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Posts Tagged ‘science’

Refuting Errors About the Incarnation

June 3, 2015 1 comment

Continuing in the 1689 Exposition series, a few messages on the incarnation address an error that I first heard about two years ago (as put forth by a local Sunday School teacher):  the idea that for Christ to be sinless, He could not have had any of Mary’s DNA; he was human but with no physical, genetic relation to Mary. As noted in this series (see these messages: “The Incarnation”  and “The Virgin Conception”), this view is called ‘seminal headship’, the idea that sin is transmitted through physical substance, and idea in contrast to ‘federal headship,’ in which the sin nature is a legal condition placed upon every person descended from Adam.

Even when I first heard this idea (though not knowing the specific background or terminology), I realized how wrong this is, for several reasons, rooted in the important fact that Jesus was fully God AND fully Man.  This is one of the basic doctrines of Christianity, the hypostatic union, addressed by the early church in response to so many heresies regarding Christ’s nature: errors that said He was only a man, or only God.  But it’s part of basic understanding of true science, how God has propagated the human race, that we all have DNA, the genes passed down from parent to child.  No one could really be human if he did not have the DNA of any human parents. Furthermore, if Jesus did not inherit any human genes from his human mother, He would not be descended from the line of David and would not even be a Jew – another serious theological error. Plus, if He was not really descended from Mary, without Mary’s genes, then He was not the seed of the woman prophesied in Genesis 3:15.  The Messiah was to come from the woman (Mary; Genesis 3:15), from the Jews and the line of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and descended from David, per the terms of the Davidic covenant.  As to Jesus’ physical appearance:  we know that the Jews slandered Jesus for his “illegitimate” birth and the question of who was His father (reference John 8:41).  But they never brought forth the charge that He was not really Mary’s son and did not belong to Mary’s family – which certainly would have been the case if He had not inherited any of Mary’s DNA and had no physical resemblance to Mary or His human brothers and sisters.

The series from Arden Hodgins notes that a few theologians have held to seminal headship, including William G.T. Shedd, Lorraine Boettner, plus Amish and Mennonites. Amish and Mennonite groups hold to an idea of “heavenly flesh.”

An excellent point to counter this idea: sin is not contained in physical substance such as the human seed. That is a gnostic idea, that something physical is bad or sinful. Also, our righteous nature — regeneration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit — does not come to us through any physical means; the new nature does not come to us through the genes.  So why should people think that the sin nature is transmitted through physical means? “Federal headship” makes sense concerning both our sinful nature inherited from the first Adam (a legal state put upon us), and our new righteous nature given to believers in the Last Adam.

To Whom Shall We Go? The Presuppositions of Science

October 8, 2012 14 comments

From S. Lewis Johnson’s observations concerning John 6:67-69, Peter’s confession “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have  the words of eternal life,and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”:

Shall we go to science?  The world today thinks of science as a neutral endeavor, but it’s not a neutral endeavor.  It begins with presuppositions.  People like to think well in religion you take things by faith.  But in science you deal with facts.  How foolish.  How foolish.  Let me just for a moment tell you why science is a faith endeavor just as much as spiritual things are a faith endeavor.  Science is supposedly grounded in the scientific method of observation, hypothesis, and conclusions.

Seven presuppositions in science:

  1. The universe can be understood by rational procedure.  Where has that ever been proved?  That’s never been proved.  That cannot be proved.  That’s a presupposition.
  2. Order exists in the universe and is discernable.  That’s a presupposition.  That’s never been proved.  That cannot be proved.
  3. That nature behaves in the same way whether we observe it or not, another presupposition.
  4. The phenomena that we observe here and now are valid there and then.  That’s a faith presupposition.
  5. The human mind is able to form descriptive concepts of the universe.  That’s a faith presupposition.
  6. That a direct correct correspondence exists between the events of the universe and man’s sensory brain responses.  That’s a faith presupposition.  That’s never been proved.
  7. That the scientist’s fellow workers do and report their work honestly; that’s been disproved many times.

Science is a faith endeavor.  When we say — religion we take by faith, science we look at facts — who is fooling who?  The scientists, if they have that idea, are the ones who are living by faith.  Shall we go to science built on induction?  You can never know anything from induction.  In fact science has done such a great job of propaganda that people say the way to study the Bible is by inductive Bible study.  Would anybody question that?  Well they ought to.  You can never know anything by induction.  You can never actually know anything by induction.  In the first place you can never know you have all of the facts necessary for the induction.  You can never know that your hypothesis is the hypothesis that explains the facts as you see them.  So, you can in never know that your hypothesis is the only possible hypothesis.  You can never know anything by induction.  People ought to know things like this, but they don’t, unfortunately.

Finally, a great illustration from the life of a chicken:

the man who fed a chicken everyday throughout its life, at last wrings its neck instead — showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken.  An induction of the facts would not have helped him a great deal when he lost his neck.  Shall we go to science?