Are you familiar with the philosophical and scientific belief of Underdetermination?

Taken from the book, 101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology…

Underdetermination The belief that for some sets of data, there are many hypotheses that adequately explain the data but are mutually incompatible with one another. Most of our theories of the world-philosophical, commonsensical, or even scientific-are underdetermined by the evidence that supports them. They are consistent with the facts, but the facts are not so compelling that their competitors can be shown to be logically inconsistent with the facts.

When two such theories are in competition, no appeal to the evidence, therefore, could determine the winner. Biblical interpretations and theological statements are underdetermined by the biblical data. Scripture is a mixture of history, myth, poetry, moral instruction, praise, hyperbole, prophecy, and so forth. Sorting through this array of genres requires some sort of *hermeneutical method. The inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture are of themselves incapable of delivering *God’s *truth. Without a hermeneutical method, the inerrant or infallible biblical data cannot communicate truth claims. Even if the biblical text is God speaking (even if Scripture is inerrant), one must still make hermeneutical decisions about whether God’s speaking is intended as a depiction of the nature of God.

Suppose God intends to impart information about God’s nature, is this information literal or metaphorical? Indeed, judgments must be made about how the Creator could possibly communicate information about God’s self to God’s creatures; how has God accommodated God’s self to human cognitive limitations? How does one tell if there has been accommodation or not?
Underdetermination may account for the apparent intractability of theological disputes. Consider the standoffs between Catholics and

Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox, Calvinists and Arminians, Baptists and Anabaptists, and classical and open theism. Theologians on both sides of these disputes believe their doctrines to be the only adequate explanation of the biblical data. However, if their competitors also adequately account for all of the biblical data, no appeal to the evidence could resolve the dispute.

See also Anthropomorphic Language; God, Nature of; Hermeneutics; Pragmatism; Reductionism; Religious Language; Simplicity. Bibliography. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Kelly James Clark;Richard Lints;James K. A. Smith. 101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology (Kindle Locations 2143-2150). Kindle Edition.

Here is another great place to learn more about it if your interested:

Mark 6:6–13

I value any (constructive) pertinent insights, questions, thoughts or opinions that you might have regarding the main point or core message of the passage I am working on for this coming Sunday. Thanks your involvement is appreciated!

  • This section of Mark: Mark 6:6-8:21 The kingdom extends to Gentiles: The Blindness of the Disciples

  • “Watch for two things in this section: (1) the role of the disciples and (2) Jesus’ ministry among Gentiles. It begins with the Twelve joining Jesus in ministry—with such success that Herod gets wind of it (6:6b–30). But note how the two “feeding” stories (6:31–44; 8:1–10) are both followed by the “hardness of heart” motif (6:45–52; 8:11–21). In between (6:53–7:37), Jesus ministers among the Gentiles, who show both faith (7:24–30) and amazement (vv. 31–37). Significantly, Mark brings the Pharisees into this scene as well, as Jesus eliminates the food laws by pronouncing all things clean (7:1–23). The “hardness of heart” narrative at the end (8:11–21) is especially important to Mark’s narrative. The Pharisees “test” Jesus about “a sign from heaven”; they are looking for a Messiah of worldly power. When his disciples fail to understand his warning about the Pharisees, note how his questions reflect Isaiah 6:9–10 (cf. Mark 4:9–12): “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?” (8:18).” Gordon Fee
  • Passage:

    • Mark 6:6–13 (ESV) 6And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. 7And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

    • How do you see the passage fitting into what this section seems to be focusing on?

    • Does this passages application feed into one or more of our churches core values?
      • Mission Statement:“The Fort St. James Evangelical Free Church seeks to be Christ’s servant in this community. We exist to worship God, to love and care for each other, to lead individuals to salvation and maturity in Jesus Christ, and to reach out to other people throughout the World.”
      • Our Core Values:
        • Service:seeks to be Christ’s servant in this community” We value learning and acting upon what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ to our church community and the community we live
        • Worship: “We exist to worship God” We value coming together as a church community and attributing honor, reverence and worth to God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). This includes the observances and celebration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, prayer, praise, thanksgiving, charity/giving, confession, preaching, teaching, the reading of Scripture, and protecting and caring for the churches people and core values.
        • Love:love and care for each other” We value learning and acting upon what it means to love God and people as Christ has taught us in scripture. We believe that the manifestation of Christ’s love in and among us will produce unity not uniformity.
        • Discipleship:lead individuals to salvation and maturity in Jesus Christ” We value the person and work of Christ and desire both learning and teaching that helps the believer understand what it means to follow Christ by faith with their lives.
        • World:to reach out to other people throughout the World” We value our world. We desire to learn how we can reach it in tangible and meaningful ways with the hope of God in Christ.


    • In your opinion does this passage push back against any of these current ways of seeing, understanding and living in this world?
      • “I” am the center of the universe
      • I am what I own
      • My nation is God’s nation
      • We can’t know what is universally good
      • All that matters is matter (Verse 2)
      • We are gods
      • All that matters is what my small group thinks
      • I can come to my full human potential through inner exploration
      • The Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior
      • The extreme adherence to tradition, especially in cultural or religious practice for salvation. Example: Holding faith in ONLY a system where all knowledge is derived from an original divine revelation and is transmitted by tradition.