Theological Issues in Geography

There is an introductory video clip here:  http://youtu.be/QO0vDA4Y3ao

 

“Work hard so God can approve you.  Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  Avoid godless, foolish discussions that lead to more and more ungodliness.” (2 Timothy 2:15-16 NLT)

  • Do you know everything there is to know about God?
  • Do you understand the Bible perfectly?

If we are honest, I suspect we would also answer “No” to those questions.  Our finite minds can never fully know the infinite God who created the universe.  Our limited understandings can never fully grasp all the Scriptures reveal to us about God.

So, we have to humbly admit that when it comes to understanding God (or “theology”, literally  “the study of God”), we are all learners.  The theologian who has written dozens of great books is still a learner.  So is each one of us. None of us ever “arrives” at a point where we know it all, understand it all, and are “perfect” Christians. The greatest saints in history have recognized that “wisdom leads us back to childhood,” when, in awe and wonder, we realize how little we truly do know (Blaise Pascal). That makes life – and our relationship with God – humble, but exciting!

As each of us reads Scripture, studies, learns and grows, our beliefs and lives are continually shaped and reshaped. My theology grows in relation to this course as I

  • continue to read and study Scripture,
  • read Earth and Atmospheric Science and geography,
  • teach this class and learn from students,
  • grow in my appreciation and worship of God,
  • enjoy His great creation,
  • recognize how little I really know about both God and geography!

What I want to do is introduce you to the Scriptural texts that shape my theology of creation – and to encourage you to think about what they mean for you, your faith, and your life.

It is significant that in every section of Scripture, the Earth is described as God’s creation

  • Genesis 1-2
  • Psalms 19, 90, 102, 148
  • Job 38-41
  • Isaiah 40:46
  • Jeremiah 10:12
  • Amos 4:13
  • Matthew 19:4
  • John 1:3
  • Romans 1:25
  • 1 Corinthians 11:9
  • Colossians 1:16
  • Revelation 4:11
  • Revelation 10:6

Nehemiah 9:6 summarizes the Bible’s teaching on the Earth and creation:  “You alone are the LORD. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve and give life to everything, and all the angels of heaven worship you.” (NLT)

A. Biblical Assertions

 Here are some basic biblical assertions that are critical for this course:

1.  Creation “ex nihilo” (Latin “out of nothing”)

The teaching in Scripture is that God created the world “out of nothing” (Genesis 1, John 1:3, Romans 4:17, 1 Corinthians 1:28, Hebrews 11:3).

This implies God is sovereign over all creation and independent of it.

  • Matter and God are not two more-or-less equally powerful entities or principles (as in Plato)
  • the Earth is not somehow divine itself (as in pantheism or New Age philosophy)
  • God is in no way limited by creation, although he usually chooses to work within and through creation

In this course we are studying God’s special creation … not random events.  In doing so, we learn about God, the Creator!  While we are often conscious that we, as people, are created by God, we need to remember that He also created the oceans, lakes, forests, mountains, and air.  Creation is His temple (Psalm 103).  He has invited us to live in it and care for it.

2. Continuing Creation

God did “create” somehow, sometime “in the beginning.”  But he did not simply create in one massive event, then step back and become detached from creation.

Theologians differentiate among

  • primary creation – the initial creation out-of-nothing: the formation of the Earth, planets, stars, etc. (Genesis 1)
  • secondary creation – when God used previously created materials are used to make new things (e.g. Adam and Eve, Genesis 2)
  • continuing creation – God’s continuous, unbroken sustenance and renewal of the world (Psalm 19).  Every new life is an act of God’s creation (Psalm 139).

The Bible sees God at work in what we would call the natural order of things:

  • stars and seasons (Job 38:31-33, Isaiah 40:26, Acts 14:17)
  • the weather (Job 38, Matthew 5:45)
  • life cycles (Job 39, Matthew 6:28-30)
  • people’s life cycles (Psalm 104:27-36, Psalm 139)

The various systems and cycles we discuss in this course are understood, biblically as instituted by God and sustained by God. If he were to step back and withdraw, the whole thing would fall apart, back into chaos or non-existence. This course should lead us to a deeper sense of awe, wonder, and worship of the Creator and Sustainer God who loves us and provides so wonderfully for us! The Bible is NOT a science textbook that gives us all the details of how these processes work (that’s why we do science!).

