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Showing posts from January, 2013

A small revelation: the Holy Spirit and understanding

A couple of evenings ago I had a small revelation. But first let me fill in the background. Back in 1977, a few weeks after Easter, when we were living in Goroka in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, our friend Wendy turned up at our house and announced that she had come to pray for me to be baptised in/filled with the Holy Spirit (the terminology doesn’t matter).[1] She and my wife Ingrid prayed for me. Nothing evident happened. I didn’t speak in tongues, usually taken to be the sign of the Holy Spirit’s baptism/infilling. And after they had stopped praying I went out into the kitchen to make some toast. As I was watching the eye-level grill on our old cooker, ‘I felt my heart strangely warmed.’[2] The experience was not of my making: of that I am sure. In the ensuing days I was suffused with a joy that I had never felt before (and only occasionally since). I believe it was the experience referred to in Acts 8:14–17 and 19:1–7. But I digress. The point is that until that moment in fr…

Is philosophy dead?

I watched another episode of Stephen Hawking's Grand Design some days ago, entitled The Meaning of Life (in view of its content, maybe that should have a question mark behind it!). Again the (first part of the) web blurb is a reasonable summary:
Hawking tackles the ultimate question: Is there a meaning to our lives? Is there a purpose to our existence? This used to be the realm of religion or philosophy - not science. But Hawking believes philosophy is dead and that science holds the key. So what can the laws of physics tell us about who and what we humans really are? Do we have free will or are we just complex biological machines working to the laws of nature? …
Hawking says with conviction, 'Philosophy is dead.' His replacement for philosophy is physics. The entire universe is governed by the laws of physics, he says, including us. Our brains function according to these laws, and so there is no free will. That we freely make decisions is an illusion. Life has no meaning. W…