Over the last several years we have discussed many books relevant to the issues of science and faith or faith with intellectual integrity. One of the overriding themes of this discussion is a conviction that God and his creation will make sense as we contemplate and consider the questions raised by modern science. It is difficult to find much of the material on the blog, however. This page provides links to the various books and topics and in an organized fashion. It should be noted that some of the material could be listed under multiple headings. For the most part I have avoided doing that and have linked each book or post only under the most appropriate heading. Most of these posts were written by RJS, some by Scot, a few by others.
Click on the links for more information and for links to specific posts in each topic.
- Books on Science and Faith
- Videos and Movies on Science and Faith
- Natural Theology
- Evolution, Darwinism, and Intelligent Design
- Books on Scripture
- Bible Commentaries
- Other Posts on the Nature of Scripture
- Intellectual Integrity
- Young Earth, Old Earth
- American Culture and Evangelicalism
- Christian Faith
- The Question of Adam
- Science, Faith, and Being Human
- Skeptics of Religion
- On Miracles and Naturalism
- Approaches to Conversation on Science and Faith
- Environmental Issues
The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions by Karl Giberson and Francis Collins.
This book addresses in narrative form the questions that Francis Collins received by letter and emails following the publication of his 2006 book The Language of God.
Posts: The Language of Science and Faith, How Do We Relate Science and Religion?, Are the Laws of Nature Free?, Evolution, Entropy, and Human Beings 1, Evolution, Entropy, and Human Beings 2, Providential Evolution.
Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach by Vern Poythress
This book looks at approaches available to reconcile science and faith. The author is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary and takes a conservative and reformed approach to scripture. He describes how he finds it possible to reconcile science, including evolutionary biology, with faith and scripture.
The Language of God by Francis Collins
This book, written by an eminent scientist and Christian, gives Dr. Collins’s story of faith, looks at the evidence for evolutionary creation and explains his approach to the questions of science and faith.
Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith (Living Theology) by Daniel Harrell
This book is an engaging and conversational look at the issues that evolution raises for faith. An excellent introductory book.
Theology After Darwin edited by R.J. Berry and Michael Northcott
This book contains 11 scholarly essay on theology in the context of evolution.
Posts: Theology After Darwin 1, What About Intelligent Design?, Theology After Darwin 3, Evolution and Environmentalism, Being Human After Darwin 1, Being Human After Darwin 2, The Age to Come — New Creation After Darwin.
The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity edited by J. B. Stump and Alan Padgett.
This book consists of scholarly essays covering a variety of topics relating to the discussion of science and the Christian faith. The contributors range from believers to skeptics and approach the topics from a variety of different angles. The book is designed and priced for libraries, not the casual reader, but many of the essays introduce topics worth some consideration.
This book presents an interesting point of view for looking at levels of meaning in creation. John Haught is a Senior Fellow in Science and Religion at Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University and Professor of Theology Emeritus. His approach is rather too liberal for most evangelicals, but contains some interesting insights.
Darrel Falk is a professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego CA. This book is a description, arising from his own experience and his experience with college students at a Christian college, of the reconciliation of science, especially evolutionary biology, with Christian faith.
Post: At Peace With Science?
The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth by Davis A. Young and Ralph F. Stearley
Davis Young is Professor Emeritus of Geology and Ralph Stearley is Professor of Geology and Chairman of the Department of Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They have put together a nice and readable presentation of the geological evidence for the age of the earth. This book is an excellent resource for any Pastor and any Christian struggling with the issue.
Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design by Deborah B. and Loren D. Haarsma
The Haarsma’s, both professors in the Physics Department at Calvin College, have written a book designed for use in small groups or Sunday classes exploring the science and theology of origins – creation, evolution, and intelligent design. This book gives an even-handed presentation of the range of views, thoughtful observation, and excellent discussion questions. The book also points the reader to online resources and contains a useful list of additional resources at the end of each chapter. The version I originally reviewed was aimed at the reformed church with some emphasis on the reformed confessions. The new version linked here is aimed at a broader Christian audience.
Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist by Robert Asher
Robert Asher is not an atheist or agnostic; he does not rule out the existence of the supernatural or spiritual. He is, as he describes himself, a religious paleontologist. He is not evangelical, and like many he explicitly disavows the designation. He sees the gospels as basically trustworthy with much of it (especially Paul’s letters and Mark’s gospel) written “well within the range of an oral tradition based on eyewitness accounts.” (p. 24 Evolution and Belief).
In this book Rau lays out many of the issues involved in the controversy over origins in the church. He discusses the presuppositions and assumptions behind the various positions that Christians take on these issues. This book does not try to make a case for any given model of origins.
Posts: Origins and Models, Mapping the Debate, What is Science?, Models, Models, Models, The Origin of the Universe – Three Views, The Origin of Life, Humans … Qualitatively or Only Quantitatively Different?, One Endless Debate …
Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould
A topic that comes up often in the discussion of science and religion is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria or NOMA. Many papers, articles, and books refer to this principle – sometimes agreeing, more often disagreeing significantly from both sides. In this book Gould introduces and explains the concept as he intended it.
5 Questions Science & Religion edited by Gregg D. Caruso
This book uses interviews with a range of scholars from various perspectives to present answers to five question questions concerning science and religion. Are science and religion compatible? Does Gould’s proposal of NOMA describe the relationship between science and religion? What are the most important questions?