3. Creation is “Good”

The refrain or chorus in Genesis 1, echoed in other parts of Scripture, is that God’s creation is “good.”  Good does not simply mean “not bad.”  “Good” means …

  • Creation was designed according to a good plan
  • Creation is orderly (Job 38-41)
  • Creation is responsive (Psalm 96:1, 11-13; 97:1; 148:3-6)

Creation was designed to worship God and give Him glory!  The Psalms speak of the sun, moon, stars, clouds, fish, hail, snow, wind, mountains, trees, wild animals, livestock, reptiles and birds all praising God!  Of course they do not praise God the way we, as people, do!  But the Bible says they do praise God in their own way!

Creation was also created with order and purpose, to work together well.  Creation can supply us with our needs … as we care for and nurture creation (Genesis 2:15).

  1.   Creation reveals God

Revelation is the theological term for how God makes Himself known (or reveals Himself).

Theologians differentiate between general revelation – God’s revealing of Himself through nature, history, and the inner being (conscience) of human beings.  It is “general” in that it is available to all people, everywhere.  You don’t need the Bible to see the beauty of a sunset and begin to wonder about the One who created it.  You don’t need the Scriptures to know you have an innate sense of right and wrong, and speculate on where it came from (see C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity).

General revelation gives us general inklings about God’s existence and some aspects of His personality.  As scientists study the intricacies of the universe, for instance, many have come to believe in the existence of a divine creator – the cosmos (the Greek word for he entire universe) is so amazing.  But general revelation does not provide detailed insights into God’s plan for salvation.  We may come to believe in a divine creator by observing the wonders of nature, but we will can not know about our need for forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ.

The other form of revelation is special revelation – God specifically reveals His plan for our salvation through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and through the written record of His self-revelation, the Bible.  Not all people, everywhere, are exposed to this special revelation.  God entrusts His people, the church, to make known this message.

These two forms of revelations suggest:

  1. that there is a possibility of some knowledge of God outside special revelation (that is, without reading the Bible or hearing the good news about Jesus).  This is not a saving knowledge; we need to be engaged in missionary work!  But non-Christian people may have some inkling of God’s existence as they explore creation, study history, and experience the leading of their consciences.  This can provide an exciting starting point for evangelism, especially with people interested in the natural sciences.
  2. since creation is part of God’s revelation, we ought to expect harmony between what we learn about God from creation and what God reveals to us through special revelation, including the Bible.  The Bible will not contradict science, nor will the discoveries of science contradict the Bible. Given some of the controversies between science and Christians through the centuries, this is important to remember!  You can be a strong Christian and a conscientious scientist!  There is no contradiction.  In fact, true science and true biblical faith should complement and reinforce one another!
  3. as Christians, we can use our knowledge of God’s work in creation (both as Creator and Sustainer) as common ground to build relationships with non-Christians.  Many natural scientists, and environmentally-concerned people have a sense of wonder and awe as they learn about and interact with nature.  This can be a perfect starting point for conversations about the Creator, Designer, and Sustainer of the universe!

 B. Christianity and Science

For over 1800 years, Christians were among the leaders in scientific enquiry.  In fact many early scientists were motivated to do their work by their Christian faith.  Christians understood that as they studied the world (God’s general revelation) they were learning about God (God’s creation)!  They believed that just as you can learn much about an artist by studying her paintings, you could learn much about God by studying His creation.  Science was as a profoundly religious activity.  Many leading Christian scientists to this day approach the world this way.

By the nineteenth century, however, conflict had developed between some (not all) Christians and some (not all) scientists.  Vicious verbal and legal battles ensued over a variety of issues.

  • Science was perceived to explains things logically and naturally. Religion was perceived to explain things entirely in terms of the miraculous, without logic or reason.
  • Science was purported to deal with facts, which could be observed and proved.  Christianity was supposed to deal only with values and emotions, which were unverifiable.
  • Science was considered to be logical and progressive.  Christianity was alleged to be based on an illogical leap of faith, and to be opposed to progress (even regressive).

Note that none of these assertions are really accurate.  Christians who are scientists, while acknowledging the reality of the miraculous, still seek order, logic, and reason; they believe God create the universe in an orderly, logical design.   Christianity does deal with facts — about creation, human history, Jesus’ life and death, etc.  Christianity does involve a leap of faith, but so does a belief in no God (atheism).  Some Christians have been opposed to “progress,” but so have some non-Christians.

Some scientists have suggested that if something can be explained “naturally” or logically, God must not exist.  Some Christians, unfortunately, have often encouraged this idea, by agreeing with the assertion that God exists in the “gaps” – the “supernatural” parts of experience which science cannot yet explain. But as scientists learn more and more, the “God of the gaps” gets squeezed out. These Christians are put in the awkward position of having to “believe the Bible” against the “facts of science.”

The Bible, however does not distinguish between the “natural” and the “supernatural.” God is seen as just as active in the daily revolution of the Earth as in the provision of miraculous quail from heaven in Exodus. God is just as real, whether his methods can be described logically by science, or whether they appear to be miraculous.  Science is rightly seen by Christians, not as in any way disproving God, as in proving how amazingly God created the world and continues to sustain it.

Just because we understand things in a logical, scientific way, however, does not rule God out of the equation.  We believe that God created the universe in logical, rational ways, so it should only be natural that we can discover His ways.  This does not prove God does NOT exist.  It may actually confirm that a brilliant, logical mind may have had to create such a finely tuned universe.

Physicists – non-Christian and Christian – talk about the “anthropic principle” – the fact that a vast array of forces, energy and matter are precisely balanced in order for the universe to exist at all, and certainly for carbon-based life (like us!) to survive.  This has challenged physicists to wrestle with the possibility of an incredibly intelligent Creator (for a quick introduction see John Polkinghorne’s “The Anthropic Principle and the Science and Religion Debate” — for more detail see John Barrow and Frank Tipler’s The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford:  Oxford UP, 2003) or Rodney Holder, God, The Multiverse, And Everything: Modern Cosmology And The Argument From Design (Cambridge:  Ashgate, 2004).  (Both Polkinghorne and Holder are physicists at Cambridge University)

As we “do science,” then, we are studying theology – we are learning about God!

For a wonderful, integrated worldview, watch these two youtube videos in which Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Senior Scientist on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Programme.

  1. Science and Christianity both deal with facts and values

 Both science and Christianity deal with evidence – facts.  Science does deal directly with evidence we can see, touch, and measure in our world.  By its nature, science deals with that which can be measured, described (typically mathematically) and is testable/reproducible.

But scientific knowledge is not the only valid form of knowledge.  For instance, we know historical facts, although we cannot actually test them or reproduce them.  We believe in things like love, justice, and compassion though we cannot prove them.  And we value story, drama, and music although we cannot measure it.  Christianity does deal with evidence about historical events, places, and personalities.  For instance, we can investigate the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  We can study Jesus by the methods of the science of history.  And we can study some of the other truths of Christianity – love. mercy, justice, etc.  The Bible does not deal with explaining the physical world in great detail, which is the main concern of the natural sciences.  But what it does say is not at odds with the findings of science.  The facts of the Bible and the facts of science are complementary, not contradictory.

Both science and Christianity deal with values.  Values influence the questions scientists ask, the way they conduct their research, and how they interpret the results.  The current debate on medical and reproductive technologies (e.g. cloning, stem cell research), for instance, is a discussion about values as much as about science.  Christian values influence how we make choices and conduct our lives, also.  Some people suggest the “facts” of science and Christianity are contradictory, when they are really talking about  their values.

  • A scientist, for instance, may start off with a disbelief in basic Christian understandings, therefore they may suggest their facts disprove Christian faith.  Theycannot see, touch, smell, or taste God — so God must not exist.  They may argue the facts prove there is no God.  Of course this is absurd!  Their values — his choice about what constitutes facts or proof (what they can see, touch, smell, taste) — shape their conclusions (that is a cultural understanding of knowledge). On this basis, this scientist cannot believe in love, beauty, or joy, either.
  • A Christian, for instance, may argue against the evidence of science because they starts with the vague notion that science  threatens their faith … Someone has told him that science will undermine their faith.  Somehow they think scientific knowledge will challenge biblical Christianity.  I  know of no solid scientific evidence that challenges biblical Christian belief.  Some theories (like evolution) may challenge us and stretch us but that is OK.  We still have to deal with the evidence and provide a plausible alternative account..
  1. Both science and Christianity require a leap of faith

Many scientific findings cannot be “proved.”  The scientific method insists you consider the evidence and construct a theory that best explains the evidence and predicts future events.  Theories are guesses – well-informed guesses, but guesses nevertheless.  In order for something to be proved (to be considered a law) you must demonstrate that there are never – ever – any exceptions.  All it takes is one exception and the law must be thrown out.  For centuries, people considered Newton’s theories to be inviolable laws – until Einstein demonstrated they were false!  In the natural sciences …

  • there are very few proven laws – none of which contradict the Bible.
  • there are lots of theories (unproved guesses) – some of which are presented as laws, but which are always open to refutation by new data.

