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June 23, 2010 Tags: Education

Today's video features Os Guinness. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

In this video Conversation, Os Guinness discusses the need for bridging the gap between science and faith for a group that he calls the “missing middle”.  Guinness notes that this “missing middle” group needs intelligible, thoughtful, and practical ways to integrate their understanding of science and Christian faith.

Guinness notes that Christians should relate their faith to all sorts of issues, including science, and should have no fear of doing so.  Guinness quotes George Whitfield, who said, “[I’m] never better than when I’m on the full stretch for God.”  In the same way, Christians should feel confident when they find themselves "on the full stretch" in reconciling their understanding of science-and-faith issues, even if doing so appears at first to pose a threat their faith.     

Instead of being fearful of how to reconcile two seemingly disparate worldviews, believers must be confident in truths—scientific or otherwise—because all truth is God’s truth.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.

Os Guinness is an author, social critic, and founder of the Trinity Forum. He has been a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies and a guest scholar and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a frequent speaker at political and business conferences around the world and has written or edited more than 25 books.

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Merv - #18593

June 23rd 2010

I did listen to, and appreciate, this clip, but my reaction here is more about a snippet in the title and description:  the phrase “the missing middle”

While bridge-builders (the middle people?) are great, and I hope I am one myself, it should still be noted that bridges are not for living on.  They are for passage.  And I think Mr. Guinness probably has the more productive sort of 2-way passage in mind where people interact with and use both science and faith, thus not using the “bridge” as a one-way street.

The more negative way some will see this is that people who don’t dismiss science (including Christians) are on one side (the side that is usually against polarization and interested in ‘bridge-building’), and people who are accused of being anti-science (i.e. YECs who even embrace polarization) on the other, and the function of the bridge is to get YECs to come away from that side.  (a one-way bridge).  If I was a YEC, I would be hostile to such conciliatory-looking overtures.  Maybe it actually does need to happen, but we should call it what it is, all the while remembering that all they see when looking at the “bridge” is that terrifying “slippery slope”.


Merv - #18595

June 23rd 2010

correction:  knowing how hypersensitive some may understandably be to word choice, I should clarify that when I said “people who don’t dismiss science (including Christians) ...” I was by no means implying that meant “all Christians” were already on that side.  I should have said ‘including some Christians’.


cranium - #18616

June 23rd 2010

Comment removed by moderator.

merv - #18619

June 23rd 2010

Ahhh!  The black & white world of the simple.  I presume you threw that out in jest.  But if not, start reading some books or doing some reflective thinking —-just start out bits at a time.  It’s a trip - it really is!


cranium - #18620

June 23rd 2010

It is simple Merv. Accommodationists and apologists need not apply.

Either god exists and all emanates from him, or god does not exist and everything is evidenced by science in one form or another. Ultimately one will disprove the other. Unless you are faux religious, picking and choosing elements that you are comfortable with (which most religious practice does anyway).

So while people can be ‘of faith’ and dabble in science, there is still a finite position which one day will need to be taken.

You yourself ‘noted that bridges are not for living on.  They are for passage’ - so choose an end.

Mike Gene - #18625

June 24th 2010


They are fundamentally incompatible. Either you believe in god and all that flows from that, or you believe in science and all that flows from that - which does not include god.

Can you provide the references to the peer-reviewed, scientific studies that demonstrated this proposed incompatibility?  I’d like to take a look at the methods and results.

Robert Byers - #18630

June 24th 2010

It all comes down again to the opinion or conviction that a good case is made against certain origin claims of the bible. We biblical creationists (YEC) simply say they haven’t made a good case. We fight the case and we make our own.
We strive to reach the jury (the people) and when we do we do okay.
The author here is showing its settled in his mind (and so should be for all) that evolution etc has proven its case.
We are just unreasonable for resisting.
We say we are reasonable and resist with excellent biblical, intellectual, and successful results.
I’m new here and await for Genesis deniers to make a good case.
bring your best stuff.

Merv - #18651

June 24th 2010

Cranium, the problem with hyper-orthidox fundamentalists and atheist fundamentalists alike is that neither seems to be able to conceive of any other approach to religion or science apart from fundamentalism.  Until you can free your mind from that prison or at least just peek through the barred windows, you will never understand what you are rejecting.

So, along with Mike, I’m curious what you can produce as scientific evidence to back up your claim of incompatibility.


Rad - #18842

June 24th 2010

Robert, how has the science community not made a good case? The point of science is to develop a theory or formula or what not that can consistently produce the same results.  It has done this with geology, astronomy, etc. in determining the errancy in a YEC worldview. 

And Cranium, why would it be necessary to separate God and science, as if they were polar opposites? I’ve noticed that in my faith life, God has more often than not worked by processes rather than instantaneous events, taken me on a journey rather than bring me straight to the destination.  In faith, its not a “believe and thats it” ordeal.  Its a process for as long as you live.  Would it be so hard to believe that God used natural processes that He created, that we can observe through science, to form man.

cranium - #18843

June 24th 2010

From the requests for peer reviewed, scientific studies, I’m wondering if I failed to make my point clearly.

The bible says god created everything. Yes or no? Do I need to provide peer reviewed, scientific evidence for this?

Evolution is about nature, physics, biology, astronomy etc. Not god. Yes or no? Again, do I need to provide….