Laying Down Arms to Heal the Creation-Evolution Divide by Gary N. Fugle
Gary Fugle was a Biology Professor (now retired) at Butte College and is a Christian who, as he says in his introduction, has immersed himself in studying the Bible. His book is a call for Christians to lay down arms and think about the creation-evolution questions carefully and reasonably. He classifies his position as evolutionary creation. As a biologist (Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara) he finds the evidence for biological evolution overwhelming. As a Christian he has found himself (as have so many of us) on the front lines of a cultural battle. His book works through what he sees as some of the most significant issues
The Fabric of Eternity. A Scientist’s View of the Works of Providence, by István Kolossváry
This book, reflects the way that Kolossváry has dealt with the (apparent) chasm between science and theology. His book “seeks to eradicate the wall that divides the two disciplines and bring a fresh perspective to believers in both.” In particular, Kolossváry is focused on the theological and philosophical questions that address the way that God can and does act in the world. Does science and scientific explanation eliminate the possibility that God exists? Some people claim that modern scientific understanding of the nature of the universe does just that. Kolossváry doesn’t find this satisfactory.
Post: The Fabric of Eternity
This web site from the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion was put together to provide introductory resources for those who are interested in or troubled by the interaction between science and faith. There is a DVD: Test of Faith, Instructor’s Bundle: Includes Book, Leader’s Guide, Study Guide, and DVD, a book: Test of Faith: Spiritual Journeys with Scientists, resources for group discussions with a leaders guide and study guides Test of Faith: Science and Christianity Unpacked, a version for youth 11-14 and 14-18 (here) and a version for kids planned, a YouTube Channel and more.
A documentary film released June 2012. This film, by Ryan Pettey at Satellite Pictures, is designed to be a positive contribution to the discussion of science and faith, especially science and evangelical Christian faith.
A set of beautifully prepared short videos (6-7 minutes) prepared by Diane Sweeney (a high school biology teacher) and Joshua Hayashi (a school chaplain) to encourage high school students (and others) to think deeply about God’s role as Creator. Their collective experience as chaplain and teacher shapes the approach they take to reach students, either Christian or non-Christian who have questions and concerns about the relationship between science and faith. The videos can be downloaded free of charge from Vimeo. Study guides are being prepared for each episode.
God’s Universe by Owen Gingerich
An excellent small book contesting the idea that science and our understanding of the Universe eliminates purpose or design. Owen Gingerich is Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science Emeritus at Harvard University.
A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology by Alister McGrath
This book is an enlarged version of his 2009 Gifford Lectures in which McGrath examines the evidence for and interpretation of fine-tuning in the universe.
The Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne was a very successful scientist, Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, before he resigned to study for the priesthood. He has since been a parish priest, Dean of the Chapel at Trinity Hall Cambridge and President of Queen’s College, Cambridge. After retirement he continues to write, think, and lecture about the interface between science and faith. No posts specifically on his books – but they are referred to in a number of posts.
Posts: Polkinghorne on Natural Theology and Moral Law, An Afternoon With John Polkinghorne, An Interview with John Polkinghorne, Polkinghorne on A Destiny Beyond Death, Your Favorite Joke, The Nature of Miracles.
Quantum Leap: How John Polkinghorne Found God in Science and Religion by Dean Nelson and Karl Giberson.
A biographical interaction with the life of John Polkinghorne, his move from a Professorship to the Anglican priesthood and then to his current place as one who thinks and writes about the intersection between science and the Christian faith.
Posts: Quantum Leap
Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe by Simon Conway Morris.
This book is an exploration of the evidence for evolutionary convergence – the idea that there are islands of stability and that evolution will identify these islands. Conway Morris is Professor of Evolutionary Paleobiology at Cambridge University. He is also a Christian and puts some effort into integrating his science with a Christian world view.
Theology in the Context of Science by John C. Polkinghorne.
The question asked in Theology in the Context of Science is straightforward: Can science and the study of science and religion provide a context for theology? We’ve entered an age where greater awareness of the world, understanding of history, and sensitivity to power structures and cultural influences has led to contextual theologies. Dr. Polkinghorne suggests that science is another context for theology that can enhance and inform our Christian faith.
The God of Hope and the End of the World by John Polkinghorne
This book discusses eschatology and the nature of the New Creation from the perspective of a scientist and a theologian. The book contains three sections – I. Scientific and Cultural Prologue, II. Biblical Resources, and III. Theological Approaches. It repeats some of the material Polkinghorne presents in his other books, but with a new focus.
Posts: The End of the World, Human Experience and Our Hope for the Future, Afterlife and Hope in the Old Testament, The Riddle of Jesus, Hope is Our Foundation, The Soul and New Creation, The Significance of the End: Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.
The Wonder of the Universe: Hints of God in Our Fine-Tuned World by Karl Giberson
This book is a description of the wonder of our universe and of the process of discovery that led to our modern understanding of the universe. It is an excellent book for a general audience – college educated perhaps (although high school students may like it as well), but with little understanding of science required. This book has none of the problem with “tone” found in some of Dr. Giberson’s other books. It is a book that can be recommended to any Christian interested in science and the Christian faith.
God and the Cosmos: Divine Activity in Space, Time and History by Harry Lee Poe and Jimmy H. Davis
Science and scientists are finding a natural explanation for all manner of phenomena formerly attributed to the work of God. This appears to squeeze God into an increasingly small corner of the universe – and many argue it removes God from the picture all together. As Laplace famously replied to Napoleon … we have “no need of that hypothesis.” Poe and Davis are addressing these latter kinds of questions in their book. Can a transcendent and personal God really act in the universe? and Can science help us answer this question? The answers are not what one might expect.