Good scientists will be very careful to distinguish between laws and theories.  Alas some scientists, because of their values, will present theories as facts.  This is poor science.

At the same time, Christianity cannot be “proved” scientifically.  We can provide compelling logical arguments for the existence of God, the deity of Jesus, and the resurrection (see Josh MacDowell’s, Evidence that Demands a Verdict or Lee Strobel’s, The Case for Christ, The Case for a Creator,  and The Case for Faith).  But  people can question the evidence.  Historical events and personages are notoriously hard to “prove” (consider the debate over whether Shakespeare actually wrote the plays credited to him … or whether a person named Shakespeare even existed!).  The evidence supporting the Bible’s records is overwhelming (see, for instance, F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?).

Both science and Christianity require a leap of faith.  Christianity demands that at some point a person simply believes Jesus is her Saviour and places her life in Jesus’ hands.  Science can insist that we take the leap of faith to believe only what we can perceive with our senses.  But what of emotions like love?  Values like beauty?  We know these things exist, but we cannot see, smell, or touch them.  Most scientists acknowledge that science has its limits.  It cannot deal with things like values or emotions.

Science and Christianity complement one another.  Science explicitly emphasizes the what of creation, but says little about the purpose or value of creation.  Christianity explicitly addresses the purpose and the value (“it was good”) of creation, but does not speak about the what in great detail.

  1. Both science and Christianity can be progressive or regressive

Science can be progressive.  Advances in technology, such as medicine, have dramatically improved the world.  Science can also be regressive.  The invention of weapons of mass destruction has left millions seriously ill, crippled, or dead.

Christianity has been progressive.  The first scientists believed that by better understanding God’s creation they could improve the world.  Christians have been in the forefront bringing medical, educational, and social reform around the world.  Some Christians have been regressive.  Christians have behaved dishonorably – responsible directly or indirectly for genocide (the Crusades, Czarist Russia) and for brutally opposing honest scientific inquiry (back in the days of Galileo, Copernicus).  In some of the debate around the age of the earth or evolution Christians have behaved and written in non-Christian ways.

The fact that some scientists and some Christians have done disreputable or evil things with their knowledge and convictions, does not disprove either science or the Bible!

There is absolutely no logical contradiction between being a good scientists and being a solid Christian! 

  1. Science versus “Scientism”

This is a bit of review, but I think it’s worth re-emphasizing …

Some people will argue that the only true knowledge is scientific knowledge.  They would contend that what is the “truth” is ONLY what can be measured, described accurately (preferably by mathematical formulae), and reproduced reliability by anyone anywhere.  For some types of things, this is very appropriate (for instance, to safely design a building that won’t collapse, you hope the architect and engineer have this kind of knowledge – and use it!).  But not all worthwhile knowledge can be derived in this way.  Things like love, beauty, justice, music, art, etc ARE valid forms of knowledge, but not scientific knowledge.

Hint:  if you have to create a scientific experiment to know if your girlfriend/boyfriend loves you … you probably know the answer before you conduct the experiment!  And no scientific experiment is really going to result in a useful answer!

However those who hold that only scientific knowledge is truth cannot accept other forms of knowledge.  They are not valid.  Because they cannot prove these things, they cannot be real.  Similarly, because they cannot prove the existence of God by a scientific experiment, God must not exist.  Therefore, they would contend, God is a delusion.  Since He is not measurable or testable on their terms, He cannot exist.

A worldview that believes that only this limited scientific knowledge is true knowledge is called “scientism.”  This is a philosophical belief and religious perspective itself.  Scientism is the conviction that only observable/testable knowledge it true, that such knowledge holds all the answers to all our problems, and – ultimately – of the meaning of life, the universe and everything.  In this faith position, only the scientific method yields genuine knowledge.  Notice this is a huge faith statement!  Science is the ‘god’ that will cure all our ills and give us purpose and meaning.  Can science really do that?  I don’t think so …

Scientism is the perspective taken by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and some of the other outspoken atheists.  It is also popular among some scientists (in my experience, more so among those who think they know a lot about science but really don’t than true science professionals).  For a brief commentary on these folks see Alister McGrath’s “Has Science Killed God?”  McGrath has written several excellent books engaging atheism/anti-theism.

