Friday, March 24, 2006

My Personal Philosophy and Theology

by Salvador Cordova
Even though within the IDEA chapters, personal theology is considered irrelevant to scientific discussions, it is my policy to be open about private issues such as my religious beliefs and beliefs about origins.

I am a member of Gainesville Presbyterian Church (PCA).

I was raised in the Roman Catholic church, however I view my true conversion to Christianity to have occurred in my sophomore year of high school. I remained in the Roman Catholic church for 3 years after I became a Christian.

I believed in an Old Earth and in Darwinian evolution throughout my first years of high school. In my senior year in high school, I became an Old Earth Creationist after reading some material from the Institute of Creation Research (ICR), but I did not accept their claims for a young earth and quickly dropped my subscription to their literature.

About a year later I joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod which eventually got absorbed into the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). I subscribe to the basic tenets of the Westminster Confession of Faith with the exception of the issue of the Sabbath which I currently am undecided about.

I believe God's word was expressed inerrantly and by design ages ago, however, it is evident there are questions about the authenticity of a few passages of what has been handed down through the ages by fallible man. Such passages are readily identified in the footnotes of most Bibles used by Christian's today. However the major doctrines of the Westminster Confession of Faith do not appear to hinge on these contested passages, and neither does any major issue of my personal theology. I pray that one day the Lord will make clear the issue of the contested passages.

Readers of my ideas may be alarmed at my frequent quotations of writings that would be deemed heretical to the theology I personally subscribe to. The Apostle Paul was not adverse to referencing the sayings of individuals with non-Christian theology and world views to support his arguments for the Christian faith, and neither am I adverse to doing so. See Acts Chapter 17.

After graduating George Mason University in 2000, I seriously began entertaining the possibility of a young earth and universe, and recent special creation not only of life, but of the entire cosmos after Paul Davies work on speed of light decay appeared in the prestigious scientific journal Nature in 2002 and after 3 professors from my university publicly declared skepticism over the Big Bang based on their work in astrophysics.

I do not believe the issue of evolution, old earth, young earth should ever be used as a litmus test of someone's character. There is certainly a correct view of reality, and we can't all be right on the issue of origins, however, being undecided and even mistaken about what is empirically and historically true is not the same as being un-Christian.

Regarding the issues from a theological standpoint, I offer this view from my church:

Report of the Creation Subcommittee, Presbyterian Church of America (PCA)

I have found focusing on scientific issues rather than personal theology to be the most productive and non-confrontational approach. Thus, though Christ is central to my life, I hope the readers will appreciate, that for the sake of Christ, my main topic of discussion will be of a scientific nature, much like I would approach scientific issues in the secular work environment.

As the father of modern Intelligent Design movement said, "the first thing we need to do is to get the Bible out of the discussion." God has promised his truths will be revealed through His creation (Romans 1:20). That means we can see the truthfulness of that verse by actually removing theology from the question of origins. I will frequently resort to using naturalistic worldviews and assumptions as a working hypothesis to demonstrate the veracity of the claims of Romans 1:20. This is not a rejection of God's word, but an application of the method of argument Paul used in Acts 17. An excellent example of this method of deductions is illustrated by various Proofs by Contradiction.

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis insists we should not let the Bible out of the discussion. I disagree. This form of argumentation resorts to circular reasoning, and it is not honoring to the Christian faith to used circular logic to help heal the doubts of Christians in the scientific disciplines. The Lord commanded us to be wise as serpents. Arguments from circular reasoning are not consistent with that command.

The Lord said in John 10:38 that if one cannot believe His words, they can believe His works.

Finally, one may ask, how do we know what is true? Without a Creator granting us eyes to see, ears to hear, a mind to think, and world which is amenable to discovery, we would not know anything. I close with the words of a famous particle physicist who became a minister, John Polkinghorne. When asked how do we know what is true, he rightly responded "by God's gracious revelation".


Blogger Salvador T. Cordova said...

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1:47 PM  

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