The Strange Tension Between Theology and Science

| By Emily Ruppel

Yesterday on the BioLogos Forum we heard from theologian Thomas Jay Oord aboutviews on evolution in the Nazarene Church, as part of an ECF project called Nazarenes Exploring Evolution. In yesterday’s post, Tom talks about some of the erroneous assumptions people may hold regarding what this particular group of Christians believes; although many Nazarenes do not believe the Bible and science to be compatible, many do! And those who have found a way to integrate these two domains are largely theologians and biblical scholars who are leaders in the church.

Why might Christian leaders be more likely than laity to grapple successfully with scientific findings on evolution and the age of the earth? What’s at stake in this complex debate?

Today, we feature an essay from the Washington Post’s Michael Gerson on the importance of finding the harmony that exists between modern science and Christian faith. Gerson writes about the perceived tension between science and faith and posits a guess about why it exists: “Many conservative Christians equate modern science with materialism — a view conditioned by early 20th-century debates over evolution and human origins. Science is often viewed as an alternative theology, with a competing creation story.”

Gerson goes on to lucidly describe what both science and religion lose when this false dichotomy persists. It’s a great extension of the theme of Tom’s essay yesterday, when he writes, “These polls reveal what many scholars and pastors in the denomination have been saying for some time: the Bible should not be interpreted as a straightforward science or history book.”


About the Author

Emily Ruppel

Emily Ruppel Emily Ruppel is a doctoral student in rhetoric of science at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to her PhD work, she studied poetry at Bellarmine University in Louisville and science writing at MIT. She has also served as blog editor for The BioLogos Foundation and as Associate Director of Communications for the American Scientific Affiliation.


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