacsek, secular Jews from Ungvár (then in Hungary but now in the Ukraine) and Vilnius in Lithuania, respectively. His father’s family were entrepreneurs, while his mother’s father was the chief rabbi of Vilnius. The family moved to Budapest and Magyarized their surname to Polányi. His father built much of the Hungarian railway system, but lost most of his fortune in 1899 when bad weather caused a railway building project to go over budget. He died in 1905. Cecília Polanyi established a salon that was well known among Budapest’s intellectuals, and which continued until her death in 1939. His older brother was Karl Polanyi, the political economist and anthropologist, and his niece was Eva Zeisel, a world-renowned ceramist.[2]

Education

In 1909, after leaving the famous Budapest teacher-training secondary school (Mintagymnasium), he trained as a physician, obtaining a medical diploma in 1914. He was an active member of the Galilei Society. With the support of Ignác Pfeifer, professor of chemistry at the József Technical University of Budapest, he obtained a scholarship to study chemistry at the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe, Germany. In the First World War, he served in the Austro-Hungarian army as a medical officer, and was sent to the Serbian front. While on sick-leave in 1916, he wrote a PhD thesis on adsorption. His research, which was encouraged by Albert Einstein, was supervised by Gusztáv Buchböck, and in 1919 the University of Budapest awarded him a doctorate.

Career

In October 1918, Mihály Károlyi established the Hungarian Democratic Republic, and Polanyi became Secretary to the Minister of Health. When Communists seized power in March 1919 he refused to serve in the Red Army and returned to medicine. When the Hungarian Soviet Republic was overthrown, Polanyi emigrated to Karlsruhe, and was invited by Fritz Haber to join the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut für Faserstoffchemie in Berlin. In 1923 Polanyi converted to Christianity, and in a Roman Catholic ceremony married Magda Elizabeth Kemeny. In 1926 he became the professorial head of department of the Institut für Physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie. In 1929, Magda gave birth to their son John, who when he reached adulthood settled in Canada, and was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1986. Their other son, George Polanyi, became a well-known British economist.

His experience of runaway inflation and high unemployment in Weimar Germany led Polanyi to become interested in economics. With the coming to power in 1933 of the Nazi party, he accepted a chair in physical chemistry at the University of Manchester. Two of his pupils, Eugene Wigner and Melvin Calvin went on to win a Nobel Prize. Because of his increasing interest in the social sciences, Manchester University created a new chair in Social Science (1948–58) for him.

In 1944 Polanyi was elected a member of the Royal Society,[1] and on his retirement from the University of Manchester in 1958 he was elected a Senior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. In 1962 he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[3]

Work

Physical chemistry

Polanyi’s scientific interests were extremely diverse, including work in chemical kinetics, x-ray diffraction, and the adsorption of gases at solid surfaces. In 1921, he laid the mathematical foundation of fiber diffraction analysis. In 1934, Polanyi, at about the same time as G. I. Taylor and Egon Orowan, realised that the plastic deformation of ductile materials could be explained in terms of the theory of dislocations which had been developed by Vito Volterra in 1905. The insight was critical in developing the field of solid mechanics.

Freedom and community

In 1936, as a consequence of an invitation to give lectures for the Ministry of Heavy Industry in the USSR, Polanyi met Bukharin, who told him that in socialist societies all scientific research is directed to accord with the needs of the latest Five Year Plan. Polanyi noted what had happened to the study of genetics in the Soviet Union once the doctrines of Trofim Lysenko had gained the backing of the State. Demands in Britain, for example by the Marxist John Desmond Bernal, for centrally planned scientific research led Polanyi to defend the claim that science requires free debate. Together with John Baker, he founded the influential Society for Freedom in Science.

In a series of articles, re-published in The Contempt of Freedom (1940) and The Logic of Liberty (1951), Polanyi claimed that co-operation amongst scientists is analogous to the way in which agents co-ordinate themselves within a free market. Just as consumers in a free market determine the value of products, science is a spontaneous order that arises as a consequence of open debate amongst specialists. Science (contrary to the claims of Bukharin) flourishes when scientists have the liberty to pursue truth as an end in itself:

“[S]cientists, freely making their own choice of problems and pursuing them in the light of their own personal judgment, are in fact co-operating as members of a closely knit organization.”