But science, alone, of course, leaves us with a very incomplete and impoverished understanding of reality and human experience.  I really wonder if these people actually live up to their beliefs – their lives would be very cold, sterile … and lonely!

Scientific knowledge is fantastic for helping us understand natural phenomena.  But it cannot really help us comprehend other things including values, personality and purpose.  And it cannot prove or disprove God, who He is, or what His purposes are.

Christians need have no problems with science as one source of truth.  Scientific truth is true – just not the whole truth.  Scientism, however, as a worldview (really a religion), is problematic.

For more, see Ian Hutchinson’s Monopolizing Knowledge (Belmont, MA:  Fias 2011) (Hutchinson is a professor of nuclear physics at MIT).  For a lecture by Hutchinson, click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJmFj7vp_cI&feature=relmfu

C. Science and the Bible …

Unlike some Christians and some scientists – and like the majority of professional scientists with Christian faith I know – I see no contradictions between the Bible and the discoveries of science.  I believe some of the problems Christians and scientist have with each other arise from inadequate understandings of the  Bible or inadequate understandings of science …

  1. How do we properly study the Bible?

 We read the Bible as people separated from the world in which and to which it was originally written by two thousand or more years!  Most of us read the Bible in translation – not in the original languages.  And the cultures and experiences we read about are often strange to us (reread Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges!).  This raises some questions about how we need to read the Bible to understand what God is saying to us.  Here are some basic principles for good Bible study:

  • We need to look at the whole Bible as the inspired Word of God.  No part is more or less inspired.
  • To understand a specific topic or doctrine (for instance, creation), we need to pull all relevant texts together, not just limit our study to one passage.  For instance, some Christians focus all of their attention on Genesis 1-2, ignoring wonderful passages like Job 38-41, Psalm 19, Psalm 148, Colossians 1, or Romans 8.
  • When we consider a specific passage, we need to ask:  What does it mean in context?  For instance, Genesis 1-2 was written by Moses to Israelites wandering in the wilderness.  To people yearning for a promised land and experiencing only desert, this is a wonderful expression of the power and sovereignty of God.  And of the goodness of creation.  God is also setting the scene for Genesis 3-4 – the story of how His glorious creation was corrupted by sin.  The ancient Israelites had no scientific understanding as we do — they saw the sky as a solid dome, and the sun, moon, and stars as lights inside the dome; their were waters above the dome, which fell as rain.  They understood the Earth to be flat.  The thought the sun and stars rose and set while the Earth was stationary.  They believed the garden of Eden still literally existed at the headwaters of the Nile (Gihon), Ganges (Pishon), Tigris, and Euphrates Rivers.  Does the passage intend to speak of the scientific details of celestial mechanics, the hydrologic cycle, locational geography, or the age of the Earth?  Thinking about the passage in context, these were not the dominant themes.  They could not possibly have comprehended such things.  People wandering in the wilderness needed to be assured that even this desolate wasteland was God’s creation, and that it was good.  Even here God would provide for them.  The issue of when creation happened was irrelevant to them!
  • We then need to ask:  How have godly people down through the ages understood this?  We need to use dictionaries, commentaries, theology texts, and the wisdom of mature Christians to our advantage.  God has blessed with wonderful resources.  He expects us to use them.  When you do so, read widely.  It is tempting to limit your reading to one author or one perspective because it agrees with your preconceptions.  Broaden your reading to read other ideas.  Then you will understand issues more clearly.  When there are two dramatically different points of view (e.g. What Genesis says about the age of the Earth), I always read both sides. Don’t take one person’s word that, “This what the other guys believe.”  Read the other guys!  You’re faith will not be undermined!  It will be well informed and strengthened!
  • We then need to ask:  What is the root principle God is teaching us?  I suggest that in Genesis 1-2, for instance, the root principles are the sovereignty of God, the power of God, the goodness and orderliness of creation, and – in contrast – the horror and chaos of sin.
  • What does that root principle mean in our context? We need to remember that God is the God who created everything.  We need to know God cares for and sustains His creation.  We need to know creation is fundamentally good and orderly.  And we need to be reminded of the dreadful evil that is sin.

If we follow these steps carefully, we can be quite confident that we have a good theological understanding of an issue.  If we are inconsistent or incomplete in our study, we may come up with a skewed theological understanding of an issue.

