The Bible and Science

Updated 6/27/2014
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Issues

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"The point of this discussion is to highlight the fact that from the beginning the emphasis of the Christian doctrine of creation, following the emphasis of the Bible, has been on the relationship between God and the world. Questions about how or when God created the world have been secondary issues. When the early theologians came up with the formula that ‘God created the world out of nothing’ they did so as a way of expressing the God-world relationship in theistic terms over against pantheism and dualism. For them, the importance of the statement was that it makes clear that God and the world are separate, that the world is not made out of eternally existing matter, and that the world  only exists because God chose to create it."

--Ernest Lucas--

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I think those of us with interests in new interpretations can do better at practicing what Wright calls a hermeneutic of love/charity/generosity (over against a hermeneutic of suspicion) toward our spiritual fathers and mothers. Something like remembering to honor our fathers and mothers in the faith especially when we come to the conclusion that they were wrong.

Jedidiah Slaboda 








                  The Bible and Science


T
he place of the Bible in the scientific task of understanding the natural world has conflicted the minds of Christians at least as far back as the time of Augustine. Over two millennia the role of Scripture in scientific explanation has ebbed and flowed according to time and place. Recently, there has been an increasing number of books and articles seeking to analyze the role of scripture in episodes ranging from the reality of Adam and Eve, the role of Noah's Flood in Earth history, Galileo's conflict with the Church, the image of God, the star which guided the wise men, and the nature of pre-Adamic hominids to present-day Creation Science and Intelligent Design advocates confrontation with mainstream science. New attention is being paid to the interpretation of Scripture - hermeneutics - especially the first chapters of Genesis and the other Ancient Near
East (ANE) documents with creation accounts that have similarities (and differences) with
Genesis

 

Finally, there is the role of theology. Christian theology considers the attributes of God, religious doctrine, and God's relationship with humanity and nature. Theology is rational and usually linked with philosophy. Our theology (often unknowingly) shapes the way we view everything - including nature. Theological reflections on science related topics are explored below.

 

Key Questions: While most Christian readers take science for granted, they are wary of any change in their ideas about how the Bible should be interpreted and their theological beliefs. Those new to the subject might profit from a look at the topic About Science & Faith.

 

The pages of the Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (PSCF) offer diverse  views on questions that continue to vex and often divide believers. The topics listed to the left consider some of the issues found in fields ranging from Astronomy to Psychology. Invariably, the topic of Creation (origins) receives the most interest. The historical accounts of the Bible and scientific discovery also challenge the reader to discern their individual value and relationship. 

Those who work in the sciences, pastors, and the Christian in the pew are challenged to consider creation and the task of those who would understand it. This part of our world view is difficult to grasp but basic to how we value God's creation and its use for our welfare. We ask the reader
to seriously take up this challenge as exemplified in the work of the authors who follow. Today's analysis of Bible/Science relationships is complex and tentative, yet rewarding.!

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Introduction

We begin with several basic studies that consider questions that emerge as we seek to relate faith and science.

 

        The Bible

                Hermeneutics:

 

hermeneutics (English pronunciation: /herməˈn(j)uːtɨks/) is the study of the theory and practice of interpretation.

 

Traditional hermeneutics—which includes Biblical hermeneutics—refers to the study of the interpretation of written texts, especially texts in the areas of literature, religion and law. Contemporary, or modern, hermeneutics encompasses not only issues involving the written text, but everything in the interpretative process. This includes verbal and nonverbal forms of communication as well as prior aspects that affect communication, such as presuppositions, preunderstandings, the meaning and philosophy of language, and semiotics --Wikipedia

 

The term hermeneutics covers both the first order art and the second order theory of understanding and interpretation of linguistic and non-linguistic expressions. As a theory of interpretation, the hermeneutic tradition stretches all the way back to ancient Greek philosophy. In the course of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, hermeneutics emerges as a crucial branch of Biblical studies.--Stanford Encyclopedia

 

********

A recent PSCF discussion of Biblical hermeneutics came in the September 2010 issue. These papers had been presented at the 2009 ASA Annual Meeting at Baylor university. This theme issue  "Reading Genesis: The Historicity of Adam and Eve, Genomics, and Evolutionary Science" received much interest at the time which later continued as a result of a June 2011 Christianity Today cover article and web release on the same theme. Views, pro and con, consumed Christian publications, pundit's pages, and blogs for longer than usual in today's rapid news cycle.

 

At first glance the choices seem stark; either hold onto one's hallowed beliefs or head down the slippery slope toward unbelief - ignore the implications of the new science or downgrade the authority of scripture. Further reflection might suggest that we wait for more scientific evidence and more unified biblical scholarship on early Genesis. Have Christianity Today and the conservative churches settled the question - "No Adam, No Eve, No Gospel.!" ?

 

A broad approach - one found in ASA publications - is to offer a variety of choices  that appear to reflect "good scholarship" on the one hand and belief in the "Authority of Scripture" on the other. We may find agreement on the broad picture but the devil is in the details.

 

Readers of this page - young and old - come from a wide variety of church and non-church backgrounds.   Rather, than looking for quick answers it might be better to sample some of the more general articles before dipping into the specialist pieces. Developing a Christian world-view is a life-long process. (JWHaas)

 

Paul Marsten ,  Understanding the Biblical Creation Passages, 2007 Lifesway 60 pp e-book

 

A helpful introduction is found in the article Science and the Bible: Are They Incompatible? Ernest Lucas. Science and Christian Belief, Vol. 17, No. 2, October 2005, pp. 137-154. The point of this discussion is to highlight the fact that from the beginning the emphasis of the Christian doctrine of creation, following the emphasis of the Bible, has been on the relationship between God and the world. Questions about how or when God created the world have been secondary issues. When the early theologians came up with the formula that ‘God created the world out of nothing’ they did so as a way of expressing the God-world relationship in theistic terms over against pantheism and dualism. For them, the importance of the statement was that it makes clear that God and the world are separate, that the world is not made out of eternally existing matter, and that the world  only exists because God chose to create it.


Andrew J. Brown, The Relevance of Augustine’s View of Creation Re-evaluated, PSCF 57 (June 2005): 134-145. Davis Young’s 1988 article, “The Contemporary Relevance of Augustine’s View of Creation,” contributed to the debate over the interpretation of the days of creation in CreationMedievalGenesis 1 by drawing on Augustine’s most significant work on this biblical text, The Literal Meaning of Genesis. The task left undone at that time was to more fully explore the basic interpretive approach of Augustine as a way of

 

A medieval missionary tells that he has found the point where heaven and Earth meet..." --The Flammarion woodcut.-Wikipedia

 

 providing a context for his specific outcomes. This article confirms that Augustine is a figure worth studying among church thinkers, surveys his position on the days of creation, then attempts to more carefully analyze the interpretive factors that drove Augustine to his conclusions. Six categories of factors are identified: exegetical constraints, theological factors, pastoral concern, apologetic motives, philosophical influences and operating presuppositions. Without grasping these various influences on his interpretation, Augustine’s conclusions may be cited for and against modern interpretive positions with little real understanding of his reasoning or its validity.

 

An earlier article by Conrad Hyers provides an interesting approach to the subject.  Resolution of science/religion conflicts is often thwarted by polarization into extreme viewpoints, such as "scientific creationism" and "scientific naturalism." Not only do the extremes attempt to dismiss each other; ironically, they often have much in common. They both place religious and scientific statements on the same level; they both try to draw religious and anti-religious conclusions from scientific data and theory; they both interpret religious texts, such as the creation accounts, in terms Of scientific fact and model-either to defend the scientific truth of the Bible or to reject the Bible as primitive science. If one carefully distinguishes between the special literature and language of the Bible and that of modern science, resolution of apparent conflicts is possible.

 

Ernest Lucas. "Interpreting Genesis in the 21st Century," Faraday Paper No 11: PDF This paper suggests that the early chapters of Genesis should be read as a theological text expressed in symbolic stories addressed to ancient Hebrews, and not as a scientific text. When read in this way the narratives become highly relevant to us today. Far from being incompatible with the findings of modern science, Genesis provides us with a framework within which we can pursue our science and technology for the positive benefit of humankind and the rest of creation--Faraday Institute Paper # 11..

 

Krista Kay Bontrager, "The History of the Universe in a Nutshell: Reflections on 2 Peter 3," PSCF 57 (December 2005): 318-324.  2 Peter 3 provides intriguing insight into how the biblical authors may have viewed the early chapters of Genesis, including the creation account.

 

The Two Books Concept


Mary L. VandenBerg, "What General Revelation Does (and Does Not) Tell Us," PSCF 62 (March 2010) : 16-24.


An introductory article considers the "two books" concept. "Reading God's Two Books," George Murphy, PSCF 58 March 2006): 64-67. My purpose here, however, is not simply to reject the two books concept. It is rather to ask some questions about it, point out its limitations, and suggest some cautions about its use.


See also: G. Tanzella-Nitti, "The Two Books Prior to the Scientific Revolution," PSCF 57 (2005): 235-248. The relationship between the revelation of God through nature and through Scripture is here studied by focusing on the metaphor of “the Two Books” as it was used from the Fathers of the Church up to the seventeenth century. According to the majority of the Fathers, the book of nature is as universal as the book of Scripture, and the content of each is to some extent equivalent. The authors of the Middle Ages emphasize that the capability of human reason to recognize God through the book of nature has been weakened by sin. Thus, it becomes necessary the reading of a “third” book, the book of the Cross.

 

Thematic Papers


When Faith and Reason Clash: Evolution and the Bible A classic discussion.

          

Conversations:


    Adam and Eve as Historical People, and Why It Matters


BY JACK COLLINS, AUGUST 20TH, 2010 audio lecture

 

    The Search for the Historical Adam

ASA has long been at the forefront of major developing trends in issues of science and Christian faith. Part of our mission is to explore and understand new scientific advances and their implications for our faith. Since 1954, more than two dozen articles have appeared in our journal where “Adam” appears in the title. In the last decade, the human genome project has catapulted the issue of historical Adam and Eve to the forefront. The cover story of the June 2011 issue of Christianity Today describes “The Search for the Historical Adam,” leaning heavily on key publications and talks from the ASA as well as the BioLogos Foundation.

Our goal continues to be to provide a forum for active discussion on seminal topics. The issue of historical Adam and Eve is extremely important to all of us. Scientific data now seem to dispel any alternative theories allowing for a one-couple human ancestry from the biological perspective. How does this impact our faith? Further ASA Discussion

Albert Mohler, "False Start? The Controversy Over Adam and Eve Heats Up " The denial of an historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the Gospel.


John A. McIntyre, "The Real Adam and Original Sin," PSCF 58 ( 2006): 90-98.

 

Peter Yoder, "Will the Real Adam, Please Stand Up!," PSCF 58 ( 2006): 99-101.

 

James P. Hurd, "Reply to the Real Adam and Original Sin," PSCF 58  ( 2006): 102-103.

David Wilcox, "The Original Adam and the Reality of Sin," PSCF 58 ( 2006): 104-105.

John A. McIntyre, "A Reply to the Responders,"  PSCF 58 ( 2006): 106-108.

George L. Murphy, "Roads to Paradise: Christ, Evolution, and Original Sin," PSCF  58(2006): 109-119.

more....       


Peter Rust, "Early Humans, Adam, and Inspiration."PSCF 59 (2007): 182. Two views of Genesis 1–11 are common. Young-earth creationism claims to take this text literally as inspired by God and interprets it as the history of the first few thousand years of the existence of the universe. Source criticism, on the other hand, takes it as an account of how ancient Hebrews viewed this history, God accommodating to their mythological beliefs derived from contemporary Near Eastern cultures, yet “breaking” these myths by framing them into monotheism. The former view is contradicted by science while the latter produces arbitrary hermeneutics and modifies biblical theology.

But if Adam was not the first human created in the image of God, he can be taken as a real person who lived at a Holocene time in Sumer, but who, called to prepare the way for the Messiah to come, became a type representative of fallen humans living both before and after his time.


raffaello creation of animals detail.jpgGlenn R. Morton, "The Dilemma Posed by the Wee People," PSCF 58 (2006): 142-145.