“Such self-co-ordination of independent initiatives leads to a joint result which is unpremeditated by any of those who bring it about.”

“Any attempt to organize the group … under a single authority would eliminate their independent initiatives, and thus reduce their joint effectiveness to that of the single person directing them from the centre. It would, in effect, paralyse their co-operation.”

He derived the phrase spontaneous order from Gestalt psychology, and it was adopted by the classical liberal economist Frederick Hayek, although the concept can be traced back to at least Adam Smith. Polanyi (unlike Hayek) argued that there are higher and lower forms of spontaneous order, and he asserted that defending scientific inquiry on utilitarian or sceptical grounds undermined the practice of science. He extends this into a general claim about free societies. Polanyi defends a free society not on the negative grounds that we ought to respect “private liberties”, but on the positive grounds that “public liberties” facilitate our pursuit of objective ideals.

According to Polanyi a free society which strives to be value neutral undermines its own justification. But it is not enough for the members of a free society to believe that ideals such as truth, justice, and beauty, are objective, they also have to accept that they transcend our ability to wholly capture them. The objectivity of values has to be combined with acceptance that all knowing is fallible.

In Full Employment and Free Trade (1948) Polanyi analyses the way in which money circulates around an economy, and in a monetarist analysis which according to Paul Craig Roberts was thirty years ahead of its time, he argues that a free market economy should not be left to be wholly self-adjusting. A central bank should attempt to moderate economic booms/busts via a strict/loose monetary policy.

All knowing is personal

In his book Science, Faith and Society (1946), Polanyi set out his opposition to a positivist account of science, noting that it ignores the role which personal commitments play in the practice of science. Polanyi was invited to give the prestigious Gifford Lectures in 1951-2 at Aberdeen. A revised version of his lectures were later published as Personal Knowledge (1958). In this book Polanyi claims that all knowledge claims (including those which are derived from rules) rely on personal judgements.[4] He denies that a scientific method can yield truth mechanically. All knowing, no matter how formalised, relies upon commitments. Polanyi argued that the assumptions which underlie critical philosophy are not only false, they undermine the commitments which motivate our highest achievements. He advocates a fiduciary post-critical approach, in which we recognise that we believe more than we can prove, and know more than we can say.

A knower does not stand apart from the universe, but participates personally within it. Our intellectual skills are driven by passionate commitments that motivate discovery and validation. According to Polanyi, a great scientist not only identifies patterns, but also chooses significant questions likely to lead to a successful resolution. Innovators risk their reputation by committing to a hypothesis. Polanyi cites the example of Copernicus, who declared that the Earth revolves around the Sun. He claims that Copernicus arrived at the Earth’s true relation to the Sun not as a consequence of following a method, but via “the greater intellectual satisfaction he derived from the celestial panorama as seen from the Sun instead of the Earth.”[5] Polanyi’s writings on the practice of science influenced Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend.

Polanyi rejected the claim by British Empiricists that experience can be reduced into sense data, but he also rejects the notion that “indwelling” within (sometimes incompatible) interpretative frameworks traps us within them. Our tacit awareness connects us, albeit fallibly, with reality. It supplies us with the context within which our articulations have meaning. Contrary to the views of his colleague and friend Alan Turing, whose work at The University of Manchester prepared the way for the first modern computer, he denied that minds are reducible to collections of rules. His work influenced the critique by Hubert Dreyfus of “First Generation” Artificial Intelligence.

It was while writing Personal Knowledge that he identified the “structure of tacit knowing“. He viewed it as his most important discovery. He claimed that we experience the world by integrating our subsidiary awareness into a focal awareness. In his later work, for example his Terry Lectures, later published as The Tacit Dimension (1966) he distinguishes between the phenomenological, instrumental, semantic, and ontological aspects of tacit knowing, as discussed (but not necessarily identified as such) in his previous writing.

Critique of reductionism

In “Life’s irreducible structure” (1968),[6] Polanyi argues that the information contained in the DNA molecule is not reducible to the laws of physics and chemistry. Although a DNA molecule cannot exist without physical properties, these properties are constrained by higher-level ordering principles. In “Transcendence and Self-transcendence” (1970),[7] Polanyi criticizes the mechanistic world view that modern science inherited from Galileo.

