John Hedley Brooke (Science and Religion, 44-45) summarizes the argument of JW Draper’s 1875 History of the Conflict between Religion and Science: “The history of science, he wrote, is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side and the compression arising from traditional faith, and human interests, on the other. Draper was an English scientist who became the first president of the American Chemical Society. Living through the post-Darwinian… Read more

In an essay in Sin, Death, and the Devil, Stanley Hauerwas describes our “sinsick” condition, drawing from Thomas for help. Thomas links sin and sickness in a way that, Hauerwas says, strikes moderns as “bizarre”: “‘Sickness’ for us . . . is pointless. Being ‘sick’ is a condition that should not exist and thereby justifies unlimited interventions to eliminate what we regard as an arbitrary inconvenience” (15). Thomas thought the opposite. Sickness isn’t pointless “but rather an indication of the… Read more

Everyone knows that Genesis 1 claims that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. William Brown (Seven Pillars of Creation) shows that the sevens are everywhere in the creation account: “The account of Genesis 1 is carefully structured around seven days within which eight acts of creation and ten commands are listed. The number seven is no random counting. God ‘saw’ and pronounced creation ‘good’ seven times; ‘earth’ or ‘land’ (same word in Hebrew) appears… