The Problem of Easter

The Easter story is far crazier and more dangerous than a Donald Trump presidency. One is merely an orange insult to humanity’s common sense that might end in WWIII and nuclear apocalypse; but the other is a morbidly pathetic challenge to the entire socio-political status quo. An affirmative answer to the Easter-themed question ‘Risen?’ is dangerous and absurd, though has far more blockbuster potential and international influence than any reality TV fakelebrity. The claims concerning Jesus are massive, and the stakes are high. Are they the foam on an ebbing sea of faith, or else merely mundane events exaggerated through the centuries? What is the empirical reality behind the stories?

The Easter accounts are dangerous. Crucifixion places the subject at the bottom of the socio-economic long-drop. The humiliation involved is comprehensive – the victim is hung by the state, considered cursed and usually denied a proper burial, stripped naked in public, and mocked. The negative overtones are arguably simultaneously political, religious, sexual, and personal. This is the opposite of the comprehensive wellbeing or Hauora I learned about in health class at Lynfield College. But Christians heap highest praises on a crucified man. Surely it’s the death of a slave- criminal rather than a God-man? Jesus claimed to be God, and was soon proclaimed as having been crucified – the juxtaposition would make Nietzsche proud, if he didn’t despise the ensuing “slave morality”. What kind of leader eschews opportunities for power and dines with the outcasts, the political/religious traitors, and prostitutes? And who would centre their worship – their attention to what they consider most worthy – on a crucified God? Someone with little respect for traditional societal norms of self-preservation, and clearly a loser.

The Easter accounts are absurd, for claiming that a perfect transcendent God would choose to die and thereby somehow answer death with the ultimate comeback. Statistically, dead people stay dead, always. The hope of eternal life is easily understood as pie in the sky, clearly fitting people’s expectations and hopes. Okay, the resurrection did not fit with people’s expectations at the time, but that just makes it more ridiculous. The prior probability of God is assumed to be zero, because science (albeit founded on belief in divinely given natural law) doesn’t refer to God. Jesus said that life to the full is only available through him, a similarly demagogic claim to Trump’s promise to Make America Great Again. We know that both claims are equivalently offensive to rationality, for life is meaningless, morality is a sham, art is an illusion entirely explained by naturalistic evolutionary psychology, human nature is a social construct, Earth is a speck in an uncaring universe, and history is just one damned event after another. Right?

How sure are we? That Jesus was crucified is well established, with multiple early sources. The cold nails that went through this man’s wrists and feet were history’s ultimate irony – purported universal king killed by the vote of a provincial mob. Nek minnit (on the third day) the women disciples found the tomb empty. People in the city believed, after many claimed to have seen him alive. His closest followers, mostly devout Jews up to this point, along with former sceptics such as Saul (Paul) and James went to their deaths proclaiming both the crucifixion and divine authority of Jesus. Religious experts were converted, and the movement grew. Many individual items of evidence add to a strong enough cumulative case to persuade many. Western culture – science, law, morality, art, education, has been profoundly influenced by it. The tale is in part ugly, disruptive, and transformative; but perhaps it shows signs of being true.


He Wins

In a fireworks competition,
God will usually win
We might offer a sparkler
But He paints skies with the sun

We are wowed by our explosions –
He invented nuclear fusion
A glorified party cracker
Doesn’t match the hosts of heaven

Yet no lighting a fuse & running away
The Big Bang merely began this story
And, far more than mere observer
This God, He entered history.

Raiders of the Lost Arc

Environmental crisis, refugee crisis, financial crisis, ISIS crisis, crisis of meaning, housing crisis, quarter life crisis, crisis of faith. What is in common between all of these things? What kind of person would say they had authority to speak about all of them? Perhaps a first year student in a competitive entry program like pre-law or biomed – they say lots of conceited stuff. But is there any person who actually has authority to speak on them all? Last week on campus at UoA a series of events were run by Christian groups, claiming that Jesus has something important to say across the board. This is a follow-up. The opposition to this claim is often loud and confident, but I think massively over-rated. Let’s see why.

Our social world is arguably tormented, demented, and firmly cemented in its various follies and fantasies. It’s also, and this is more on point, fragmented. The internet it seems allows subcultures of various kinds to develop with a special kind of intensity and separation from the rest of the world. Previously isolated weirdos can now join together on If that silly sentence offended you, it’s okay – there’s probably a website or Facebook group for just your type. Society, likewise, is atomised, and plurality is the keyword of the day. The university, too, is atomised. Judging by campus cultures, you might think that someone stuck the UoA prospectus into a Magic Bullet then pasted it back together with the chewing gum under the desks in CT039 just in time for Stu to give it the tick. Some have spoken of the ‘two cultures’ of the sciences and the humanities, but perhaps in this university we should speak of the 50,000 cultures of the different students and staff here. Anyone claiming to be able to bring unity out of this tertiary-level diversity is saying something a bit more substantial than your typical between-class banter. It’s almost like they’d be claiming to be God.

Life is stormy, normally, for many people. We’re looking for something or someone who can calm the storm and end the crises. If that’s what you’re seeking, you won’t find it in the standard options on offer at our campus. Comprehensive Peace is not on sale at Munchy Mart. A Martian visiting UoA might find the situation pretty interesting. It seems we’re looking for something like a prophet’s authoritative speech, but we’ve denied the concept of inspiration. There’s no reason to hope for a ‘word from outside’ our current milieu, because the outside, the transcendent, has been ruled out as mythical or inaccessible. All we can hope for is some insight from some human culture or other; and who’s to say that it will have any more answers than our own? Perhaps we’ve forgotten or never really perceived the power of an authoritative word coming from a love undergirding the universe? Speaking peace amidst the roiling waves of world politics, moral confusion, loss of meaning, and the endless frenetic chasing after material gain requires a particular kind of vantage point and confidence. Whether such a point can really be reached is a crucial question for our culture. Statements such as “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” (Martin Luther King) can no longer be intoned with integrity. They’re too appealing and too solemn for most of us to laugh at as we laugh at caricatures of religion, but they’re ultimately in the same sunken boat if we buy the materialist story. But do they have to be? Perhaps it is time that we launch an expedition, to be raiders of the lost arc.

The secular university has lost its unity, perhaps not uncorrelated with its loss of theology. There is an unarticulated hope that Science will replace her, but Science when interrogated is of course really just the sciences; and anyone who thinks that, say, mathematics or biology will bring final coherence to the whole human intellectual project is living in a bizarre fairy world indeed. Without God there is no longer an over-arching principle holding this place with all its diversity together. Of course, while there are risks in diversity, there are risks in unanimity too. The unrestrained dominion of the One over the Many is recipe for political disaster and the crushing of many. An old relic from Christian theology might provide hope for an alternative model to both fractured pluralism and a contrived monism – the much maligned doctrine of the Trinity. I won’t try to defend it here, though I think it’s not too difficult for those who take the biblical texts seriously – instead I’ll reflect a little on why we might care about the strange idea of divine unity being eternally expressed as diversity-in-relationship. On such a view, at the heart of the universe there is a place for love. There is a place for community, and there is room made for justice. That probably all sounds rather twee until you look at these values as fleshed out in Jesus, and communicated by him. I think that whenever people speak, they take a little risk in revealing something of themselves. Our speech reflects who we are. The Christian groups’ focus on the words of Jesus is nailed firmly to a view of the person of Jesus – that he is the ultimate revelation of the God who spoke the world into existence.

Of course, many reading this will find the whole thing ludicrous. If that’s you, thank you for reading this far! If you continue to explore these things you may yet perceive your own ‘crisis of doubt’ (the title of an excellent book on 19th Century skeptic leaders who converted to Christianity). You see, as I see it – after a few years studying economics, philosophy, and molecular biology – western secular worldviews face some pretty big internal challenges. We’re told that science is the ultimate and even the only real way of knowing, even though the universe is ultimately a-rational and its development unguided and our comprehension of it is something of a fluke. We’re told that there are no miracles because of the laws of nature, but the laws of nature appear fine tuned to a degree that makes most miracles look quite boring. We’re told that there is no direction to history, but we’re also sure we’re on the “right side” of it when our values triumph politically. We know that there is no immaterial self or soul and free choice may well be a delusion, but the imaginary individual rational agent still holds sway over our ideals and policy decisions. We’re told that human rights create an urgent need for political action, but that there is probably no such thing as a human nature or purpose. We’re told that the environment is incredibly important for more than just the survival or pleasure of the inconsequential human species but that in the end everything is inconsequential beyond our own fleeting desires and invented goals. Perhaps much of this boils down to the fairly obvious unsustainability of relativism, the difficulty of finding meaning with no fixed reference. A wise man spoke about that once – something about building your house on the sand.