Posts: God and the Cosmos … Intelligent Design?, The Death of Poetry?, Beyond the God of the Gaps, Uncertainty, Openness, and the Action of God, Evolution and the Creativity of God, Is it all Imagination?.
This book explores the concepts of creation, providence and evil and looks like it should lead to some interesting conversation and insight. Ron Highfield is a professor of religion at Pepperdine University (a place I’d love to visit some day), where he teaches courses like Systematic Theology I and Systematic Theology II, among others. Highfield’s approach is that of a theologian, not that of a biblical scholar. His book is described as “both accessible and scholarly” and “an ideal text for classroom use.” This may scare a few off (who really wants to read a textbook?) but shouldn’t. The concepts he addresses are important.
Creation by David Fergusson.
David Fergusson is professor of divinity and principal of New College at the University of Edinburgh. This short book is part of a series Guides to Theology published by Eerdman’s. This series is intended to provide an introduction to fields in theology for students as well as pastors, church leaders, and theologians.
Posts: Testing Book Smarts,
A continuation of the argument for Intelligent Design that Meyer began in Signature in the Cell.
Intelligent Design Uncensored by Willim Dembski and Jonathan Witt
A discussion of the concepts in intelligent design emphasizing the need to combat philosophical materialism. The scientific discussion is unsatisfactory and the book emphasizes the culture war aspects of the discussion.
Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer
In this book Stephen Meyer, one of the leading proponents for Intelligent Design, puts forth his case. This book essentially argues that life is very complex, the origin of life is a puzzle, and the information content in DNA cannot be explained by natural means. We interacted with and critiqued some of the ideas in the book in a long series of posts.
Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution by Karl Giberson
This book covers the history of the interaction of ideas that led us to the present state of conflict between science and Christian faith. Gilberson’s book is not a science book, it is a history book, an attempt to provide context and a sense of perspective.
Back to Darwin: A Richer Account of Evolution edited by John Cobb
John B. Cobb Jr. Professor Emeritus of the Claremont School of Theology organized a conference on evolution and religion. This conference eventually gave rise to this book of essays exploring various scientific and philosophical questions. The contributors vary dramatically in outlook and position. Cobb supplemented and organized the book with an aim to highlight ideas of emergence and process theology. This book is not for the average pastor or church member – but may prove useful for one working in a graduate school environment. It provides valuable background information.
Post: Back to Darwin?
Darwin and the Bible: The Cultural Confrontation edited by Richard H. Robbins and Mark Nathan Cohen.
This book contains a series of chapters by authors ranging from Steven Jay Gould to Phillip E. Johnson and aims to structure discussion around the historical, theological, social, and political aspects of the confrontation between science and religion. It is designed for a college classroom setting containing a range of views. It is not a Christian apologetic or perspective although it includes Christian perspectives.
The Music of Life: Biology Beyond Genes by Denis Noble
The reductionist approach to biology described on a popular level by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene considers the purpose of any organism simply to provide a casing ensuring the survival of the genes. Information flows from the gene which is the ultimate conductor controlling the whole. Biology however, is far more complex than the reductionist emphasis on the selfish gene allows. Noble’s book explores systems biology on a lay level and helps to clarify the issues. Noble is not a Christian, but his discussion is a welcome addition.
Posts: The Music of Life,
Often times we forget the importance of place and time on the way ideas are received and processed. David Livingstone, Professor of Geography and Intellectual History at Queen’s University, Belfast makes it his business to study the relationship between the way ideas are received and developed as a function of place. This is a readable academic book – a scholarly study of the importance of location and local context on the way evolution was received, embraced, or rejected.
It Starts With Genesis a post that summarizes many of the resources listed here.
Inspiration and Incarnation by Peter Enns
A short and very readable book(no footnotes!) that presents a useful approach to understanding the Scripture that we have as the Word of God. Dr. Enns suggests the use of an incarnational model or parallel. As Christ is fully human and fully divine – so also scripture is fully human and fully divine. Enns invites his reader to consider an important question: How does scripture’s full humanity and full divinity affect what we should expect from Scripture?
This book describes some of the problems identified in scripture and suggests an approach to interpretation and understanding that relies heavily on the idea of accommodation, God’s accommodation to limited human perspective. The book is written with an edge that makes it controversial, but contains many interesting ideas and useful insights. It contains more detail than the book by Peter Enns (longer and including footnotes).
The Last Word: Scripture and the Authority of God–Getting Beyond the Bible Wars by N. T. Wright and his revised and expanded book Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today.
Wright’s book deals specifically with purpose of Scripture and the nature of Scripture as authority by asking the following questions (among others): In what sense is the Bible authoritative? How can the Bible be appropriately understood and interpreted?
Post: The Bible and Authority
In this book OT scholar and Wheaton professor John Walton offers new insight into the creation narrative in Genesis 1:1-2:3
Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution by Denis O. Lamoureux
Dr. Lamoureux has a Ph.D. in Biology (Oral Biology–Dental Development and Evolution) and a Ph.D. in Theology. He has put a great deal of effort into thinking through the debates over science and origins in the church. This is a book that describes a way to move beyond the creation and evolutions debates. The book takes modern science seriously but concentrates on the approach to interpretation of scripture.
