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“But Does It Move?” John Lennox on Science and the Bible

Our Featured Blog for July is a special three-part posting of chapter 2 from the most recent book by Oxford mathematician and apologist Dr. John Lennox: Seven Days That Divide the World. In tandem with our Southern Baptist Voices series, we asked Dr. Lennox and Zondervan Publishing for permission to share this chapter as an example of the fact that even Christians who disagree about human origins share something more fundamental (our faith in Christ), and they often agree on many other essential issues as well. As it says at the top of The BioLogos Forum homepage, “We believe that charitable engagement of different perspectives within the Church helps sharpen our thinking and deepen our commitment to the truth that is hidden in Christ.”

In his series Lennox argues that while the Bible is not a “science textbook,” it does offer something even more important:

[P]recisely because it is God’s revealed Word, [the Bible] has truth to tell us about the same kind of objective reality that science discusses, in particular about the nature and origin of the cosmos and of human beings. We must therefore try to understand that truth.

Lennox then goes on to help readers understand the “phenomenological language” of much of Scripture—the way it uses figures of speech to describe the world in ways that we should recognize. By emphasizing the way a natural reading does not mean a literalistic one, Lennox points out that reading the Bible literalistically actually risks making the Bible something less than a book, rather than something more than a book, “by not permitting it the range and use of language, order, and figures of speech that are (or ought to be) familiar to us from our ordinary experience of conversation and reading.”

Not only do BioLogos and Dr. Lennox agree about the trustworthiness of scientific evidence for an old earth, and about the compatibility of an old earth with a faithful reading of Genesis, but also Lennox’s writing is an example of the way we can argue about these important issues in a manner that is respectful of those who disagree—which is something we try to model through The Forum as a whole, and we believe it should be a distinctive characteristic of Christian participation in the public square. Working with Zondervan to bring Dr. Lennox’s work to the conversation at BioLogos was not only a pleasure (they even initiated a book giveaway through the BioLogos Facebook page to help get the word out), but also a promising direction for the science-and-faith dialogue as a whole. So check out all three parts of Lennox’s series on the blog. And if you missed your free copy of Seven Days, be sure to “like” The BioLogos Foundation on Facebook so you can be ready the next time!