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BioLogos Book Club: “The Language of God”

Supplemental Materials for The Language of God

We’ve gathered the following articles, videos, and books to provide background on some of the topics discussed in the book. Not all will represent the perspective or beliefs of BioLogos in all matters, but it is our hope that they can be springboards into further discovery and discussion. Let us know which materials you found especially helpful at smallgroups@biologos.org.

[top]Introduction

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[top]Chapter 1: From Atheism to Belief

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  • Francis Collins shares various aspects of his personal life and background in numerous video clips found on The Test of Faith website. These high-quality videos offer an extraordinary opportunity to hear Dr. Collins’ own words about various topics close to his heart and mind.
  • A short video by BioLogos Senior Scholar, Jeff Schloss, about the question of humans being predisposed toward belief in a higher power.
  • Not all agree that behavior which appears for the better of a group rather than an individual cannot be evolution-based, but does this diminish its use as an arrow pointing to a God? A helpful article on the BioLogos site written by Loren Haarsma discusses this question: “Does Evolution Compromise Human Morality?
  • An interesting article from The New York Times (July 2013) about Francis Collins and the books he’s been reading recently entitled, “Francis S. Collins: By the Book”.
  • C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity had a significant impact on Dr. Collins. Some recent books that also give a compelling case for the God of the Bible for those seeking are N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian, Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, Richard Swinburne’s Is there a God and Was Jesus God.

[top]Chapter 2: The War of the Worldviews

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  • Dr. Edward Davis, BioLogos Fellow for the History of Science, wrote a blog series about the English chemist Robert Boyle (1627-1691) who was an outstanding example of a scientist whose faith interacted fundamentally with his science. In this post from the series, Dr. Davis focuses on Boyle’s doubts as a young believer.
  • Philip Yancey has a short video on the BioLogos site about how God responds to suffering.
  • Dr. Alvin Plantiga wrote a series for the BioLogos blog on divine action which includes discussion of miracles.
  • Dr. Ard Louis wrote a scholarly essay on miracles.

[top]Chapter 3: The Origins of the Universe

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[top]Chapter 4: Life on Earth, Of Microbes and Man

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[top]Chapter 5: Deciphering God’s Instruction Book, the Lessons of the Human Genome

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  • Dr. Dennis Venema has an on-going series on the BioLogos site called “Evolution Basics”. The purpose is to, “provide evangelical Christians with a step-by-step introduction to the science of evolutionary biology.” Two of his posts discuss DNA specifically, find those here and here.
  • On pg. 126, Collins discusses how DNA is used to show human ancestry linked to a group of about 10,000 individuals that lived 100,000 to 150,000 years ago. Read more on the BioLogos perspective on Adam and Eve here.
  • Dr. Loren Haarsma discusses various views of original sin including Adam and Eve in this article from the BioLogos site.
  • New research suggests that “junk” DNA is not so junky after all. See this 2012 article from the National Institutes of Health, and a BioLogos response.
  • It’s possible to understand the evolutionary process as a God involved process. Watch this short video entitled “An Unfolding Creation” featuring biologist Dr. Kerry Fulcher.
  • Collins discusses microevolution and macroevolution on pgs. 131-132. Find more on the evidence for macroevolution here.
  • Collins touches on the difference between a “theory” for a scientist and its use in everyday language. This has been a major focus of misunderstanding by critics of evolution. Dennis Venema brings clarity to this issue in his “Evolution Basics” series. Find the article here.
  • Find two articles, here and here, from the BioLogos site about how Christians are applying what is known of the human genome to medicine.

