God made me this way


The nature/nurture debate is as endless as the determinist/freedom dispute.

The safe position to adopt combines both nature and nurture. Yet that doesn’t end the debate; it simply moves the discussion onto the character of the combination.

Scientific research will not bring a resolution. Not simply because the question is large and complex and the research is narrow and detailed, but because the reason for the debate is the implications of its outcomes. (more…)

→ New Directions in Assisted Reproduction: A Brave New World


Trillia Newbell has interviewed Megan Best about issues covered in her new book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, specifically on assisted reproductive technologies (ART).


Christians face many dilemmas, some more obvious than others, with new methods of reproduction. Best acknowledges that the Bible does not specifically address ART, so Christians must look instead at what the Bible does address—human life.

If you can get to the Gospel Coalition conference, her seminar would be well worth attending.

Modern healthcare: are we playing God?


There has always been a wide range of opinion and practice among Christians on the matter of medical technology. Soon after his conversion, my physician husband was taken aback when a woman in his congregation explained she was not going to visit a doctor to treat a thigh abscess, but was instead going to pray according to the instructions of James:

Genesis 1:1-2:3 is not poetry and it is historical


I suspect the title has already polarized you—or if not that, it has at least evoked something of a gut response for you. The issues of creation and science tend to do that for people! But please let me set the context of this discussion: this is not a discussion about science and creation.


Who made God? by Edgar Andrews


Who made God? Searching for a theory of everything
Edgar Andrews
EP Books, Darlington, 2009, 304pp.

It is a common belief that science and religion are locked in an eternal conflict, from which science will even­tually emerge victorious—if it hasn’t already. In Who made God? Edgar Andrews, Emeritus Professor of Materials at the University of London, seeks to equip Christians with arguments to use in answer to the scientific claims of the New Atheists, particularly Richard Dawkins and Victor Stenger. The title of the book refers to the common refrain of those who reject the idea of creation—“if God made everything, who made God?”—and the attempt of scientists to find a ‘theory of everything’, within which all physical phenomena may be accommodated. In response, Andrews puts forward the ‘God hypothesis’ as a true theory of everything that embraces both the material and non-material aspects of the universe. (more…)

Making babies when sex just isn’t enough


Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
Sheol, the barren womb,
the land never satisfied with water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.” (Prov 30:15b-16)

Infertility is on the rise: current statistics say it now affects one in six couples.1 If you are not personally affected, you may know someone who is, and certainly there will be couples within our churches who are struggling with infertility. With the rise of infertility and medical advances has come in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Ethics for Christians can be highly contentious, and the process and implications of IVF are no exception. We write this article to share with you our story, our struggles, our theological conclusions, our sadness and our joy. We hope that this article assists your walk through the minefield of ethical issues IVF raises for Christians.

The joy of infertility


In the midst of the grief and pain of infertility, Karen Galvin found joy and opportunities to grow in godliness.

In Briefing #262, Phil Wheeler wrote some pastoral reflections on infertility, entitling his article ‘A silent grief’. But I believe that infertility ought not to be so. In my experience, sharing the process of infertility with my Christian brothers and sisters has been, on the whole, a positive experience. However, infertility is a process—a process of coming to grips with the physical, emotional and spiritual issues that arise from this problem. The issues can’t be dealt with overnight, and often, when one issue is dealt with, another one arises.


When does life begin?


These Saturday posts are looking at past Briefing articles on ethics, infertility and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in anticipation of the subject of the next issue of The Briefing. First, we grappled with Michael Hill’s question of how much (and whether) humans should meddle with God’s creation. Then Kirsten Birkett showed us what happens when science and technology, ethics and morality, and human rights rub up against one another. This week, Andrew Cameron deconstructs some of the rhetoric surrounding the 2002 debate in Australia about when life begins:

Science and ethics collide


If you’ve just joined us, this next lot of Saturday posts will focus on the thorny landscape of ethics, infertility and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in keeping with the subject of the next issue of The Briefing. Last week, Michael Hill worked through the question of how much (and whether) humans should meddle with God’s creation. This week, Kirsten Birkett looks at what happens when science and technology, ethics and morality, and human rights rub up against one another:

The power and inadequacy of biological determinism



Yes, it’s been a while since I last posted. And so you may be forgiven for forgetting where we’re up to. I’m talking about my preparation for an evangelistic talk on sex (see the start of the posts). And last time, I tried to show that biological determinism lies at the heart of the modern story of sex. To put it simply, we’ve evolved in such a way that we’re made to have sex—lots of sex, with multiple partners. And because it’s biologically determined, we have no choice. Today, I want to reflect on the power and inadequacy of this position.


Magic, science and religion

Most magic is essentially the same as religion: it is a human attempt to contact the supernatural and, perhaps, manipulate it. Most magic seeks to achieve ends by getting supernatural beings to bypass the normal workings of nature. Religion also seeks supernatural aid, although the purpose is usually more lofty (to do with the afterlife or basic sustenance, not overt power) and the means involves more veneration. Also, generally, the being involved in religion is on a broader scale than those involved in magic: gods are generally conceived as being bigger, more universal, and more powerful than the demons, ghosts or spirits called upon in magic. But these are differences of degree or emphasis, not of fundamentals. (more…)