Perry G. Phillips, "Did Animals Die Before the Fall?," PSCF 58 (2006): 146-148.


Wilcox, David L., "Establishing Adam: Recent Evidences for a Late-Date Adam (AMH@100,000 BP)" PSCF 54 (2004): 49-55.



Zimmer, Raymond J., "A Possible Natural Complement to the Story of the Fall," PSCF 5 (2002): 158.



          Big Bang


Philippidis, Alex," Cosmic Controversy: The Big Bang and Genesis 1," PSCF 47 (1995): 190-194.


Johnson, Beverly Howard "In The Beginning..." I Think There Was A Big Bang!PSCF (1994): 58. 


          Chronology

"Biblical Chronology: Legend Or Science?"  James Barr, FBA , Regis Professor of Hebrew, University of Oxford The Ethel M. Wood Lecture 1987 Delivered at the Senate House, University of London on 4 March 1987 --  introduction to a much disputed topic

Isaac, Randy "Chronology of the Fall," PSCF 48 (1996): 34-42. The doctrine of the Fall is interpreted in many different ways in the Christian world. These interpretations are categorized in this article by the time scale in which natural and moral evil are believed to have come into the world. They are linked to different ideas of the creation of the world. Those interpretations that involve substantive changes in the physical world are difficult to reconcile with observational data. Those that involve no physical changes challenge our notions of the causal relationship between moral and natural evil. Though no interpretation is entirely satisfactory, each teaches some aspect of the truth.


Seung-Hun Yang "Radiocarbon Dating and American Evangelical Christians, "PSCF 45 (1993): 229-240. Radiocarbon (C-14) dating has several implications for Christianity, particularly in terms of the interpretation of the first part of Genesis. Since its advent in the mid-20th century, it has been one of the central topics in the creation-evolution controversy. As of the mid-1940s, radioactive dating had not attracted serious attention from the majority of evangelicals. Since the invention of the C-14 method and the appearance of evangelical professionals in this field, however, American evangelicals have divided themselves into two groups. One group has been made up of fundamentalist evangelicals, who accepted the global effect of Noah's flood and a young earth and rejected radioactive dates. The other, non-literalist group of evangelicals accepted some kinds of evolutionary uniformitarian hypotheses and radioactive dating.

       

       Miracles

 

Miracles and Science: The Long Shadow of David Hume  This paper is a translation of A. A. Louis, "Wonderen en wetenschap: De lange schaduw van David Hume," Omhoog kijken in Platland, ed Cees Dekker, Rene’ van Woudenberg en Gijsbert van den Brink, Ten Have (2007). Courtesy Biologos Foundation

 

     The Noachian Flood


Three Biologos Articles on the Biblical Flood - Peter Enns June 2010

 

Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, and the Flood I - The Biologos Forum

Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, and the Flood  II- The Biologos Forum

Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, and the Flood  III- The Biologos Forum


R. Joel Duff, "Flood Geology’s Abominable Mystery," PSCF 60 (2008): 166. Flowering plants represent the dominant part of Earth’s plant life today. The origin of these plants was once referred to by Darwin as an “abominable mystery” because they appear so late and so abruptly in the fossil record. Flood geologists (creation scientists) seek to explain the origin of fossils and the majority of geomorphic features we see today as resulting from a global deluge. Thus, flood geologists must also be able to explain the observed appearance of flowering plants late in the fossil record. This article examines the fossil record of plant pollen and spores in light of the predictions of flood and standard geology. Predictions may be made, based on flood geology models, of how pollen and spores would be expected to be distributed in the geological column as the result of a global flood. These predictions may be tested by observations from the fossil record. The fossil pollen and spore record is shown to exhibit features which would not be predicted by modern flood geology theory. Hence, the burden falls to the flood geologist to explain the pattern of pollen and spores in a manner that accounts for the “undeniable reality” of observed fossil succession.


Hill, Carol J.,  "Qualitative Hydrology of Noah's Flood," PSCF 58 (2006): 120-129.

