Category Archives: Themes

Five reasons to care about climate change

Should evangelicals have anything to say about climate change?  I was asked this by Lausanne World Pulse and so I provided the following five reasons why evangelicals should be involved in what is said and done with regard to climate change. Read More »

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Seven climate change gaps

In 2007 I wrote about 7 climate change gaps that were appearing.

  1. The Emissions Gap
  2. The Effect Gap
  3. The Growth Gap
  4. The Moral Gap
  5. The Policy Gap
  6. The Language Gap
  7. The Opportunity Gap

You be the judge of whether they are still open or whether they are closing! Read More »

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Calvin and Science

By Brian Edgar

The year 1543 was a momentous one. Not only did Nicolaus Copernicus publish De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of Celestial Bodies), his astronomical masterpiece which offered a heliocentric alternative to Ptolemy’s geocentric system but Andreas Vesalius published his equally groundbreaking work in biology – De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body). And as if that was not enough John Calvin published his own explicit call for an intellectual reformation in theology in his tract The Necessity of Reforming the Church, a tract that would be used for centuries to focus attention on the practical implications of the reformation doctrines of the gospel for the life of the church. Read More »

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The human person according to Paul

By Brian Edgar

What exactly is meant when there is talk of a person being made up of ‘body and soul’? Are there two parts to a person? Can they exist separately?  Does the soul live on after the death of the body?  Discussions of the Biblical understanding of the person inevitably lead to the question as to whether the person is best understood  as unified whole (monism)  or as a integrated dualism of body and soul/spirit. Read More »

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Intelligent Design in schools?

By Brian Edgar

There was, a little while ago, a very public debate about whether the teaching of Intelligent Design should be banned in Australian schools. There are strong advocates for doing this it and the suggestion inevitably produces tensions. The situation in Australia, however, is not as heated as in the USA, partly because the processes by which curricula are established are different, and this tends to reduce the level of tension. Nonetheless, it remains a controversial issue.

Unfortunately, I reckon there is, in Australia, a general lack of theological understanding about what intelligent design actually is and what it achieves Read More »

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The church and workplace ministry

I never knew what a loss adjuster was until my after-church conversation with Max. I asked what he did for a living and was mystified by the idea of being ‘a loss adjuster’.  But it made sense as he explained it. A loss adjuster is an independent assessor of the loss incurred by an insured business after, say, a fire has occurred. Insurance covers the business for physical losses and for loss of income while out of action. But calculating depreciation on factories and plant and the actual looses involved in the time before the business re-opens is a complex matter and it is easy for insurance companies and their clients to differ. A loss adjuster takes into account all sorts of factors including seasons and sale patterns, alternative sources, the condition of the factory and so on.

But what was really difficult, as Max explained it, was the ethical dilemma Read More »

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Faith-sharing in professional practice

By Brian Edgar

How should Christians who are professionals – specifically, in this case, health professionals share their faith? Of course, being a pastor or theologian is a very different experience, so my words have to be assessed in that light although I did become personally familiar with these issues over some years in the so-called ‘secular’ workforce. Read More »

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Embryo donation and research

By Brian Edgar

Now that “Robert” and “Sue” have three healthy children – all conceived through IVF, what should they do with the four ‘surplus’ embryos which they no longer need?   Should they have them destroyed, or donate them to another couple or perhaps give them to scientists to use for research? Read More »

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Abortion and the Gift of Grace

By Brian Edgar

Public debate about abortion generally ends up polarising into pro-life and pro-choice perspectives.  These two views operate on different and apparently incommensurable principles.  One stresses the inviolability or sanctity of life and the importance of love for those unable to defend themselves.  The other focuses on freedom of choice, and the difficult position which conception can bring to women.  Those fully committed to one side or another do not necessarily deny the element of truth in what the other side says, yet are usually unable to integrate them Read More »

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Immortality? genetics and living forever

By Brian Edgar

Although medical technology is constantly finding new ways of dealing with various health disorder, maintain general levels of health and delaying death the typical maximum age span has not really changed in a long time. Everyone dies of something, and although good health in old age has significantly improved,  a cure for one disorder simply means that people die of something else. However, it is likely that in the not-too-distant future that we will be presented with the prospect of medical technology which will enable human life to be radically extended by hundreds of years! Read More »

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Theology and genetic engineering

By Brian Edgar

The new and rapidly developing rDNA technology which lies at the heart of modern human genetic engineering has provided a new foundation for the science of eugenics which, as a consequence, is now more to the forefront of scientific research and public attention than at any time since it fell into disrepute in the 1940′s. The possibilities inherent in human genetic engineering (GE) now available appear as both amazing and terrifying. On the one hand there is the hope that thousands of inherited defects and illnesses, simple and complex, will be completely eliminated. On the other hand, there are suggestions of the creation of an animal-human hybrid,  a domesticated slave class, or a part human species. Read More »

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The ethics of trans-kingdom gene transfer

Is it ethically appropriate to transfer genes from one person to another? Or from one species to another? From humans to animals? From a vegetable to a fish? Does it make any difference how closely related the species are? In the natural world there is a limitation of the transfer of genes – which occurs through sexual reproduction -  to those species which can breed, but in the artificial world of genetic engineering there is no such limitation. Genes from very different species and kingdoms can be mixed.  Read More »

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Ethical principles in gene technology

In an area dealing with new and previously unconsidered ethical problems – like gene technology – it is important to establish an ethical  framework which can provide some guidance when dealing with specific issues (such as the appropriateness of genetically modifying crops, animals or people). The National Framework for the Development of Ethical Principles in Gene Technology,   produced by the Gene Technology Ethics Committee, (Commonwealth of Australia: Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, 2006) is one attempt to do this.  I acted as one of a group of twelve to produce this national ethical standard for gene technology. Read More »

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Bioethics: opportunity for the gospel?

We live in an age of phenomenal advances in life sciences and their attendant technologies. From the mapping of the human genome to successful cloning of mammals and the harvesting of human stem cells, these advances present both great promise for new medical treatments and profound concerns about the harm they may do to society. Genetics, cybernetics and nanotechnology, for instance, which promise to reverse or eliminate diseases, could also be used to engineer ‘better’ humans, or even ‘trans-humans’ or ‘post-humans’ that render the humans of today obsolete. Read More »

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Stem cells and embryonic experimentation

By Brian Edgar

The Lockhart Committee was formed by the Australian Federal Parliament to review the situation with regard to human embryos, stem cell research and cloning.  The review “An Assessment of the Lockhart Review: stem cell research and embryonic experimentation”   (7,500 words) was done for the Australian Evangelical Alliance when I was Director of Public Theology. Obviously, the matter has moved on politically since then, but the issues it discusses remain the same. Read More »

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