According to a 2013 book published by Cambridge Uni Press, by computer scientist Steven Skiena and Google engineer Charles Ward, Jesus was the most influential person in human history. As a thinking person at NZ’s top university, at some point you should probably work out what you think about the claims of Jesus (at least those claims made about him by his earliest followers), whether you’re a confident skeptic who sleeps with the God Delusion under his/her pillow, a flower-worshipping hippy, Ned Flanders, or just an ordinary person trying to make it in a messed-up world. Bring out those questions you’ve been hoarding away since RE class in high school or bible-in-schools back in the 90s, and ask a Christian near you. Check out an event run by, say, the Evangelical Union, Student Life, or Unichurch. It’s not like Christians haven’t heard most of the objections before anyway, and if it’s possible that Jesus is the Truth, he might have something important to say.

Zachary Ardern

Study for the sake of what?

Study for the sake of God.

Study has value in a few ways, and I’m fortunate to have had what for most people at most points in time has been a luxury reserved for the elite and/or brilliant (less so the case now).
Whether the study is in theology or not, it comes with risks (chiefly pride) and potential value. To love God with one’s mind is part (just a part) of the Christian calling, and it can mean more than just thinking about theology.

A church full of people with PhDs in theology living in a world uninterested in theology would be a bad church. We should know about the world. A church full of people with PhDs in biology would be a weird church. The diversity of the body of Christ is a remarkable thing.


Two fascinating posts on politics; make what you will of them

The first from the US, on the desire for recognition of moral goodness across the political spectrum. The Left, in today’s public discourse, are too often quite nastily condescending towards and/or dismissive of those on the Right. I speak as someone with decidedly  centrist political tendencies – inclinations towards democratic socialist fiscal policies and socially conservative policies regarding human dignity and sexual ethics. I am no libertarian, but the recognition that people can have differing life projects, and many of these are legitimate and valuable within a flourishing pluralist society is a useful one.

The second on why the Iraq War was justified, from Prof Nigel Biggar in the UK. A powerful response to widespread assumptions to the contrary. As is frequently the case, the real contours of the moral situation are murky, and I have no firm convictions here.

Tripartite World Stories

Here I begin to explore two accounts in which the history of the world comes in three parts.
The first story is the story I see told and retold around me. It goes:
Evolution -> Science -> Equality.

The second story is offered by the Bible. It goes:
Eden -> Sacrifice -> Eschaton.

The second story is less familiar, perhaps because we all bathe in the first story daily and perhaps also because I chose unfamiliar words to make it sound exotic and to fit the pattern. But I think it is much closer to the truth of things; both are of course hugely simplified, but the second tells us who we are much more truly than the first story does.

The first claims the authority of science; to be based purely on the cold hard facts, while the second has the rarefied air of myth, and is commonly thought to thereby be false. But in the end I am convinced it is the ‘myth’, in Tolkien’s sense, that will surely win. Not by mere violent destruction of the first, for there is a lot to learn from the first story (I don’t have a problem with the elements of the first story, but I do have a problem with them becoming our culture’s sacred narrative in this way). Instead, the second has the power to swallow up the first and incorporate its insights, while the first is wholly unable to deal with the claims of the second.

Each story has three parts. Firstly where we came from, secondly what our cultural world is properly centred on or grounded in, and thirdly where we are going.

On the first story, we human beings and the rest of the biosphere came into being through an unguided Evolutionary process. To really understand ourselves we might find it really helpful to reflect on this process – hence evolutionary psychology, and the associated conditions (diseases) of darwinitis and neuromania[1]. Both our foibles and our potentialities are rooted in this background. Debate rages between adherents of the story over whether we should prioritise the altruistic or competitive aspects of these events in our telling of the primordial proto-historical story, but whichever is to be prioritised is said to be fixed by the scientific facts on the ground.