Hill, Alan E., "Quantitative Hydrology of Noah's Flood," PSCF 58 (2006): 130-141.

Arlen Blodgett, "Result of a Survey of Archaeologists on the Biblical Flood," PSCF 57 (2005): 127-128.ark

Hill, Carol J., "The Noachian Flood: Universal or Historical?" PSCF 54 (2002): 170.

Morton, Glen R. The Mediterranean Flood," PSCF 49 (1997): 238.

Siemens, David F., Jr., "Some Relatively Non-Technical Problems with Flood Geology" PSCF 44 (1992): 169-174.

 

 

Age of Earth (further material)


Irons, Lee "Animal Death Before the Fall: What does the Bible Say?," Upper Register, 2007. 

 

Fischer, Dick, Young-Earth Creationism: A Literal Mistake PSCF 55 (2003): 222-231.  Biblical literalism” often is blamed when conservative Christians find themselves unable to cope with certain realities of this world and its encompassing universe, specifically, in respect to the great age of our surroundings—around 15 billion years for the universe and about 4.6 billion years for our global habitat. This article endeavors to shift the blame away from the written Scriptures, and place it squarely on the shoulders of those who to this point have been unable to comprehend them.


Watts, Rikki E., "Making Sense of Genesis 1" Contributed paper, June 2002.


Report of the Creation Study Committee  (Presbyterian Church in America, 2000). A thorough discussion illustrating the complexity of the age question for a conservative denomination.


Westminster Theological Seminary and the Days of Creation A Brief Statement(1999).


Irons, Lee, Gen. 1.1-2.3 The Framework Interpretation: An Exegetical Summary PSCF (1998): 272.


Kline, Meredith G., " Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony" PSCF 48 (1996): 2-15 To rebut the literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation week propounded by the young-earth theorists is a central concern of this article. At the same time, the exegetical evidence adduced also refutes the harmonistic day-age view. The conclusion is that as far as the time frame is concerned, with respect to both the duration and sequence of events, the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about cosmic origins.  The opening section gives a biblico-theological sketch of the two-register nature of cosmology as presented in Scripture. The second major section shows how two-register cosmology informs and shapes the treatment of both the space and time dimensions in the Genesis prologue. It is found that a metaphorical relationship exists between the two levels; the heavenly level (upper register) is described in figures drawn from the earthly level (lower register). As for the seven-day scheme, it belongs to the upper register and is, therefore, to be understood figuratively, not literally. The point of the concluding section is that Genesis 1, on any view that identifies the narrative order with the temporal sequence, would contradict the teaching of Gen. 2:5 concerning the natural mode of providence during the creation process.

 

Neglect of Geologic Data: Sedimentary Strata Compared with Young-Earth Creationist Writings (1987)  (PDF, 3.6 MB) by the late Daniel E. Wonderly. This is a 2006 e-book now available on-line through the ASA.

This work is an attempt to enlist creationists in a serious study of the actual characteristics of the earth's sedimentary strata. Creationist organizations are emphasizing some important truths about creation, but they have neglected the data of earth-science research... In this carefully documented book the author encourages evangelical Christians to take an interest in the real data of earth science...

Van Till, Howard J., "The Legend of the Shrinking Sun- A Case Study Comparing Professional Science and "Creation Science" in Action," PSCF  38 (1986): 164-174  The heart of the matter.

 

Krause, David J. "Apparent Age and its Reception in the 19th  Century," JASA 32 (1980): 146-150. Another old myth examined.


MeteorPhillips, Perry G., "Meteoritic Influx and the Age of the Earth," JASA 28 (1976): 14-16.


Kline, Meredith G.  "Because It Had Not Rained," Westminster Theological Journal 20 (1958):146-157. Used by Permission

 

 


General Papers


Graeme Finlay, et al., "Creation Versus Creationism," PSCF 58 (September 2006): 236-239. A view from New Zealand.


Stephen M. Barr, "Retelling the Story of Science." First Things 131 (March 2003): 16-25.


Roberts, Michael "Taking Darwin and the Bible Seriously" (January 2001).