Polanyi advocates emergence i.e. the claim that there are several levels of reality and of causality. He relies on the assumption that boundary conditions supply degrees of freedom that, instead of being random, are determined by higher-level realities, whose properties are dependent on but distinct from the lower level from which they emerge. An example of a higher-level reality functioning as a downward causal force is consciousness – intentionality – generating meanings – intensionality.

Mind is a higher-level expression of the capacity of living organisms for discrimination. Our pursuit of self-set ideals such as truth and justice enriches our awareness of the world. The reductionistic attempt to reduce higher-level realities into lower-level realities generates what Polanyi calls a moral inversion, in which the higher is rejected with moral passion. Polanyi identifies it as a pathology of the modern mind and traces its origins to a false conception of knowledge; although it is relatively harmless in the formal sciences, that pathology generates nihilism in the humanities. Polanyi considered Marxism to be an example of moral inversion. In Marxism, the State, ostensibly acting in accordance with the logic of history, is obliged to use its coercive powers in ways that disregard any appeals to morality.[8]

  • 1932. Atomic Reactions. Williams and Norgate, London.
  • 1946. Science, Faith, and Society. Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-226-67290-5. Reprinted by the University of Chicago Press, 1964.
  • 1951. The Logic of Liberty. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-67296-4
  • 1958. Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-67288-3
  • 1964. The Study of Man. University of Chicago Press.
  • 1966. The Tacit Dimension. London, Routledge. (University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-67298-4. 2009 reprint)
  • 1969. Knowing and Being. Edited with an introduction by Marjorie Grene. University of Chicago Press and (UK) Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • 1975 (with Prosch, Harry). Meaning. Univ. of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-67294-8
  • 1997. Society, Economics and Philosophy: Selected Papers of Michael Polanyi. Edited with an introduction by R.T. Allen. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishers. Includes an annotated bibliography of Polanyi’s publications.
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Easter, thugs and meanings

Hi Ian,

I heard on TV a preacher who said that Jesus’ resurrection was a great story, a symbolic thing, that ‘hope is unquenchable’.  I’ve heard you say it is historic, real, flesh coming alive – which is a bit of stretch to believe. Is this preacher trying to be relevant or is he saying it never really happened? If its the latter, is he still a Christian or has he gone over to the dark side? 🙂

Max

Hi Max,

I cant comment on which side he is on, Max, its too stressful trying to be the judge of humankind. Here’s an article by Rod Marsh a good dude from south coast Western Australia.

 

“Christ is risen” the Minister shouts. The congregation enthusiastically responds, “He is risen indeed!”

I know that among the Ministers who made that wonderful proclamation on Easter Day there is considerable variation as to what they mean by “Christ is risen” and I suspect this is no less true of the congregational beliefs when they respond “He is risen indeed!”

Some Ministers and people are definite and decisive advocates for a historically verifiable miracle of a ‘physical’ and eternal resurrection of Jesus body. Only this, they maintain, does adequate justice to the biblical text, the divine nature of Jesus and the faith of the church. Only such a resurrection of Jesus’ body gives adequate witness the power and intention of God in the death of Jesus. To clinch the argument (they think) Paul is confidently quoted: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins”. If you cannot or will not believe in a bodily resurrection, too bad. Try harder, for without such a “childlike” faith, you will not enter the Kingdom of God (a veiled, or sometimes explicit, threat of eternal punishment if you can’t get your head around a physical resurrection).

Other Ministers and people, however, see no necessity nor any possibility that they could believe ‘six impossible things before breakfast’ and tell us that, in the resurrection of Jesus’ body, the insistence of a supernatural, intervening deity to vindicate Jesus is unbiblical, unnecessary and totally unbelievable. Rather they confess “Christ was raised from the dead” and is indeed the basis for our faith, but this must remain a mystery of divine action in Jesus. Something transformative for the first disciples did indeed happen, but to define and limit this to a bodily resurrection is ignorant fundamentalism. Believing in the resurrection of Jesus means we acknowledge “the disciples’ experience of new life in Christ” as the basis for the church. To require belief in a resurrected body of Jesus is to add burdens of “believing impossible things” to true faith in Christ. Spong[1] (Resurrection: Myth or Reality?) follows John Robinson (Honest to God and But That I can’t Believe) in seeing literalist interpretations of the resurrection as major barrier to genuine faith. God is not that sort of God and does not demand that we ‘leave our minds at the door’ of the church (as Val Webb said recently). There is a plain difference between metaphor and reality and the resurrection of Jesus is clearly a metaphor. In the resurrection of Jesus we see (in metaphoric form) God’s victory of light over darkness, justice over injustice and love over hate. The resurrection is God’s invitation to join the universal proclamation that Jesus is now Lord, not Caesar nor the principalities and powers of this age. Whether Jesus’ body rotted in a common grave or his bones still lie interred somewhere in Palestine is of no relevance to faith in the resurrection of Jesus, they assert.

I confidently predict that this debate will go on, and on and there is little chance that either side will convince the other to change their views. Most of the congregation, I suspect, sit somewhere in the middle wondering what all the fuss is about. In this paper I will call those in the church who believe in the bodily resurrection (BR) of Jesus, BRs and those who believe in the non-bodily resurrection (NBR) of Jesus NBRs. I have chosen the terms NBR and BR to affirm that both sections believe they believe in the resurrection of Jesus. At the congregational level the passions which are ignited on both sides of this debate indicate this disagreement is not slight, but fundamental.

I think the reason for the passion in this debate is that our worldview is fundamental to our understanding of ourselves, others, the world and who God is. When that is threatened by alternative views it provokes a steely response to protect and reinforce our understanding as the only ‘right’ ‘true’ ‘biblical’ or even only ‘possible’ belief. So literalist BRs are condemned as obscurantists, out of date, irrelevant, foolish ‘fundamentalists’ who at one and the same time bar people from a reasoned faith and who obscure and misdirect the mission of the church. ‘Liberal’ NBRs are condemned as those deny Christ, destroy the Good News and deny the love and power of God’s work in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Such a salvationless message is the reason for weak and declining the church which becomes a beggar that can only say “dunno” when a beggar asks where to find bread.

It should be noted that both BRs and NBRs take deep and justifiable offence at these caricatures. I submit that neither are truthful portrayals of others’ beliefs. If following Jesus has taught us anything it is that if progress is to be made by the church’s mission to proclaim Jesus is Lord in word and deed then the way we treat one another is essential part of true discipleship. The Uniting Church in particular values diversity and it is in debates surrounding the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus that the Uniting Church could and should show the way in managing diversity with deep respect for all people concerned. We could take for our example the frank but respectful interchanges between Tom Wright, Dom Crossan and Marcus Borg as models that could be followed. None give major ground but each treats the others’ person and arguments respectfully.

Dom Crossan, when debating Tom Wright, was deeply troubled by those BRs who wished to deny him a place as a committed disciple of Jesus (because he “denied” the bodily resurrection of Jesus). Incidentally he did not include Tom Wright[2]. Crossan proposed that a sharp distinction between ‘mode’ and ‘meaning’ could provide a way forward. Crossan thought they should concentrate on what they believed in common: that mode of Jesus’ resurrection emphasised that it happened (their disagreement about mode was not whether the resurrection happened and was a transformative event for the disciples) and they already agreed on the meaning for then and now (Caesar is not Lord, Jesus is). Crossan went on “What has to be taken literally and what has to be taken metaphorically – it is a perfectly valid debate…but… the question of meaning – spell out the implications from your reading (literal or metaphorical)… could it be that we overlap tremendously in the question of meaning?”[3] Crossan then proposes an explicit meaning for Jesus’ resurrection: “How are we going to take back the world from the thugs?” But Wright will have none of it. He calls this view “muddled” because only the mode of bodily resurrection carries the meaning:“Jesus is now Son of God”. Wright will not admit that mode is irrelevant. Crossan, however, cannot accept Wright’s thoroughly Jewish reading of Jesus[4]. So the impasse remained.

In his books, Wright argues a strong case (historically) for their being no other possible, let alone reasonable account for the sudden and dramatic rise in Christian belief in the first century. The BR is, for Wright, the only adequate explanation. On a Jewish understanding, Jesus’ tomb must be empty if we claim to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. The only sense the New Testament uses the word ‘resurrection’ is to indicate a transformed body[5]. George Caird says “no Jew would have used the word ‘resurrection’ to describe an afterlife in which the physical body was left to the grave”. Crossan (I think wrongly) argues for a different basis for understanding the historical Jesus and hence the NBR and the rise of belief in Jesus as Lord. However there appears to be an unbridgeable gap between the earliest written evidence we have (Paul) and the conclusions Crossan draws. Crossan fails to explain how the significance the earliest believers attached to Jesus’ person, death and resurrection (Philippians 2, 1 Cor 1,2 and 15) became attached to a wandering Cynic teacher[6].

I wish to make some further observations concerning the weaknesses of the NBR case. I do this because it is the more extreme proponents of this understanding (eg: Spong) seem to think that the BR case has no basis in fact and is irreducibly obscurantist.[7] The basis for Spong’s claim is his pre commitment to “Scientific reasoning” or more accurately “scientism”. But an overtly materialist view of reality like Spong’s (and Dawkins) is seriously open to question. Firstly, if used consistently, it excludes human knowing in areas of the arts, religion, history, ethics etc. and grants the only ‘certain’ knowledge to the scientific method. Since Science cannot pronounce on, for example ‘the Mona Lisa as a beautiful painting’ or ‘racism as wrong’ whole areas of human knowledge are either denied, excluded or demoted from the status of ‘knowledge’. Such a premise a priori excludes considering a unique and unrepeatable event as possible like BR (because of the premise that such things cannot happen). On such a basis, any author’s opinions are reduced to mere assertions. The contextual evidence gathered by N. T. Wright[8] is in stark contrast to Spong’s assertion. These show that BR, for Jesus and his people, is the only currently proposed premise capable of explaining the facts of Jesus’ Jewish origin and the rise of Christian faith in the first Century. Many New Testament scholars, historians and theologians admit this evidence but choose to deny a BR because this is a “bridge too far” for their minds to cope with. That’s fine, but they should not deny to BRs their beliefs as both biblical and rational. These beliefs are ‘evidence based’ faith. The evidence is historical and not subject to the rigorist proof demanded by the scientific method. But, I contend, it is real knowledge like God’s love for me.

In addition Wright cogently argues that by writing the ‘story’ the synoptic evangelists were ‘intending to refer to historical events’ because the fulfilment of Israel’s story must be ‘within history’ or it is no fulfilment at all[9].He further claims that only by a pre-existing belief in Jesus as “Son of God” (in the messianic sense not, of course the Chalcedonian sense) which was held and taught by Jesus (?) and treasured by the community (?) provides sufficient basis for the resurrection faith of the earliest Christians. He asks, “could the belief that someone had been raised from the dead….have produced the results it did – unless certain things were known, and continued to be known, about the one who had thus been raised after having been crucified?” [10] Often BRs are labelled with a Dawkins’ type definition of faith, “believing things without reasons”[11]. But Wright’s observations above could lead one to conclude that it is not only fundamentalists to whom faith is belief without evidence. It is NBRs who seem, at least historically, to be making a giant leap between their view of the ‘historical’ Jesus and what, from earliest times, seems to be the view of the earliest Christians. On the other hand, there seems to be a direct historical link (at least according to Wright’s evidence) on cogent first Century evidence.[12] The choice seems clear to me: BR or NBR, story or metaphor? The BR story may not carry much credibility for those, who in our deistic modern age, are influenced by scientism, but it is at least historically tenable enough to question whether we are genuinely open in our worldview.

Not only has recent research by historians led to a more ‘respectable’ historical basis for BR, there are also good philosophical and theological reasons supporting the BR of Jesus. It seems that the metaphorical approach by NBRs leads inevitably to a theology where the biblical god is assigned to gnostic, neo-platonic, deistic irrelevance. This fits in well with a neo Epicurean age like ours, but it seems to me an inevitable outcome when the one God who created all things, who is ‘husband’ and ‘father’ to the covenantal people is turned into an absent, irrelevant, ‘concept’. When the BR is ‘reduced’ from a story which is central to our world and our story and turned into to a metaphor of transformation (NBR) then god also is driven from our lives, the world and the universe and resides a long way away in a Platonic irrelevant universe. Such a deistic god seems to be an inevitable destiny of the divine when the ‘materialistic’ god of science supplants the creational, covenantal god of the Jews, Jesus and the early Christians. This link between a creating, loving, relational god and the world makes the two key Christian doctrines of incarnation and BR essential and foundational Christian belief. This is the reason that Rowan Williams (unfashionably) maintains that ‘the empty tomb is essential for God’s relationship to the world’[13]. Or take John Updike’s poem, “Seven Stanzas at Easter” [14]. He makes this same point when he says “It was as His flesh; ours” (incarnation) and “Let us not mock God with metaphor” (resurrection) and “Make no mistake: if He rose at all/it was as His body;/if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules/reknit, the amino acids rekindle,/the Church will fall..”