Through some process, particularly for those emphasising either (or both) the ugly competitive aspects of evolution or a reductionistic gene-centred view, we have transcended our merely material beginnings and have become moral cultured beings. The event, the phenomenon, that really got us going as a species must be spoken of with a reverent tone. Science.[2] It is I think fairly obvious how important science is to our culture – if you happen to be in an argument and can claim Science for your team, you will have won, so long as the other team doesn’t try the same tactic. Even those seen as (whether by their own choice or the wider culture) against science, such as creationists, anti-fluoride or anti-vax campaigners, generally feel the need to frame their material (pseudo)scientifically. Alternative movements such as postmodernism[3] remind me of the “interesting in itself” part of this quote by Terry Pratchett “Tolkien has become a sort of mountain, appearing in all subsequent fantasy in the way that Mt. Fuji appears so often in Japanese prints. Sometimes it’s big and up close. Sometimes it’s a shape on the horizon. Sometimes it’s not there at all, which means that the artist either has made a deliberate decision against the mountain, which is interesting in itself, or is in fact standing on Mt. Fuji.”[4]

Where are we going, what’s the point of this whole shtick? The answer differs amongst believers in the secular story, but perhaps the one ring to rule them all is the ring engraved Equality. Somehow, the material realities of science are sufficient to ground an immaterial ideal of ever-expanding equality. The ultimate aim it seems is peace and harmony between all persons and between persons and their environment. The awesome ones – the enlightenment men and women – ushering in this final kingdom ride horses named Science, Technology, State, and Choice. The competing alternative story that ends not in Equality but in Economics, and the unfortunate wars between these horses on both accounts, are exciting tales for another day.

So, enough for story one, how about the radical alternative? I will just sketch it. The first chapter is Eden. Here relationship – both horizontal (with humans) and vertical (with God) – is key. The relationship is formed and soon breaks horribly, and we live out the consequences daily. Debate rages between adherents of the story over whether we should prioritise the goodness-of-creation or badness-of-our-fall aspects of these events in our telling of the primordial proto-historical story, but the tension, to me, says something profound about human being. The alternative of story one is inherently amoral, where the absence of vertical relationship means ethics is necessarily reduced to behaviours, and the story therefore pales in comparison.

The second pivotal chapter, following from many other events in the interim, is Sacrifice. A radical message breaks into the brokenness of this world, marred in chapter one. The first principle has become personally involved and taken on the sickness such that the world might be made whole. He has taken on the enmity and become the target of the proper white hot anger against rebellion, such that the rebels might be passed over and become friends. The whole cultural force of the autonomous world raged against its creator; the political, religious, monetary, and military powers condemned the innocent incarnation of the originator, the author and sustainer of life, to death. And in this death, in the death of Jesus the Christ, because of Who He Is and through his resurrection from the dead, those who choose to die with him are offered life better than Eden.

The final chapter now comes. That which was created in Eden and redeemed in Sacrifice is shown to be glorious in Eschaton. The remaining brokenness is made right, the sick are made whole, and justice is instantiated across the world. As in the other two chapters, this realm is not earned but given, and we are not kings but stewards. Our life now as ambassadors of the kingdom is shaped by this picture of how things are meant to be under the rule of the King.

There is a lot to say about the conflict and compatibilities between the two stories. A picture of creative development, of the value of science and the goal of equality are all compatible with the second story, but the high points of the tale are different. The second story is superior for recognizing our reality as personal, moral, social, and religious beings in need of redemption rather than merely cogs in the cosmic machine.

In the first story, the world is an accident. I know that for some this claim, reduced to its bare reality is jarring and offensive, but that’s simply how it is. In the second story, the world is a gift.

In the first story, the primary way of knowing is science, grounded in personal experience and a Cartesianesque method of doubt. In the second, the core way of knowing what is most important is through testimony. The second claim is truer to our reality as human persons. In the first story, knowledge is seen; in the second, faith comes through hearing.

In the first story, the primary way of ‘becoming’ or progressing is through personal striving. Value is earned. In the second story, salvation is given and must be received, and new possibilities follow, but the possibilities, which include ethical progress, only exist within the context of the double-giftedness of creation and new creation.

The first story is a sickly imitation of the first, an invented shadow of the deeper reality grounded in real history. The second story is far better, but it is also far truer.

Thanks for reading. I’d like to turn this thought into a little book, let me know if you’d like to read it 🙂
[1] See the humanist polymath Raymond Tallis’s brilliant books on this.

[2] It works, b*tches.

[3] Sorry for the looseness of this catch-all term


writing assignments

Early in July I’ll (all going well) spend a week in Cambridge with other Christian PhD students, mostly drawn from around Europe. Just how exciting and well suited this is for me I’ve refused to let hit me, that can come later.