[top]Chapter 6: Genesis, Galileo, and Darwin

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  • On pgs. 150-152 Collins mentions the challenge some find with what Genesis says and what science may be telling us. In this 3 minutevideo, Professor of Old Testament Dr. John Walton offers some important insights into how we should approach a reading of the book of Genesis. For a longer discussion, see Dr. Walton’s 4 part video series, which explores what Genesis 1-2 meant to the first people who heard it, or his book, The Lost World of Genesis One.
  • A good overview of the many ways Christians interpret the Genesis 1 account is seen in this excerpt from the book Origins, written by Drs. Loren and Deborah Haarsma.
  • In this 4 minute video, physicist Dr. Ard Louis discusses two important aspects of time to consider when reading Genesis 1.
  • For background on how people viewed Genesis before Darwin, see this article from the BioLogos site.
  • Miller and Soden authored the book In the Beginning We Misunderstood (2012) which seeks to answer the question, “Are science and scripture innately incompatible, or have we simply misunderstood?” Here’s a podcast of them discussing their interpretation of Genesis.
  • Collins asks how Christians will respond to the theory of evolution. This engaging article from the BioLogos site recounts one person’s somewhat painful transition away from a “young earth” interpretation of Genesis 1.
  • In 2012, the Barna Group as commissioned by BioLogos conducted a survey of pastors from across the US, from churches big and small, and from all Christian denominations. Pastors were asked things like what they think about science and what views do they hold on creation and evolution. See results of the survey here. Also, in December 2013, the Pew Forum released their recent survey results on “The Public’s Views on Human Evolution.” Check out the percent of Americans who agree with the statement, “humans and other living things evolved over time”.
  • Check out more on Galileo here. It’s a link to historian of science Dr. Ted Davis’ BioLogos article in which he claims that Galileo’s, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, (written in 1615) is the “most important book ever written about science and the Bible.”
  • This book, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths (2010), contains interesting articles by over 20 contributors whose goal was to debunk falsehoods about the relationship between science and religion.

[top]Chapter 7: Atheism and Agnosticism (When Science Trumps Faith)

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  • In this chapter, Collins presents one possible response to the “contentious interaction between the theory of evolution and faith in God” - atheism or agnosticism. Read these personal stories from the BioLogos site of those who have wrestled with evolution and Christian faith. What arguments made them change their views on science? How did they hold fast to their relationship with God?
  • Here’s a link to Alister McGrath’s book Dawkins’ God for those who might want to follow up on this.
  • A short video by NYU biologist, Dr. David Fitch, who contends that when a vocal atheist is trying to use science to disprove the existence of God, he is doing a disservice not only to religion but also to science.
  • Here’s an article refuting Hawking’s claim in The Grand Design (2010) that science has rendered God obsolete. The work of Philip Clayton and Alister McGrath is referenced.
  • In this short video, Dr. Ian Hutchinson claims that the arguments made by New Atheists are not new at all, but rather extensions of intellectual threads which have existed since the late 19th century.
  • In this video, Alister McGrath calls young Christians to scientific endeavors. He states, “We need you... because if you don't get into [science], the future is going to be dominated by those who use science as a weapon against faith.”

[top]Chapter 8: Creationism (When Faith Trumps Science)

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  • In this video, Dr. Ard Louis proposes that when young-earth creationists argue against evolution, they are agreeing with the underlying premise that who we are and what we do is based on where we came from.
  • On pg. 178, Collins discusses how a young-earth creationist perspective of science can affect young people. There is controversy about its validity, but this Barna study (2011) claims that antagonism toward science is one reason young people are leaving the church.
  • A young-earth creationist presents his perspective graciously in this video from the BioLogos site.
  • Dr. John Pohl is a medical doctor who left the faith because of staunch young-earth creationism and returned later when he realized the awesome creation of a Loving God. Read his four part blog series, “A Faith Journey in a Medical Science Center.”
  • This article by biblical studies professor Nathan Smith seeks to answer the question, “What do we do when our communities of origin, which gave us so much life and spiritual direction, cease to inspire our trust on basic issues of science and faith?”
  • “God created the universe in motion with the appearance of age. It looks old but it isn’t.” What is your reaction to a statement like this? Read how Rev. Scott Hoezee responds in this article.
  • Navy Commander Mike Beidler shares his journey from accepting young-earth creationism to embracing evolutionary creation in this series of posts on the BioLogos site.
  • For more resources on the interpretation of Genesis, see the Chapter 6 supplemental materials.