Science, Creation and the Bible: Reconciling Rival Theories of Origins by Richard F. Carlson and Tremper Longman III.
This book provides another angle on the question of creation and the intent of the creation narratives in Genesis combining expertise in science and Biblical Studies. Richard Carlson is a research physicist at the University of Redlands in Redlands California. Tremper Longman III is an old testament scholar, the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. The book is short and readable. The overview of creation passages in scripture, including Psalms, Isaiah, Job, and the New Testament is particularly useful.
Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible by John C. Polkinghorne
The Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne opens Testing Scripture with a bit of a biographical note: Scripture has been very important to me in my Christian life. For more than sixty years I have read the Bible every day. In this short book Dr. Polkinghorne describes his approach to scripture through eyes of faith, with a mind turned toward God, and with a practical realism for the nature of the text and how it is to be read and understood.
Posts: One, Two, Creation and Fall, Is There Ambiguity in the Bible?, Why Would a Scientist Believe the Virgin Birth?, What About the Virgin Birth?, Why would a Scientist Believe a Virgin Gave Birth?,
Genesis for Normal People by Peter Enns and Jared Byas
This short book is written in an informal voice for Christians who have little if any formal training in biblical studies. It will rock the world for some because it presents the purpose and form of the OT in general and Genesis in particular from a point of view that is distinctly different from the approach the average Christian is familiar with. A running theme from Enns and Byas is that we have to learn to read the OT through ancient eyes … this is how we can best understand the message.
The Seven Pillars of Creation by William P. Brown
In this book Dr. Brown, professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur GA looks at the creation narratives – seven of them – found within the pages of the Old Testament. The question that drives the study: “What is it like to read the Bible in one hand and the journal Science in the other? … What is it like to be both a sage and a psalmist, a steward of creation’s mysteries and a servant of Christ?” According to Brown we need both an empirical appreciation for the world God created, a sense of wonder, and an appreciation for the revelation of God’s story in scripture.
The Bible and the Believer: How to Read the Bible Critically & Religiously by Marc Zvi Brettler, Peter Enns, and Daniel J. Harrington
Three Old Testament scholars, one Jewish, one Catholic, and one Protestant, explore the question of how a believer can reconcile the results of biblical scholarship, including historical criticism with religious faith. They accept the clear results of scholarship but reject the extremes to which it is taken in some of the academy. This book consists of a short introduction on the historical/critical reading of the Old Testament, and then follows through with an essay by each of these scholars, and a response by each of other two.
In the Beginning … We Misunderstood by Johnny V. Miller and John M. Soden
This book explores the meaning of Genesis, starting with the question: What did Genesis mean to the original authors and readers? Johnny Miller (ThM, ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) and John Soden (ThM, PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) have a rather conservative take on the interpretation of scripture. They assume the basic truthfulness of the text, including Genesis, but ask questions about the meaning of Genesis 1 in its original context. They argue against a concordist view of the relationship between science and scripture. Modern science (or in fact any science beyond that of the original ANE culture) should not be read into or out of the biblical text.
A commentary providing background context for the various books of the Bible. The background commentary on Genesis was written by John Walton.
Views on Genesis 1-2 and responses by a number of primarily Old Testament scholars. Contributors include John Walton, Tremper Longman III, C. John Collins, Kenneth Turner, Tod Beall, Jud Davis, and more.
If we as Christians are seriously focused on being the people of God it has to take the Old Testament seriously on its own terms, not restructured into the story we expect it to tell. Provan is an Old Testament Scholar, the Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College in Vancouver British Columbia. In this book he explores the Old Testament context of Christian faith, first on its own terms and then in light of the New Testament.
Posts: Seriously Dangerous Religion, The World is Sacred Space, Who Is God? – The OT View, Who Are Man and Woman?, The Embrace of Evil, Now Choose Life, Love the Lord Your God, You Are Your Brother’s Keeper, The Bible Isn’t “Green” … or Is It?, God Nudges, Shouldn’t We Also?, Old Testament Hope: For New Jerusalem – Not For Eden, New Dimensions in the Old Story, But Is it True?, Is the Story Dangerous?, Dangerous or Not? … We Can’t Ignore Joshua, More from Iain Provan on “Dangerous” Religion.
The Nature of Creation: Examining the Bible and Science by Mark Harris,
Mark Harris began his career as a physicist specializing in condensed matter physics. He has a number of nice papers investigating spin-ice materials comprised of heavy rare earth titanate pyrochlores. He then trained for ordination and is now Lecturer in Science and Religion at the University of Edinburgh. His book presents a critical and theological investigation of the creation texts in the Bible and how this relates to modern scientific ideas of origins.
Posts: The Nature of Creation, Theologies of Creation?, Not a Scientific Hypothesis, Biblical Views of Time and Space, Creation – Once or Continual?, Is “The Fall” Necessary?, Evolutionary (Inborn) Evil?, New Creation From the Old.
Old Testament Theology: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture by R. W. L. Moberly
Walter Moberly is professor of theology and biblical interpretation at Durham University and an ordained Priest in the Church of England. In this book he takes eight passages in the Old Testament and uses them to explore the major ideas in Old Testament theology.
Posts: Reading the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture, A Chosen People?!, A Possible Approach to herem in Deuteronomy?, It is a Puzzle … Herem Never Practiced?, Bread From Heaven in the Desert, Can God Change?, A Responsive Potter, The Faithfulness of God, Isaiah and Jesus, Forget the Fish Already!, Perplexity, Paradox and Psalms, That is Wisdom!
Kyle Greenwood is an associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Colorado Christian University. This is a book written at an accessible level directed at lay Christians as well as pastors and teachers. Asked for the main point in this book Kyle responds: “It is my contention that a high view of Scripture employs a hermeneutic that accommodates the biblical writers’ immersion in its ancient, pre-Enlightenment cultural context. As with other cultural matters, such as social custos and language, the biblical texts reflect that worldview in their written communication.
Posts: Scripture and (Ancient) Cosmology, A Three-Tiered Universe – Earth, Heavens and Seas, Creation Beyond Genesis, A Spherical Earth … Oh No!, “The Devil Possess Them” and Other Responses, The Authority of
A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology.by J. Richard Middleton
Dr. J. Richard Middleton is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester New York and has specialized in the Old Testament and in creation theology among other things. This book explores the biblical view of Christian hope in the age to come. Our hope is not for some other-worldly heaven but for the renewal and consummation of all creation. “The inner logic of this vision of holistic salvation is that the creator has not given up on creation and is working to salvage and restore the world (human and nonhuman) to the fullness of shalom and flourishing intended from the beginning. And redeemed human beings, renewed in God’s image, are to work toward and embody this vision in their daily lives.”
The book of Job is a profound and often overlooked or misunderstood book. While it is not directly related to the science-faith discussion a close look at this book can help to undercut some non-biblical assumptions at work in 21st century evangelicalism. The book is also of great value on its own merits. Two commentaries – Job (The NIV Application Commentary) by John Walton and Job (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) by Tremper Longman III form the basis of a series of posts on the book of Job.
Posts: Wow, Job, Justice or Wisdom?, The Accuser is not Satan, Job is Innocent… And He Proves Faithful, Job’s Lament (And What’s in it For Me?), God’s Role in the Cosmos, Is God Just?, I Know That My Redeemer Lives, Oh Where Wisdom? (Hint – Not in Science), Let My Arm Fall From the Shoulder!, Remember, God Doesn’t Need You, And Then God Speaks … About Creation, And Then God Instructs (or Rebukes?)… Job and Us, God’s Creation … Chaos Creatures and What is “Good”?, Job and the Question of Suffering, God Blesses Job … New Children to Replace Those Lost?.
Satire or History? (A post on the book of Jonah)
Francis Collins, in the brief stretch between stints as head of the Human Genome Project at NIH and, now, Director of NIH, put together an anthology of readings he finds helpful in discussing rational reasons for belief in God. The essays and excerpts in this book will not provide a proof for the existence of God – no such proof is possible. But they do provide arguments and reasons for belief.
Unfortunately out of print now. Sayers deserves a far broader readership than she receives. She was much more than just a writer of detective stories. Her insights (not to mention her incredible power with the pen) still speak today. Many of these essays speak today as powerfully as they did when originally written more than half a century ago. Sayers spoke into a academic and intellectual culture that struggles today as it did then with the depth of Christian faith.
The Spirit in Creation and New Creation: Science and Theology in Western and Orthodox Realms edited by Michael Welker.
This book contains a series of articles by both Western and Orthodox Christian thinkers exploring the role of the Spirit. In the upcoming weeks I will post on a number of the articles in this book.
Why Science Does Not Disprove God by Amir D. Aczel
This book looks at the flaws in many of the arguments found in the books, articles, and lectures of the so-called New Atheists. Aczel is the author of a number of popular books on science. In this book he is not writing from any faith tradition, but is exposing what he sees as a misuse of science.
Science vs Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Elaine Howard Ecklund
This book draws on an extensive survey of nearly 1700 professors at twenty one “elite” universities, in seven core disciplines (chemistry, physics, biology, sociology, economics, political science, and psychology), augmented by detailed interviews with 275 of them. The book uses 10 representative anecdotal stories to flesh out and personalize the findings. This book is well written, easy to read, and (speaking as a lab rat) she hits the target. I find nothing surprising, but much that provokes thought.
For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom by Matthew W. Finkin and Robert C. Post.
This book provides a historical description of the development of the ideals of academic freedom in the US, including the forces that have push for and against academic freedom.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn.
While Kuhn’s premise – that scientific revolutions represent changes in an accepted conceptual framework more than progress toward an objective truth – is rightly criticized by many, his insight and insistence that the conceptual frameworks of science are always influenced by historical and social factors remains an important, even revolutionary, contribution. Many Christians use Kuhn’s ideas about the nature of scientific revolutions to dismiss modern scientific views and stick with a more traditional view of creation.
Post: (Paradigm) Shift Happens.
Warren Nord (1946-2010) was the founding director of the interdisciplinary Program in the Humanities and Human Values at UNC–Chapel Hill a position he held for 25 years. With a Ph.D. in philosophy his area of interest was in religion, morality, and education. In this book, published in 2010 he addresses the role of religion in a liberal education. He is not looking to indoctrinate students in any religious tradition, rather he thinks it important that we acknowledge the role that religion plays in human society.
Doubting by Alister McGrath
An excellent, short book on doubt, deals with this issue in a useful and pastoral way. Especially good suggestions for students and scholars confronted with challenges. It concentrates on approaches to questions more than answers for questions.
This book is the memoir of a young Christian wrestling with the meaning and implications of Christian faith. It is well written and easy to read, with a thread of encouragement for the future. The issues that trouble Rachel include science and evolution, but the more important issues deal with hell and judgment.