One of the preparatory activities is three short writing assignments, on set questions. I’ve posted my answers, blatted out this evening, below – on science, evil, and leisure. Perhaps the most fascinating (as fun as it was to summarise my thoughts on science in 300 wds) was the one on leisure, based partly on the set reading of some chapters from Joseph Pieper’s “Leisure the Basis of Culture”. One day I will read this gem in a more leisurely fashion.


What are the epistemological implications for science and Christianity if facts are not self-interpreting?

In order to relate facts to theories and laws, they must be interpreted. What counts as a ‘natural fit’ or as the ‘best explanation’ will necessarily rely on claims which transcend empirical facts, such as a criterion of simplicity. The potential for differing non-empirical criteria implies a potential for differing interpretations of scientific facts. Two possible implications are ‘skepticism of science’, and ‘possible support for Christianity from meta-science’. I briefly discount the first and argue for the second.
It may be thought that the non-self-interpretability of facts implies complete scepticism about our ability to reason inductively from facts to broader theories. But this is only true if there are not bounds on the possible legitimate interpretations of facts. A Christian worldview provides reason to suspect the existence of consistent deeper metaphysical structures which limit what is physically possible, grounded in the orderly and rational nature of the triune God of Christian faith. Naturalism, by contrast, (as one alternative worldview – though the point likely applies to pantheism, panentheism, and polytheism as well) does not give independent reason to posit these, so it seems the attempt must be made to reason to them inductively from scientific facts – a difficult, and perhaps impossible task.
Following on from this, we can argue that Christianity may derive support from ‘meta-scientific’ claims such as the orderliness of nature (specifically, exhibiting a law-like order – this goes beyond mere observations of past regularities, and adds that the regularities are binding and hence predictive), that nature is mathematically describable, and that nature is intelligible to humans. If we accept that the goal of science is understanding, and that true understanding requires more than arbitrary collections of facts, the door is opened to investigating ‘meta-science’. The aspects of meta-science listed are each a basic requirement of modern science.

Is there some way in which evil is necessary to the plan of God? That is, are there some necessary goods for God’s plan for humanity that require evil?

The central evil in cosmic history is the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth outside Jerusalem in c. 30AD. This central event was planned from before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8), and it constitutes the basis of the new creation that shall last eternally. So, at least one evil was a necessary part of God’s plan for humanity (necessary for God’s chosen end, not necessarily ‘logically necessary’.) It seems unlikely that the good of redemption could have been achieved without some evils – ‘o felix culpa’, as the ancient phrase has it.

If all other evil is in some sense ‘swallowed up’ in that one event, perhaps there are implications for the ‘problem of evil’ viewed from a Christian perspective. Extensive foreknowledge on God’s part regarding the evils of the world that were to be paid for at the cross would fit well with the biblical picture. I think the biblical text underdetermines the question of whether libertarian free will (LFW) exists – the text doesn’t obviously require it. If LFW does not exist, it is possible that all evils have been indirectly chosen by God, while also more directly and culpably chosen by other agents, hence none are gratuitous.
Even if LFW does exist, it may be that God’s foreknowledge is such that the world has features such that gratuitous evil is not instantiated (as the Molinist could hold).
The defender of libertarian free will has the free will defence of Plantinga et al. at her disposal. One sceptical of LFW may have access to a greater good theodicy. Whichever line is taken, an evangelical approach to the topic may be enriched by seeing the cross as both the central evil in human history and the centre of good in God’s plan.

In what way would a correct understanding of leisure affect our view of work?

Everything that we have is a gift of God, including our very human nature. An obsession with work, a kind of ‘workolatry’ is perhaps best avoided with a proper conception of God’s providence, expressed through theologically-aware appreciation of leisure. A proper situating of work within this framework will help work to be aimed towards its proper function, whatever exactly that might be. After all, the man who built his house on the sand may have exerted a lot of effort doing so, but it was all to little avail. I think it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that busyness or activity are inherently good – but some work is better left undone. Working out what this work is, is of course hard work.
For the Christian, the end which is worked for is extremely important, and worth contemplating. Reorienting ourselves towards that end, through various means, is probably a better use of time than much everyday work. Leisure can help one to see the wider dimensions of human life and the world beyond work – whatever work we take part in, it is only a small part of the wider world. It is important to be able to recognise that there is good in the world which is given to us (as a result of God’s work) independently of our own work.
At the same time, leisure too is not the whole of life, and there is work to be done. It is not demeaning of this work however to say that its meaning is derived from outside itself. The meaning of work in this inherently gifted world is perhaps best seen with the aid of leisure.