Schneider, Robert J., "Does the Bible Teach a Spherical Earth?" PSCF 53 (2001): 159 [PDF]


Morton, Glen R., "Language at the Dawn of Humanity," PSCF 54 (2002): 193.


Brush, Stephen, "Creationism Versus Physical Science," APS News November 2000. (a view from the outside)

 

dragonPaul Seely, "The First Four Days of Genesis in Concordist Theory and in Biblical Contest," PSCF 49 (1997): 85-95.

Woodall, David L.  "The relationship between Science and Scripture in the Thought of Robert Boyle,"
PSCF 49 (1997): 32-39. The writings of Robert Boyle advance the thesis that Christianity in seventeenth- century England advocated and facilitated scientific development. As a scientist and theologian, he rejected the popular view that the Bible was a scientific textbook and yet believed in the absolute harmony between scientific statements in the Bible and experimental science. Conflicts between the two were explained as either a mistake in science or an incorrect interpretation of Scripture. Boyle followed Calvin's view of accommodation.

 

 

Bernard Ramm,  "The Relation of Science, Factual Statements and the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy," JASA 21 (1969): 98-104.  An earlier discussion. 

 

Wonderly, Daniel E., "Fanciful Bible-Science Stories' Harm: A Call to Action," PSCF 44.2:131-133 (6/1992). A good place to find countering arguments.


     Theological Papers


David A. Booth, Biological and Cultural Inheritance of the Image of God and of Original Sin |Audio | Slides | A lecture presented at the ASA/CIS Meeting, Edinburgh 2007.


Mark Shelhamer, Continuing Creation in Neuroscience: Implications for Understanding the Creator | Audio | A lecture presented at the ASA/CIS Meeting, Edinburgh 2007.


George L. Murphy, Science-Theology Dialogue and Atonement | Audio A lecture presented at the ASA/CIS Meeting, Edinburgh 2007.


George L. Murphy, "The Need For Theology," PSCF 53 (June 2001): 72-73. The reports of the April 2000 "Nature of Nature" conference in the July/August 2000 Newsletter of the ASA and CSCA by Glenn Morton and Bryan R. Cross bring out--I think inadvertently-- a serious deficiency in the Intelligent Design movement. More broadly speaking, they reveal a problem in many of today's conversations about science and religion: A failure to appreciate the need for theological expertise in such discussions.

 

A Dialogue...


Ross H. McKenzie, "Foundations of the Dialogue between the Physical Sciences and Theology," PSCF 56 (December 2004): 242--254. A theoretical physicist gives an appreciative but critical review of recent work by Alister McGrath on the dialogue between science and theology. Some of the important areas of dialogue that have been identified include the explicability and rationality of the physical world, the “fine-tuning” of the universe, and the faith involved in going from “inference to the best explanation.

 

Alister E. McGrath, "On Writing a Scientific Theology: A Response to Ross H. McKenzie," PSCF 56 (December 2004): 255-259. Alister McGrath responds to an important recent critique of his exploration of the dialogue between science and theology by the noted Australian theoretical physicist Ross McKenzie. The criticisms concerned relate to the use made of modern physics, the engagement with postmodernism, an evangelical perspective on theology, and fidelity to the thought of T. F. Torrance.


George L. Murphy, "Chiasmic Cosmology and Atonement," PSCF 60 (December 2008): 214. Traditional views of atonement have come under attack recently. Not only have specific theories been criticized, but some writers reject the very idea of atonement. Since some arguments to this effect have been based on scientific knowledge of the world, it is important to develop an understanding of atonement that makes contact with the modern science-theology dialogue. In this article, that is done as part of the chiasmic cosmology program in which the universe is seen in the context of a theology of the cross. Sin is described here as a threat to creation, and a view of atonement stressing the idea of “new creation” is presented. This involves a reorientation toward God’s intended goal of the evolutionary development of humanity and the world, which sin had thrown off course. The work of Christ is then seen as the descent of the Creator in order to re-create, the cross-resurrection event paralleling God’s initial creatio ex nihilo. The effects of this work on humanity are the death of the human as sinner and the new life of the believer reconciled to God. This article concludes with brief discussions of the Christ-Adam relationship, the new creation theme in other models of the atonement, and the cosmic scope of atonement.