Ronald Osborn was raised to believe in a young earth, with creation in six 24 hour days. In the original creation there was no mortality and no predation. The attraction the lions have for a young Cape buffalo is a consequence of human rebellion in the sin of Adam and Eve. This sin produced not just death, but also a myriad of anatomical changes in the animals populating the garden and the world. Today this seems an unlikely interpretation of scripture – yet the problem of animal suffering remains to be answered. This book looks at both the problems with a young earth interpretation and animal suffering in creation.
Posts: Death Before the Fall, No Interpretation Needed!?, Unwholesome Complexity, Are Stage Props Necessary?, Sola Scriptura Renewed and Renewing, From Tower Building to Tent Mending, And it Was Good … But Red in Tooth and Claw?, Jesus Ate Fish and Other Thoughts on Death, The God of the Whirlwind, Christ Centered Creation!,
The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age by Randall Stephens and Karl Giberson.
Quoting Dr. Giberson: In our new book, “The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age,” historian Randall Stephens and I look at the widespread and disturbing inability of American evangelicals to distinguish between real knowledge claims, rooted in serious research and endorsed by credible knowledge communities, and pseudo-claims made by unqualified groups and leaders that offer “faith-friendly” alternatives.
Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line by Jason Rosenhouse.
Scot opened his series on this book: What happens to a mathematician or science-type who decides out of curiosity to spend gobs of time — weekends, conferences, reading time — with the creationists? What happens when you spend time with creationists? Jason Rosenhouse, a professional mathematician, did just that and wrote up a book about it. It’s a good read; it’s an alarming read at times; it’s an attempt at comprehending creationists; it’s by an atheist, an evolutionist, and someone who has a hobby of wondering what makes creationists tick. He’s deeply bothered by the approach.
Emerging Adulthood and Faith by Jonathan P. Hill
Jonathan Hill is an assistant professor of Sociology at Calvin College. This book explores the change (or absence of change) in the religious faith of young adults, the so-called generation Y or Millennials who were born roughly from 1980-2000.
Mere Believers by Marc Baer
Marc Baer is a Professor of History at Hope College. His specialty is modern British history. In this short book he looks at eight Christians in Britain examining how their lives, inspired by Christian faith, made a difference. The individuals range from Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1790) to Dorothy Sayers (1893-1956) spanning some two and a half centuries. In between we find Olaudah Equiano, kidnapped in Africa, enslaved, freed, and a voice for the humanity of Africans in Britain, Hannah More an author and reformer, as well as the more well known William Wilberforce, Oswald and Biddy Chambers, and G. K. Chesterton. The mix of men and women is intentional – and the women were active in preaching, teaching, shaping, and building. No mere supportive role here.
Post: Vocation as Holy Ground
A Fellowship of Differents by Scot McKnight
A look at what church and Christian life should look like through a study of the letters of Paul.
Post: A Tossed Salad.
Surprised By Scripture by N. T. Wright
This book is a series of essays on the way scripture can and does speak into contemporary issues. The essays originated as lectures and talks in a variety of places, including a few at BioLogos meetings. They have been expanded and polished for the book.
Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? by Philip Yancey
From the Amazon synopsis: Yancey explores what may have contributed to hostility toward Evangelicals, especially in their mixing of faith and politics instead of embracing more grace-filled ways of presenting the gospel. He offers illuminating stories of how faith can be expressed in ways that disarm even the most cynical critics. Then he explores what is Good News and what is worth preserving in a culture that thinks it has rejected Christian faith.
Posts: Is Grace Vanishing?, It Isn’t Love – But It Should Be, Reclaiming the Good News, Fellow Pilgrims, Of Artists and Activists, The Salt of the Earth, Scientists, Celebrities, and Yahoos … Why Are We Here?, A Community of Contrast!, Faith and Culture: Uneasy Partners.
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller
For the last two decades Tim Keller has ministered in Manhattan to reach an educated and largely unchurched urban population. In this book he draws on his experience to discuss seven common questions posed to deconstruct Christian belief, demonstrating that none of these need be “deal breakers.” He then spends the second half of the book reconstructing “The Reason for God” and of course, the orthodox Christian faith.
The book is revisited in more detail in a second series of posts.
Posts: In an Age of Skepticism, All Religion is Culturally Conditioned Truth, How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?, Absolute Truth is the Enemy of Freedom, (In)Justice in Jesus’s Name, Revisiting Hell, I Believe in Genesis, You Can’t Take the Bible Literally – Right?, The Historic Christian Faith, Echoes of a Voice, Keller and THE PROBLEM, Cosmic Consequences?, Gospel or Religion, The (True?) Story of the Cross, The Reality of the Resurrection, The Divine Dance, Now What?
The Future of Faith by Harvey Cox
Cox is the Hollis Professor of Divinity emeritus at Harvard and is best known for his 1965 book The Secular City. He also wrote When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Choices Today, a very thoughtful and thought provoking book. The Future of Faith explores the trends that Cox sees in the history of the church and his thoughts on the future of faith, including Christian faith. From his very liberal perspective – the future “Age of the Spirit” is both a good thing (away from the legalism of conservative Chrisitanity) and a bad thing (too many non western Christians actually take the Bible and the supernatural seriously).
From the Publishers description: Lifelong educator Mary Poplin, after experiencing a newfound awakening to faith, sent a letter to Calcutta asking if she could visit Mother Teresa and volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity. She received a response saying, “You are welcome to share in our works of love for the poorest of the poor.” This book describes her experiences and her realization that she could “find her Calcutta” in her home surroundings at the University.