I’ve been listening to Rend Collective heaps too. I like the words “the infinite is immanent” here.

Soli Deo Gloria.


I leave on 10th June, for 7 weeks…
to attend conferences in my fields of interest/research, to speak at these conferences, to learn from key academics and leaders who I particularly respect, to mix it up a bit because I have the opportunity, to meet others in a similar position to myself (e.g. in Cambridge), to see Europe, to speak on ‘Unbelievable’, to consider what is the same and different, and as with anything to hopefully be better equipped to live for Jesus in the particular contexts I may be called to.

No, it’s not just a holiday or an excuse to travel – though I hope it will be both restful and challenging, in parts.
EuropeI remember a few months ago avidly listening to talks from a conference similar to the one in Oxford, thinking how cool it would be to sit in the audience and interact with the greats – now I’m lined up to be one of the speakers, bizarrely.
I remember also, many times eagerly beginning to listen to a new episode of ‘Unbelievable’, so grateful for this show and the people taking part, seldom considering them to be mere mortals like I.
I remember, finally, where I have come from, and who has bought me at such a price.

To God be the glory – great things He has done! So loved He the world that He gave us His son.

Wanderings in Europe

Here’s my planned schedule for my trip to Europe, thus far – all going well. I’ve been overwhelmed by the opportunities that these conferences represent, and hope that I can make the most of them if it all works out. I’m hoping I can take some of July off from my thesis to explore, relax, and prep, but not much time is now left between conferences. Each of the talks (apart from the ICETAR potential) is a side-project spin-off of some of my PhD-thinking and vaguely related thoughts. A couple will hopefully turn into papers and thus chapters or an appendix for my thesis.

If you have suggestions on how I should spend my time, in a productive way for Jesus’ sake, let me know. I’m interested to meet people if I can find the time, to visit some museums, and could possibly speak on one or two occasions (e.g. for a CU) if useful.

It is likely to be funded by a combination of my PhD research fund, perhaps a small conference bursary, money from my supervisor (now based in the UK) for me to go and visit his new lab, and money I’ve saved from tutoring. I would probably accept offers of minor financial assistance for the apologetics-related events, as I am convinced that the training received at Cambride & Oxford will develop my ministry in this area, but will see how things pan out.

16-20th June: Jena, Germany – International Conference on Code Biology. 
Presenting a paper on the putative optimality of the genetic code and its relationship to theories of code origin (based on work from my PGDipSci).

24-26th June: Amsterdam, the Netherlands. ICETAR (International Conference on the Evolution and Transfer of Antibiotic Resistance).
(Likely) presenting a poster on evolutionary trade-offs as they relate to antibiotic resistance – TBC. Anyone who applies can present a poster (I think), so this isn’t too special unless they accept my talk abstract – will see.

2-3 July: British Society for the Philosophy of Science annual conference. University of Manchester.
I’ll be speaking on how different concepts of biological function relate to evolutionary theory. Based on work I prepared late last year. Was rather surprised to be accepted for this talk, since I’m not a philosopher, and I’m not convinced my own thesis is defensible, at least with the arguments suggested at in the abstract. I am concerned/intrigued/confused by my ability to convince experts that I am one of them, in a short piece of text.

7-13th July: Cambridge Scholars Network
Attending a seminar series for evangelical Christian PhD students, with Christian scholars, at the University of Cambridge. To learn, network and be mentored. This is a remarkable opportunity – thank you internet for the discovery, and thank you God.

22-25th July. University of Oxford, Ian Ramsey Centre for Science & Religion. ‘Human Difference’ conference.
I’m speaking on the human genome – particularly the ENCODE project, and other molecular measures of complexity over the animal kingdom, arguing that new evidence supports the claim that biological complexity can be objectively measured and plausibly peaks in humans. I was very surprised that this talk abstract was accepted, and this one scares the crap out of me. The plenary speaker is Alister McGrath, who is possibly my favourite academic in the world. This invitation to speak is undeserved.


While this is exciting, challenging, & scary, the most important things are still found in the ordinary everyday, in God’s extraordinary world, so I hope I can remember that.