Ladislav Kvasz,
"The Invisible Link Between Mathematics and Theology," PSCF 56 (June 2004): 111-116. If we compare the mathematics of antiquity with that of the seventeenth century, we find differences in a whole range of aspects. For the ancients, notions like infinity, chance, space, or motion fell outside mathematics, while in the seventeenth century new mathematical theories about these notions appeared. I believe that this fundamental change can be ascribed to the influence of theology. For the ancients, ontology and epistemology were in unity.


John E. McKenna, "Natural Theology," PSCF 49 (June 1997): 96. This paper argues that "natural theology" conceived as a conceptual system antecedent to the interpretive framework provided by the self-revelation of the Word of God with us is to be transformed and reconceived at the heart of that revelation. In this way, science and theology may find new powers of integration that can help the modern debates between them, and it may do this in the light of the real historical contexts in which their respective enterprises are pursued. Here scientists and theologians discover a deeper appreciation of their disciplines and perhaps the ground for more creative interaction.


Sara Joan Miles, "From Being to Becoming: Science and Theology in the Eighteenth Voltaire2Century," PSCF, 43 (December 1991): 215.


Voltaire (1694 1778) pseudonym of Francois - Marie Arouet French writer, the embodiment of the 18th Century Enlightenment -wikipedia

 

The 19th century French historian, Ernest Renan, characterized the conceptual shift that took place during the 18th century as a change from being to becoming. At the beginning of the century, it was believed that an immutable God had created a static Nature and given us an absolute revelation of Himself in Scripture. Natural theology, utilizing Lockean sensationalism, justified studying Nature as a means of learning about God. This approach undermined the authority of Scripture by giving primacy to reason and by linking particular theological views to specific scientific theories. When those static theories, emphasizing being, gave place in the 19th century to more dynamic explanations, the theological views were viewed as having also been overturned. The scientific theories of the French philosophes , relying on a different view of Locke, eliminated God and revelation.

 


David F. Siemens, Jr., "Neuroscience, Theology, and Unintended Consequences," PSCF 57, (September 2005): 187-190. Most contemporary neuroscientists hold that soul or mind is no more than what emerges from complexly organized matter, that is, is strictly a function of brain. While not necessary, this view has been adopted by some evangelicals who seek current relevance. They, of course, have to posit a nonmaterial deity, something clearly not part of science. Their claims have been disputed on grounds of incompatibility with the resurrection, with spiritual beings, with free will, and with eternal life. None of these criticisms has noted an even more fundamental problem: non-reductive physicalism apparently makes the Incarnation impossible.


Steven Hall, "Toward a Theology of Sustainable Agriculture," PSCF 54, ( June 2002): 1 - 5. Sustainable agriculture provides for present food and fiber needs, gives fair compensation to those entrusted with caring for the land, encourages healthy communities, and can continue far into the future. Few Christians have yet tackled this daunting field. The benefits to Christians and others may be great. Christians must recognize the biblical imperative of good stewardship of God’s creation, and the special issues of agriculture, so common in biblical themes. Secular companies, governments, and other institutions can gain from the wisdom and values of the Scriptures, still highly esteemed by many, and tied closely to our collective roots.


Terry M. Gray, "Give Me Some of That Old-Time Theology: A Reflection on CharlesCharles Hodge Hodge’s Discussion of Concursus in Light of Recent Discussions of Divine Action in Nature," Contributed Paper, ASA Annual Meeting July 26, 2002. Howard Van Till has suggested that traditional theological categories are unable to bear our current understanding of the character of the universe resulting from modern scientific investigation. He claims that notions such as “functional integrity” and the “Robust Formational Economy Principle (RFEP)” are not compatible with traditional discussions of creation and providence.

 

Charles Hodge

Dorothy Boorse, "Anti-Aging: Radical Longevity, Environmental Impacts, and Christian Theology." PSCF 57 (March 2005): 55-64.

Current biomedical research shows promise for prolonging human life spans. Responses to these possible technologies vary from extreme caution, to exuberance, to a futuristic vision of humanity transforming itself. Bioethicists express concerns about big social and individual costs. Some views are expressed in the rhetoric of a culture war similar to those over cloning, stem cell research, and euthanasia.


Allen G. Padgett, "Dialectical Realism in Theology and Science," PSCF 54  (September 2002): 184-192. I seek to provide a philosophical framework for bringing theology and the sciences into a closer relationship. This closer mutual modification can be described as developing a Christian and scientific world view. I advocate, first of all, a dialectical approach, building upon Greek theologians (Pseudo-Dionysius and Maximus the Confessor) and a German philosopher (T. W. Adorno). I also argue that a sophisticated, dialectical realism is superior to both naive realism and anti-realism for progress in the religion/science dialogue.

 

Media Presentations


Harrison, Peter "The Bible and Emergence of Modern Science," Faraday  Institute Lecture (5/24/2005) Lecture (19.4Mb) MP3

 

A helpful Web Site      


Books

 

John H Walton. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. IVP 2009  Proposes a reading of Genesis "faithful to the context of the original audience and author" and that the creation account does "not concern the material shape of the cosmos, but rather it's function." 


John Brooke, et. al. eds., Science in Theistic Contexts: Cogitative Dimensions, Osiris Vol. 16. History of Science Society, Chicago (2001).

John Brook and Geoffrey Cantor, Reconstructing Nature: The Engagement of Science and Religion, T&T Clark, Edinburgh (1998).

 

W. Robert Godfrey, God's Pattern For Creation:  A Covenantal Reading of Genesis 1, R&R Publishing, Phillipsburg NJ (2003).


David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers eds.,
When Science & Christianity Meet, University of Chicago Press, Chicago (2003).


W. Mark Richardson and Wesley J. Wildman eds.,
Religion and Science: History, Method, Dialogue, Routledge, NY (1996).


Biblical Archaeology Resources Archaeologists and enthusiasts locate links to excavations, writings, discoveries and discussions related to sites and events described in the Bible. (web link)

 

 

BibArch A helpful introduction to the field (click enter a couple of times when asked for a password)

 

Foundation for Biblical Archaeology - North Carolina based non-profit organization established to promote the science of biblical archaeology by providing funding and support for research.

 

Survey of Older Books  which discuss the Question of Age

More Recent Books

 

"Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, And Theological Commentary," C. John Collins (Feb. 2006). PB.  Expansion of his 2003 work.

 

"The Genesis Debate : Three Views on the Days of Creation,"   J. Ligon, Lee Irons, Hugh Ross, M. Kline, et. al. (2000). PB. 24-Hour View, Day-Age View, Framework View are each presented and debated.  Hermeneutical discussion of early Genesis for the most part.

 

"Genesis: The NIV Application Commentary."  John H. Walton  (Zondervan, 2001)  Has done some creative thinking on the interpretation of Genesis 1.

"Reading Genesis One: Comparing Biblical Hebrew with English Translation," Rodney Whitefield (2003) PB. A thorough study of the first 35 verses of the Bible invalidates the view that the earth is young.


"God's Pattern for Creation: a covenantal reading of Genesis 1
," W. Robert Godfrey (2003). PB. A Literary/Theological study of Gen 1.

 

"Science & Faith: Friends or Foes," C. John Collins, (2003). PB. Hebrew/theological study. Argues the Analogical Days View.

 

Peter Enns, "Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, " 2005, Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic. Short but valuable discussion of early Genesis interpretation.


Observation:

The last  two decade have seen renewed  interest by evangelical scholars iin the hermeneutics of early Genesis . However, these treatments have not been received with much enthusiasm by many conservative Christians. It is hard to replace older "concordistic" traditions with literary interpretations and difficult for busy scientists or the laity to seriously study the biblical literature. Moreover, to this point there is no treatment that joins the historical sciences and the Bible in a compelling fashion. Our biblical backgrounds are so diverse and emotionally ingrained and the details so difficult to pull together that it is best not to insist on any single approach. Rather. let us keep the discussion ongoing in friendly fashion-editor

 

 

Most Recent Entry: 6/27/2014

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