When I was approached to lead conversations with graduate students about science and faith topics as part of the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) STEAM grant project, I accepted with a good deal of hesitation. I had grown up with a narrative of science and Christianity being in conflict, had no resources for resolving that narrative as an undergraduate chemistry major, and became totally exhausted of the topic by the time I was starting my graduate school journey. Things were no different by the time I graduated and joined the staff of InterVarsityâ€™s Graduate & Faculty Ministries at Duke University. [Read more…] about Healing through the ESN Steam Grant Project
Christianity and science
ESN is currently creating a Faith/Science curriculum for young adult small groups.Â Weâ€™ve partnered with InterVarsity graduate student discussion groups to identify faith/science questions that are important to emerging scholars, and weâ€™re commissioning thoughtful Christians in science or theology/philosophy to explore those questions in this series at the ESN blog.Â We will publish these posts as a booklet curriculum for campus groups. Today, we’re delighted to welcome Jim Stump on the topic of epistemology.Â This project was made possible through the support of an award from the Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries project at Fuller Theological Seminary. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fuller or the STEAM project. [Read more…] about How should Christians in the sciences choose an epistemology? (STEAM Grant Series)
ESN is currently creating a Faith/Science curriculum for young adult small groups.Â Weâ€™ve partnered with InterVarsity graduate student discussion groups to identify faith/science questions that are important to emerging scholars, and weâ€™re commissioning thoughtful Christians in science or theology/philosophy to explore those questions in this series at the ESN blog.Â We will publish these posts as a booklet curriculum for campus groups.
Debates over evolution and origins are a challenging area for many Christians as they engage with modern science. To discern how to address these issues in this curriculum, we talked with graduate students, InterVarsity grad staffers, and professors. Based on their feedback, we commissioned two pieces fromÂ InterVarsity Press and ESN author Gerald Rau that articulate the major views held by Christians on evolution generally and human evolution in particular. These particular pieces are not designed to argue for a specific position, but to help readers explore the range of positions fellow believers hold on an issue and to increase the ability of Christians to build thoughtful conversations about the theology and science of origins. These posts include discussion questions to help believers better understand each other’s positions on both theology and science.Â Check out last week’s post on Christian views of origins here, or read on for today’s post on different Christian views of Adam. For more on origins, take a look at Gerald Rau’s other work as author of Mapping the Origins Debate (InterVarsity Press 2013). Gerry has also written for Scholar’s Compass as anÂ ESN contributor.
This project was made possible through the support of an award from the Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries project at Fuller Theological Seminary. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fuller or the STEAM project.
Adam is important to Christians, not only as the first human in the Bible, but more so because Christ is called the second Adam, so our understanding of creation is inextricably linked with our Christology. As with models of origins in general there are different evangelical perspectives on Adam,Â and our interpretation of the scientific evidence on human origins will either reflect or affect our theology. [Read more…] about Adam, Where are You? (STEAM Grant Series)
Are Christianity and science at war? This was a major concern for me when I came to faith in Christ 22 years ago in the middle of my career as a biology professor at Iowa State University. Although it did not prevent me from coming to faith in Christ, it continued to trouble me and caused doubts about my faith in the early years after my conversion to Christianity. I wondered whether modern science is really compatible with belief in God and whether it is possible to reconcile the Bibleâ€™s account of creation with the scientific account of natural history.
These questions also trouble young adults today. A recent five-year study, headed by Barna Group president David Kinnaman, identified antagonism between churches and science as one of six reasons why three out of five young adults disconnect from church after age 15. The study found that a quarter of young adults believe that Christianity is anti-science and the same proportion say that they have been turned off by the evolution-versus-creation debate.
These questions led me to develop the Christianity and science honors course that I have been teaching at Iowa State University for the past 14 years. In this last post in the Christianity and science ESN Blog series, I want to summarize and reflect about some of the key ideas that we have considered. [Read more…] about Summary and Reflection on the Christianity and Science Series
This is the second of a two-part series addressing the question of whether nature can be used as a Christian apologetic. Natural theology is a discipline that systematically explores the proposed link between God and nature. The traditional approach to natural theology seeks to prove God’s existence from what is observed in nature without reference to the Bible or other religious texts. The problem with this approach is that nature is ambiguous with respect to the question of God’s existence. In my last blog post, I discussed a second approach, proposed by Alister McGrath. In this approach nature is viewed as an “open secret” which is publicly accessible but its true meaning can only be known from the perspective of Christian faith. This Christian natural theology does not attempt to prove the existence of God from nature but rather sees what is observed in nature as reinforcing an existing belief in God.
In this post, I want to revisit the intelligent design argument (see blog post 10) from the perspective of McGrathâ€™s idea of a Christian natural theology. There are two types of intelligent design: biological and cosmological. Biological intelligent design asserts that some biological structures are too complex to have been produced by natural selection. Cosmological intelligent design asserts that science is not able to answer certain basic questions about the origin of the universe and its basic properties. In this post we are going to focus on cosmological intelligent design and in particular a phenomenon known as cosmic fine-tuning which is perhaps the strongest argument for intelligent design. [Read more…] about Nature as a Christian Apologetic: Intelligent Design Revisited