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Series: “And God Saw That It Was Good”: Death and Pain in the Created Order
The tension generated by our understanding of God’s character, as revealed in the Bible, and by the reality of the natural world around us has been the focus of much debate within the Christian church since the first century. This series examines critically several of the proposed solutions to this problem, viewing them from the perspective of a geologist, paleontologist, and orthodox evangelical Christian.
Series: Southern Baptist Voices: Evolution and Death
This exchange brings together related essays on death in light of evolution and Scripture from Southern Baptist theologian Dr. John Laing. Laing argues that evolutionary theory requires death to play a central role in the creation of new life, but sees Scripture depicting death only "as an invader, disturber of peace, and a force of evil." A BioLogos response is given by Dr. Jeff Schloss.
The Galileo Affair: Emblematic or Exceptional?
On the morning of June 22, 1633 in the hall of the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minvera in Rome, Galileo Galilei knelt before the Lord-Cardinal Inquisitors-General and publicly abjured his false opinion that the sun was the motionless center of the universe.
Adventist Origins of Young Earth Creationism
Many evangelicals believe that Young Earth Creationism is the only authentic, biblical way for Christians to understand origins, and that until the advent of Darwin's theory of evolution, it was the only view held by Christians. However, in this excerpt from Saving Darwin, Karl Giberson explains that Young Earth Creationism's origins are surprisingly recent.
A Pastor's Perspective on Death and Evolution
If death did not exist before Adam and Eve, how could God have used evolution to create man? And what about predators and natural catastrophes such as the mass extinction of the dinosaurs?
Series: How Could God Create Through Evolution? A Look at Theodicy
This series, written by Bethany Sollereder, seeks to address this question: “How could God create through a process that involves so much pain and death?” She first presents the two drastically opposite worldviews held by theologians and scientists. She also reflects theologically on how a world created through evolutionary means can be good, and concludes with some thoughts concerning the Fall, physical decay and spiritual death.
Death has occurred since the first breath of biological life (and some would say since the first “breath” of cosmological life), long before Adam inhaled. Ironically, therefore, death must be a part of God’s good creation. Moreover, human death due to sin must be something different than the physical death we all die.
Christian Faith and World Class Science
Watching the discussion surrounding Francis Collins's National Institutes of Health (NIH) appointment has been enlightening in so many ways. Especially interesting are the arguments by critics such as Sam Harris that someone with faith in God cannot be a good scientist.
"Why would the omnipotent Creator of the universe use such a wasteful (and cruel) process of survival of the fittest to bring about the higher forms of life? This view of 'theistic evolution' goes against God's very nature -- and logic itself."
Can science and scripture be reconciled?
In Christian belief, God reveals himself in both the written book of the Bible and the created “book” of the natural world. Thus, the truths we find in scripture should not conflict with the truths we find in nature. Yet at times the two revelations seem to be saying contradictory things about how God made the world. Since God does not lie, the conflict must occur at the level of human interpretation: either a misunderstanding of what God is revealing in nature, or a misunderstanding of what God is revealing in scripture. Conflicts motivate us to reevaluate both interpretations. Christians may disagree on whether the scientific or the Biblical interpretation needs to change, but we can agree that God speaks to us in both revelations. (Updated on March 10, 2012)
Are science and Christianity at war?
Some people see science and religion as enemies, at war for leadership in our modern culture. Others see science and religion as completely separate and unrelated facets of life. However, science is not the only source of facts, and religion reaches beyond the realm of values and morals. In fact, religion can have a positive impact on science, such as in the development of modern medical ethics. Many early scientific leaders were devout Christians, as are some scientific leaders today. Science can also enhance the spiritual life of believers. Christians rejoice in scientific discoveries that reveal the glory of God the creator. (Updated June 27, 2012)
How have Christians responded to Darwin’s "Origin of Species"?
Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, many Christians had already accepted an old Earth. One of the first supporters of evolutionary science in America—Harvard biologist Asa Gray—was a devout Christian. Conservative theologian B. B. Warfield also accepted the science of evolution, and both he and Asa Gray rejected the idea that evolution leads to atheism. Even the authors of The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915, accepted an old earth. It wasn’t until a century after Darwin that a large number of evangelicals and fundamentalists began to accept the combination of flood geology and 6-day creation promoted by Seventh-day Adventists. (Updated on July 10, 2012)
Series: The Church Fathers and Two Books Theology
In this series, Mark Mann explores what many of the great Christian theologians and saints of the Church have said about how God speaks in and through God’s other great book: Nature, or Creation. Listening to figures from the the 2nd to the 18th centuries,Mann proposes three main points: Christians should think of Scripture and Creation as two “books” that should be read together for understanding the fullness of God’s self-revelation; Science is a God-given tool for discerning the handiwork of God in Creation, and is fully compatible with God’s Word revealed in Scripture, and therefore, Christians have nothing to fear from science.
"Come and See": A Christological Invitation for Science
This chapter from Mark Noll's book Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind seeks to understand science through a Christ-centered lens. Overall, if one accepts that nature is created and sustained by Jesus Christ, the author explains, then one must conclude that looking at nature is, in fact, the best way to learn about nature.
An Obituary for the "Warfare" View of Science and Religion
As an historian of science, I belong to a small, somewhat esoteric club. But our collective anonymity may now be changing with the publication of a splendid new book from Harvard University Press, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion.
How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin?
Given the stark difference between evolution and six-day creation, many people assume that Darwin’s theory shook the foundations of the Christian faith. In truth, the literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1-2 was not the only perspective held by Christians prior to modern science. St. Augustine (354-430), John Calvin (1509-1564), John Wesley (1703-171), and others supported the idea of Accommodation. In the Accommodation view, Genesis 1-2 was written in a simple allegorical fashion to make it easy for people of that time to understand. In fact, Augustine suggested that the 6 days of Genesis 1 describe a single day of creation. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) argued that God did not create things in their final state, but created them to have potential to develop as he intended. The views of these and other Christian leaders are consistent with God creating life by means of evolution.
Science and the Bible: Assessing the Evangelical Encounter with Evolution
Having now completed our study of the five main views about “Science and the Bible” held by conservative Protestants, I conclude with a final column, assessing the whole situation as I see it today.
Science and Faith: From Collision to Collaboration
in Genesis two, God calls humankind to know and study the surrounding world. The scriptures say that Adam took on the God-given task of naming the animals, which is, in fact, science: the exploration of the natural world.
"Centered": The Language of Science and Faith
In a recent interview with the Sirius XM radio show Centered, Karl Giberson sat down with host Don Belanus to discuss the book The Language of Science and Faith.
Weekend Sermon: A Tale of Two Cities
This sermon is a clear reminder that we each have a choice. We can work to build cities that celebrate God’s love for us (the lineage of Seth), or we can live in the destructive lineage of Cain. May the spirit of prayer, humility, and love characterize the world’s cities on this the tenth anniversary of America’s most stark example of “The Tale of Two Cities.”