God is Red by Liao Yiwu.
Liao Yiwu is a Chinese dissident, critical of the communist regime. In his travels around China he interviewed a number of Chinese Christians, many of whom were persecuted quite severely for their faith. He is not a Christian, but their stories interested him. He starts with a doctor who left the halls of academe to serve the poor, but from here he moves to relate the accounts of many who suffered after the communist victory and in the cultural revolution, including several who were executed. This is an interesting portrait of Christian faith through the eyes of an outsider.
The Search for the Historical Adam 2. A discussion of the article and editorial in the June 2011 issue of Christianity Today.
This is a full development of Walton’s view on the significance of Adam in the biblical text. He holds to a historical Adam, but sees Adam as archetypal in the text of the Bible. Walton digs into the Hebrew text and the ancient Near Eastern background to interpret the text. His approach holds to the inerrancy of scripture, but notes that this means that we have to explore what the text meant to the original audience. It is written for us, but it was not written to us.
Posts: And It Was Very Good, The ˀādām in Genesis 1-5, Archetypal Adam, Consider Melchizedek … and Adam, Of Gardens, Trees, and Serpents, Not Paradise Lost But Paradise Ungained, Jesus is the Keystone, Paul’s Adam, From One Couple?, In the Image of God, Why Does It Matter?.
The contributors to the book include Denis Lamoureux, John Walton, C. John Collins, and William Barrick. The views presented range from no historical Adam (Lamoureux) to young earth creation with Adam as the unique father of the entire human race some 6000 years ago or so (Barrick). John Walton and Jack Collins fall between these two views, with Collins taking a somewhat more ‘literal’ view than Walton.
Posts: The Historical Adam, No Historical Adam?, Responses to No Historical Adam, Adam Both Archetypal and Historical, Responses to Archetypal Adam, Adam and Eve as Special Creation, The Historicity of Adam is a Gospel Issue, Responses to the Traditional View of Adam,
Peter Enns is an Old Testament scholar (Ph. D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard). In this book he concentrates on the interpretation of the creation stories in Genesis and the use Paul makes of these stories in Romans and 1 Corinthians. His approach is from a position of faith, but he argues that we need to rethink the way we interpret these passages in the context of their intent in scripture.
Posts: Adam in Genesis and Paul, Once More With Feeling, When was Genesis Written … and Why?, What is the Purpose of the Old Testament?, What About Enuma Elish and Other ANE Myths?, Adam and Atrahasis, YHWH is Redeemer, But is Adam Israel?, Out of Egypt? … Say What?, Is the Adam of Genesis Not Paul’s Adam?, Paul’s (First Century) Use of Scripture, Paul’s Adam and the Gospel, So How Then Should We Think About Adam?.
Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: Who They Were and Why You Should Care by C. John Collins
Dr. Collins is a professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis MO. His goal in writing this book is to show why he believes we should retain a version of the traditional view of Adam. He argues that the traditional position on Adam and Eve, or some variation of it, does the best job of accounting not only for the Biblical material and for our everyday experience as human beings.
Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins by David Livingstone
This is a readable, but thorough and academic, book looking at the history of the idea of pre-adamic or non-adamic humans in western Christian thinking from the early church (Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and Augustine) through the middle ages, the explorations of the fifteenth and sixteenth century, the debates on racial supremacy, and on to the present day. The book presents an interesting survey and puts many factors into perspective.
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (v. 62 no. 3 2010) Reading Genesis: The Historicity of Adam and Eve, Genomics, and Evolutionary Science
Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives by Peter Bouteneff
This book explores the use of the creation narratives in Second Temple Judaism (ca. 200 BCE to 100 CE), in the New Testament, and in the writings of the early church fathers through the first four centuries of the church. This is a fascinating book – a bit academic, but not too strenuous a read.
Posts: One, Two, Three, Four, Creation-Fall-Redemption is a Recent Reading?, Adam, Original Sinner not Origin of Sin, A Second Century View of Adam, Origen on Origins, Adam, and Eve, Basil Again, With a Little Athanasius on Top, Allegory or History … The Focus is on Christ, These Are the Generations of Adam.
A theologian looks at the question of Original Sin in the context of Romans 5.
Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul by Kevin Corcoran
Dr. Corcoran is a philosopher teaching at Calvin College and specializing in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He is a philosopher who connects philosophy with bible, theology, faith, and science. This book is a development of a view of persons as fully embodied beings.
Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible by Joel B. Green
Dr. Joel B. Green is Professor of New Testament interpretation and Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Before that he served on the faculty and administration of Asbury Theological Seminary. When Joel Green became interested in the questions of body and soul he responded by pursuing the topic from biblical, theological, philosophical, and scientific directions. Although trained in New Testament, he began graduate work in neuroscience at the University of Kentucky. While he didn’t finish a degree he has a more complete perspective on the topic than many theologians or philosophers. Borrowing from the product description, in this book he explores “what Scripture and theology teach about issues such as being in the divine image, the importance of community, sin, free will, salvation, and the afterlife.”
Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson
Dr. Thompson is a psychiatrist in private practice, and this book comes from his study and experience in this context. The book explores the relationship between brain and mind and looks at the impact a better understanding of this relationship might have on both spiritual practices and relationships. As a Christian, Dr. Thompson looks at the impact new findings in neuroscience have on our understanding of Christian practice and transformation.