There are people who claim to believe in evolution and have faith. Having faith means believing in god. Yes or no?

So do they believe a little bit in evolution, or a little bit in god? Hence my comment re being faux religious.

If god is proven, evolution is out the window. If the origins of the universe are discovered, god is out the window.

The bible and scientific evolution cannot co-exist. Where’s the middle ground?

Justin Poe - #18848

June 24th 2010

Comment removed by moderator.

merv - #18857

June 24th 2010

Cranium, your assertions above were doing fine until you got to the ‘not god’ phrase in the second one.  But to answer the first:  Yes—God created everything.

Let me give an even clearer example.  The Bible says that God knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I am literally a creation of God.  Does that mean that natural processes then didn’t create me?  Did my mother & father have nothing to do with it?  We don’t go around thinking, “Well did God create me or was I conceived and born the natural way?”  We (and the Bible writers) praise God for sending rain on the earth.  But wait a minute!  I thought clouds send rain on the earth.  So is it clouds or God?  Again Bible writers were aware of both and they praise God for both.  It isn’t either/or.  It’s both/and.

What black & white thinkers have to some how realize in their minds is that a question can have many right answers.  The tea boiling on the stove may be doing so because the burner is on.  But it is equally correct to say it is boiling because it’s temp. is at the boiling pt.  And it continues to be true that it’s boiling because someone wants tea.  ALL true.  & we’re silly to think that one level of truth trumps or excludes the others.


cranium - #18861

June 24th 2010

You believe god created everything, I don’t. That’s the point, where’s the middle ground in that?

Merv, I find your response to be full of false assertions, obfuscations, self-supporting suppositions and a pre-conceived viewpoint.

It’s clouds, not god. In science it’s only one thing. Your claim of ‘both/and’ is fallacious as it still has god as its origin. ‘Bible writers…’ - says more than you realise actually.

Come, come now; its temperature is at boiling point because of the burner under it.

Yes, one level of truth. Is it god, or not?

Mike Gene - #18916

June 25th 2010

cranium - #18843,

I see.  So truth claims about the world do not need to demonstrated in the scientific literature.

cranium - #18927

June 25th 2010

Mike, unless for some strange reason you are asking for ‘peer reviewed scientific data’ that genesis states ‘god did it’, you’re way off topic.

Or are you trying the strawman approach?

Gregory - #18929

June 25th 2010

Unless you wish to provide no ‘evidence’ for your claims, cranium, i suggest you discard mere ploys and facades with Mike Gene and come up with the goods. Have you none?

Otherwise, you sound not much different than an average citizen in the Soviet Union, who accepts the ideology of scientism (as if science *should* count as the only legitimate knowledge), yet who cannot and will not (for worldview reasons/emotions) provide evidence for their outlandish claims in the name of ‘science.’

Mike is far beyond your ‘strawman’ posturing. Either come up with the goods or accept that you don’t have any ‘evidence’ in peer-reviewed academic literature to back up your scientistic claims.

cranium - #18934

June 25th 2010

Are you people being deliberately disingenuous? Or do you really just not understand what I have said?

I have made no scientific claims. Your attempts at distraction and obfuscation with some of your statements are truly astonishing.

I suggest you go back and read what I have said, again. All my comments have been in regard to the division between religion and science.

Your comments and demands are completely out of left field in regard to the topic. I do hope you aren’t being intellectually dishonest!

merv - #18936

June 25th 2010

Cranium, you accuse me of having ....false assertions ...  preconceived viewpoints, etc.

To the latter (preconceived) ...  maybe, even probably.  To the former (false assertions), on what grounds do you base this other than on preconceptions of your own?

You haven’t offered anything, (other than to frantically shout it down), as to why truth can’t apply simultaneously at different levels—including at the level of meaning and purpose, or even God’s activity.  Some here may be waiting for you to give scientific answers, which you won’t because on these questions science has .... zilch.    I’m waiting for any answer at all based on anything other than just “because I say so”. 


cranium - #19019

June 25th 2010

What sort of scientific explanation or proof are you asking for?

My claim is that there is god, or there is not god (science, evolution etc etc).

Therefore there is no true ‘middle ground’.

This is because ultimately either god exists and created everything (as per genesis), or it’s all ‘big bang’ (or whatever theory may ultimately come to light) and everything which flows from that.

I made no claims as to which viewpoint is ‘accurate’, merely that in the end, it’s one or the other.

So while scientists with faith may fiddle about on segments of science, in the ultimate outcome….

Do you get it yet?

merv - #19040

June 25th 2010

If you stopped with:  either there is God or there is not any God —-that’s easy enough.  Yes—only one of those could be true.

But it sounds like you are trying to make a non-sequiter leap and say something like:  either there is God or there was a big-bang (but not both).  And that is where we will disagree.  You seem to think these are logically exclusive, but the only way to make it logically exclusive (the way you want it to be) is to say:  either there was a big-bang, or there was not a big-bang.  Some Christians may feel disturbed by the possibility.  But my guess is most around here see no evidence for a connection between that and proof or disproof of God’s existence.  I know I don’t.  And I know you can’t produce any.  I think the Big-Bang is a beautifully supported theory, by the way, and a beautiful depiction (not anti-Christian in the slightest) of the beginning of our universe.


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