[top]Chapter 9: Intelligent Design (When Science Needs the Divine)

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  • Geneticist and BioLogos Fellow, Dennis Venema, has contributed numerous articles on Intelligent Design:
    • In this five part series, Dennis discusses his own journey away from Intelligent Design toward an evolutionary creation worldview.
    • In this six part series, we read of the evolutionary origins of irreducible complexity.
    • In this five part series, Michael Behe’s claim to have found a limit to Darwinian evolution is reexamined.
  • In this 2011 journal article [PDF] from the American Scientific Affiliation, Dr. Randy Isaac concludes that information theory does not necessitate an Intelligent Designer. Find more related articles here [PDF] at the entire Dec. 2011 journal edition which had as its theme, “Information, Intelligence and Origins.”
  • Watch this highly informative video lecture by Dr. Ken Miller of Brown University. Ken is a cell biologist and expert on the teaching of evolution in the U.S. and his biology textbook is the most widely used text in U.S. high schools. Ken also served as a key witness in the Dover trial about the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools. The video is fairly lengthy but the site includes a navigable outline which allows quick access to specific topics.
  • For more on the topic of divine action see this scholarly essay [PDF] by Dr. Robert Bishop, professor of philosophy and history of science at Wheaton College (IL) entitled, “Recovering the Doctrine of Creation: A Theological View of Science”.

[top]Chapter 10: BioLogos (Science and Faith in Harmony)

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  • How and why did Francis launch the BioLogos Foundation? Find out here, in the “History” section of BioLogos.
  • For more on why Christians should consider evolutionary creation, see this discussion on the BioLogos site.
  • Collins mentions the ASA (American Scientific Affiliation) which was founded in 1941 as an international network of Christians in the sciences. Explore their website here.
  • On pg. 204 Collins brings up the objection of Christians that evolution involves "chance" and "randomness". In this blog series, Dr. Kathryn Applegate addresses the concern that randomness implies the absence of God's activity and involvement in the natural world.
  • In this three part blog series, mathematician Dr. Randall Pruim explains what scientists and mathematicians mean when they speak of something being “random” as well as addressing God’s sovereign role in creation.
  • On Adam and Eve, The BioLogos Foundation does not take a particular view. Many Christian scholars are currently working through this question. One new book on the subject is Four Views on the Historical Adam (2013). Another perspective can be found on the BioLogos site in a five part blog series by Dr. Denis Alexander entitled, “Models for Relating Adam and Eve with Contemporary Anthropology.” In this essay, Loren Haarsma urges caution in jumping to any conclusions. In this short video, “What are We to Make of Adam and Eve?” Dr. Alister McGrath also discusses the issue.
  • How could humans have evolved and still be made in the image of God? See this discussion from the BioLogos site.
  • In this short video, N.T. Wright discusses what it means to be an image-bearer of God.
  • Some Christians are bothered by the apparent “wastefulness” of the evolutionary process. Rev. Daniel Harrell offers a pastor’s perspective in this short video and in a more developed way in this article, “God’s Extravagant Love in Creation.”
  • C.S. Lewis also accepted evolution. For details, see this scholarly essay by Michael Peterson, “C.S. Lewis on Evolution and Intelligent Design.”

[top]Chapter 11: Truth Seekers

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  • See this 2013 blog series by Andy Crouch, “What I Wish My Pastor Knew about the Life of a Scientist”. Andy examines the life of a scientist based on his experience of walking alongside his wife Catherine, an experimental physicist.
  • BioLogos president, Dr. Deborah Haarsma, shares her thoughts about the debate between young-earth creationist Ken Ham and science educator Bill Nye.
  • Several articles about how believers have wrestled with evolution are found in the blog series, “Evolving”, from the BioLogos site.
  • See this Veritas Forum lecture by Francis Collins where he shares about his faith and his book.
  • Find a few articles here on Francis Collins from the website, “Big Think”.
  • An essay by NASA astronomer [PDF], Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, “Science as an Instrument of Worship: Can Recent Scientific Discovery Inform and Inspire our Worship and Service?” and an interview with her from The High Calling website.
  • Read real stories about how The BioLogos Foundation has impacted lives.

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