Post: Anatomy of the Soul
Half the Sky is a powerful book that explores the oppression of women worldwide, from rape, sex-trafficking, and maternal mortality to domestic violence, “cutting” and infanticide. Half the Church takes this and looks at biblical portraits of women and at the need for action.
Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by by Tim Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf
If you happen to, oh say, teach at a seminary or pastor in a church it is relatively easy to see how your work connects to Gods work. If, on the other hand, you happen to run a business, work as a secretary, repair cars, or be on the faculty of a major secular University it can be somewhat harder. This book grows out of the experience Keller has had with younger adults (and older adults I expect) as they wrestle with what it means to be Christian in all aspects of life, including work. Every Good Endeavor is an interesting book, exhibiting some of the best of Keller as he focuses on a “merely Christian” approach to work. He draws on insights from Scripture (Both Genesis and Ecclesiastes plays a significant role) and from a broad range of scholars and thinkers, including Christian thinkers such as Dorothy Sayers, Andy Crouch, JRR Tolkien, Mark Noll, and many more.
Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature by Malcolm Jeeves and Warren S. Brown
Malcolm Jeeves is a Christian, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of St. Andrews. Of late he has been thinking and writing about the intersection of mind and brain and the relationship of the psychology and neuroscience with Christian faith and religious belief. The first book provides an overview of the relationship between neuroscience, psychology, and religion. In this book Jeeves and Brown survey the history and current state of neuroscience with emphasis on the interface with religion. The second book covers much of the same material but does so in a conversational, question and answer style. This being the 21st century the format of the conversation is not an exchange of long letters, but an exchange of e-mails, short and long, over a course of undergraduate studies. Although the presentation is a fictional conversation, the questions posed by “Ben” represent the cumulative experience of more than half a century interacting with students taking psychology.
Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith. by David G. Myers and Malcolm A. Jeeves.
This book is part of a larger series of books looking at various disciplines “through the eyes of faith.” Jeeves (Professor Emeritus of Psychology at St. Andrews) and Myers (Professor of Psychology at Hope College), tackle many of the tough questions in the dialogue between psychology (or neuroscience) and Christian faith.
The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 by J. Richard Middleton
Dr. J. Richard Middleton is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester New York and has specialized in the Old Testament and in creation theology among other things. The Liberating Image explores the meaning of the image of God and what it means for the nature and calling of mankind. This is an academic book – with plenty of footnotes – and the language at times reflects this academic nature. Yet it is interesting and quite readable even for the educated layperson like me.
Posts: Interpreting the Imago Dei, No Text is an Island, The Artistry of Creation, Cosmic Temple, and Imago Dei, All Humanity is the Image of God, Humans Created to Serve the gods?, Genesis 1-10 as Ideological Critique, Babel as Ideological Critique, In the Image of a Violent God?, A New Look at Genesis 1, Richard Middleton: After The Liberating Image.
Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew D. Lieberman
Lieberman is a Professor of Psychology at UCLA. He is a social psychologist specializing in social cognition. The primary message of Lieberman’s book is that we are formed to be social. While it is common to consider our most basic needs to be those related to such items as food, shelter, and safety, Lieberman claims that social connection is in fact our bedrock need. Of course we need food and shelter, but as humans we get food, shelter, safety, and much more through social connection. This is the foundation on which all else rests.
The Oxford Inklings: Lewis, Tolkien and their Circle by Colin Duriez.
Friendship, good friendship unites us and preserves and promotes virtue. In this book Colin Duriez “tells the story of friendship, mutual influence, and common purpose of the Inklings – the literary circle which congregated around C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.”
Posts: Nothing More to be Prized,
Shermer is an outspoken skeptic of religion.
Posts: Is it All a Trick of the Mind?.
Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist by Christof Koch
Christof Koch is a Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology at CalTech. He was raised in a Roman Catholic family, son of a German diplomat, traveled a great deal in his childhood and youth: Missouri, Amsterdam, Bonn, Ottawa, and Rabat. He writes, among other things “about the wellsprings of [his] inner conflict between religion and reason” and “why [he] grew up wanting to be a scientist.” In the last chapter he comes back and muses about the relationship between science and religion and the existence of God. He wanders through the experience of some 32 years studying consciousness, neuroscience, and will; 26 of them as a professor at CalTech. He introduces the science and reflects on it.
Neither Gods Nor Beasts by Elof Axel Carlson
Elof Carlson is a geneticist who taught biology for decades at UCLA and at Stony Brook. He calls himself a non-theist, and has little appreciation for religious faith. He is not, however, a militant atheist. The premise of his book is that humans are distinct from other animals in possessing reason and his argument is one for science, science education, and the use of reason.
Scot gave a talk at a BioLogos posted on Jesus Creed in three parts.
Most Americans are Fine With Evolution (most white evangelicals are not)
Let Creation Rejoice: Biblical Hope and Ecological Crisis by Jonathan Moo and Robert White
I’ve been looking for a book that would help us make a foray into the area of environmental crisis and global warming. Here we have a start. Let Creation Rejoice looks at the scientific evidence for threats to the environment arising from the actions of mankind and at the hope and mission that Christians have and the difference this can make.
Posts: Let Creation Rejoice, Oh The Devastation We Can Wreak, Humans Are Changing the Global Climate., The Gospel and Global Warming, Down to Earth Hope, The Day of the Lord Will Come, The Renewal of All Things, Not Of This World, But For This World.