Wright concludes “The claim of Christianity from its earliest days, and subsequently, is that the creator of the world, the god of Abraham, has revealed himself through Jesus, and through his own spirit, in ways which disallow the various pagan claims – and also those of a Judaism that rejects Jesus.” He sees alternative views of the god(s) of our time as “dominated by neo-Epicurianism with its distant unknowable divinities” and the BR as a foundational part of the action of the creational, covenantal God of the Bible in space and time. I think this important because I believe that not only is the BR of Jesus fundamental to our understanding of God, it also provides, what I believe, is the only clear basis for the sacredness and value of human life and that of the world. Where else has there been better revealed to us that “The world is charged with the grandeur of God… there lives the dearest freshness deep down things;[15]” than in the empty tomb and the risen Jesus. The BR provides knowledge that God loves this world (really) and has given that task too to those who claim to love God.

I can understand the many believers who agree with Crossan, Borg and many others who see the resurrection of Jesus as a miracle of perception and renewal for those who have eyes to see, a truly marvellous metaphor. Such views are widely supported amongst modern disciples of Jesus and it is futile, ignorant and uncharitable for the more conservative sections of the church to ‘excommunicate’ these brothers and sisters in Christ. I think that denigration of these fellow disciple is inappropriate and unfair. In addition we note that their views do seem to be more palatable in this modern age. However, I cannot join the ranks of the NBRs. Why? Because God has asked me to join in the mission to reclaim this world for its Rightful Owner and ask with Crossan, “how are we going to take back the world from the thugs?” But for me to join that mission I choose to believe that God really (not metaphorically) encountered the world in Jesus’ life and death and has already really (not metaphorically) begun the new creation of a very real, tangible world in Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead. Matter matters to God.

Jesus died. The old creation died with him. Jesus rested with God on Holy Saturday. This was the final Sabbath of the old creation. Then on Easter Day Jesus rose bringing a new birth for transformed creation. The first day of a renewed world. The day of worship. Now we who died with him, rise too to new life and the dawn of the new creation inaugurated by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Rod Marsh https://www.facebook.com/rod.marsh.313

What Is the Age of the Earth?

Hi Ian,

How come the Christians and Jews and Muslims all quote their bibles to justify their theory of the young/old/ middle age of the earth and they STILL  disagree.What’s the game? Quote the bible win a point. At the end of the day, the one with the most points wins? Like basketball?Anyway, some of the believing scientists you talk about were actually the ones who invented geology, astronomy and paleaontology so what’s the thing about young-earth-creationism trying to prove?

Max

 

Hi Max

Quite right. It is often just point-scoring. And some dirty behind the scenes play as well. The attempt to dialogue debate or make assumptions clear just drowns in the empty rhetoric. If you find those people in a group, just walk, Max. One-to-one you have a of being heard but not in a group – its basically a defensive posture. This guy here says it short and sweet….

What Is the Age of the Earth?    Posted: 19 May 2014 06:00 AM PDT    From Reasons to Believe  Post Author: Bill Pratt

There is much debate among Christians about whether the universe was created in six literal days about 10,000 years ago, or whether the universe came into existence about 13.5 billion years ago, and the earth about 4.5 billion years ago, through the creative acts of God. Who is right?

We just don’t know. Here are some important facts to remember. Bible-believing, orthodox Christians hold both views. Both sides read the Bible using the same historical-grammatical interpretive method. There are good theological arguments on both sides. The one important difference between the two views is that the old earth view is affirmed by most relevant scientific disciplines, whereas the young earth view is not.

Since this issue is not a matter of primary doctrinal importance, both sides are legitimate Christian viewpoints. What is important to affirm is that God created the universe out of nothing. Both sides agree on that. They just disagree about how God created and when God created.

Related Posts

1. My Views On the Age of the Earth

2. Are Scientists Persuaded by Evidence for a Young Earth?

3. Does a 4.5 Billion Year Old Earth Prove Evolution is True?

4. What Do Evangelicals Think About Creation?

YARPP

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