I am currently reading through Gordon Wenham's commentary on the first few chapters of Genesis in order to gain a better understanding of what has been a controversial issue in the church for some time, and especially in recent decades (the issue I am referring to is, as you might have guessed, the relationship between modern science and the Genesis creation narratives).  After an exhaustive study of the issue from different viewpoints (or at least as exhaustive as two full time engineers can muster!), Steve and I plan to systematically explain our perspective and understanding of the doctrine of creation (though we may not necessarily agree on everything).  In the meantime, because the literature is so fascinating, I thought I would begin posting on other themes learned while studying the issue of origins.  Today's post will focus on Wenham's discussion of the meaning of "knowledge of good and evil" as used in the context of Genesis chapter two.

To provide a contrast to Austin's ongoing series on Thomistic philosophy, I thought I would start a series to look at notable Christian philosophers of the analytic tradition, and some of their contributions to philosophy.  Before diving in, it is necessary to give at least some explanation of what on earth analytic philosophy is.  Since this a blog, we've tried to avoid being too systematic.  That task is left for the various books that no one bothers to read.  Nonetheless, it is still sometimes necessary to give some background and explanation on certain subjects.

Currently, there are several competing philosophical traditions.  Two of the minor traditions today are Eastern and Islamic philosophy.  Older philosophical traditions, such as Scholasticism and Platonism, are still studied at the university level.  However, current work in philosophy is dominated by two schools: analytic philosophy and continental philosophy.

Unfortunately, neither analytic nor continental philosophy have a clear definition or claims common to the various movements within each tradition.  Frankly, the easiest way to distinguish either is geographically: continental philosophy is found primarily in mainland Europe, whereas analytic philosophy dominates in the English-speaking world.  The vast majority of schools of philosophy in America and the United States follow the analytic tradition.
Resuming our series on Thomas Aquinas, we will now delve into his metaphysics.  You'll recall from a previous post that metaphysics is basically the study of the fundamental nature of reality, or first principles.  Metaphysics is critical for coherently piecing together all those seemingly independent beliefs that together constitute a worldview.  The metaphysics that one holds (usually subconsciously) will shape the way one views the entire world.  You'll also remember from the first post in this series that while some of Aquinas' proofs for the existence of God are elegant, clever and compelling when correctly understood, they are often dismissed as foolish because modern thinkers are so far removed from his metaphysics.  The purpose of this post is to familiarize the reader with some basic distinctions that were crucial to Aquinas' thinking, and explain the history behind them.  This will allow us to venture into the arguments themselves without feeling overwhelmed (or underwhelmed if you are an atheist).1

The following post is the first part of what will be an ongoing series, "The State of the Church," where we look at issues relevant to the current state of the body of Christ. Through these posts, we hope to bring to light issues of both encouragement and criticism which we feel deserve more attention.

This is a pretty common question today in the church, and not without good reason. From the college level, to young professionals, to families, to the more chronologically experienced, there seem to be a lot more women involved and active in the church than men.

How could this be? It’s been called a real crisis in the church by many. There are quite a few explanations given for the overall lack of presence of men; unfortunately, the conversation often devolves into misandristic bashing (yes, I did just invent the word “misandristic”). Before moving on, it is important to stress that the crisis should not be overstated; in many conversations over the subject, it seems pastors, elders, and male worship team members somehow don’t count towards the overall level of involvement of men in the church. That said, even taking them into account it seems men are just less involved.

In attempts to solve this problem, the issues are often oversimplified, so that a single reason and its corresponding solution emerge as dominant. I tend to think the issues at hand are complex, and that there may be many reasons for men being less involved. Here I hope to cover one or two that are seldom – or never – mentioned. I do not think for a moment they are the only – or even primary – reasons. Nonetheless, identifying these reasons may go a long way in finding a solution and turning the tide.
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