Among the most common pitfalls to good Bible study are:

  • Relying on only one biblical text and not looking at the whole teaching of Scripture.
  • Relying on preconceived ideas
  • Ignoring the context of a particular verse or text
  • Ignoring the question, “What did this mean when it was written” (The NIV Application Bible Commentaries are really helpful, here.  Each passage is discussed in terms of its original meaning, bridging contexts, and contemporary relevance).
  • Ignoring the genre (type) of literature of the text (poetry, history, letter)
  • Not using resources available to help (dictionaries, commentaries, mature Christians, etc.)
  • Overlooking the worldview and knowledge of the people to whom the text was first given (to ancient people, it did appear the sun rose and set – revolved around the Earth – therefore that is how the Bible expresses it ).
  • Not being humble and teachable by the Word of God (we come at an issue with a closed mind, know we’re right before we start!).
  • Not reading a variety of perspectives (sides) on an issue.
  • Missing the main point of a passage by focusing on less important issues
  1. How do we properly study science?

The scientific method suggests that:

  1. We begin with the real world and ask:  What do we want to know?  What question needs answering?
  2. We observe and collect data
  3. We try to develop an explanation based upon our observations
  4. We develop an hypothesis or theory – a formal, generalized principle we believe is true
  5. We test the hypothesis/theory by making predictions and testing it
  6. If our predictions and tests fail, we start over!
  7. If our predictions and tests are successful we have a general theory or law

Note:    a scientific theory is a good guess supported by all observed data, but not absolutely proven beyond doubt  (e.g. global warming)

A scientific law is considered to be a general principle proven beyond all reasonable doubt  (e.g, gravity)

If we follow these steps carefully, we can be quite confident that we have a good scientific understanding of an issue.  If we are inconsistent or incomplete in our study, we may come up with a skewed understanding.  “Good” science follows this process and carefully distinguishes between theory (unproved) and law (proved).  “Poor” science may portray theory as law.

Among the most common pitfalls to good science are:

  • Relying on only one set of data; not having a large enough sample
  • Ignoring data contrary to one’s preconceived interpretation
  • misinterpreting the data
  • Not using resources available to help (equipment, other research, experts in the field)
  • Extrapolating (going beyond) the data we have too far or to incorrect conclusions
  • Assuming only scientific knowledge is valid knowledge; other sources of truth – such as the Bible – are not as important (scientism)

In my experience, good Bible study and interpretation and good science always complement one another.

Feel free to discuss these issues on the course discussion site (see the syllabus for details …)

D. Recognizing that Christian faith and science can complement one another

Science and faith – both studied well – ought to complement one another perfectly.  After all, IF we believe God created the universe, then, as we study His creation, then we should expect that by studying His cosmos, we will understand Him better.  And we ought to expect it to be consistent with His revelation to us in Scripture.  It could not be otherwise!  Of course this requires humble science – faithful observation and honest interpretation.  And it requires humble biblical study and theological reasoning – including faithful reading of the text and an honest interpretation following the principles of good hermeneutics.  The challenges come when we begin with a preconceived theory of what the Bible says and force our scientific understanding to fit that, OR if we begin with a preconceived scientific theory and force Scripture to fit.  Neither in helpful.  Or is faithful to God or His creation.

At one point in my career, I taught geography and systematic theology back-to-back, sometimes to the same students.  That “blew” some of their preconceptions about disciplinary boundaries!  But I believe they ought to be seen as more similar than different.  One primarily uses Scripture to help us understand God and His creation.  One primarily looks at God’s creation to help us understand Him and His world.

Historically many of the greatest (what we would now call) scientists were Christian clergy!  There is still an above average percentage of scientists who are Christians.

Dr Ruth Bancewicz, a biologist at Cambridge University, has a great blog on positive interactions between scene and faith at Science and Belief – A blog about the positive interactions between science and faith. .  This is also on Facebook (“Science and Belief”).  Another great Facebook “like” that will give you updates on new work in this area is the “Faraday Institute for Science and Religion” (Cambridge).

Here are some other great resources:

For oodles of more Resources on connections and issues in Christian theology and science, check out the Christians in Science Resource pages.  They have pages on

There is a great resource on Making Up Your Mind About the HOW of Creation here, too.

If the The Debate over the Age of the Earth is an issue for you, here is some extra reading … (you do not have to study this for the exam)

 

This page is the intellectual property of the author, Bruce Martin, and is copyrighted © 2016 by Bruce Martin.  This page may be copied or printed only for educational purposes by students registered in courses taught by Dr. Bruce Martin.  Any other use constitutes a criminal offence.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.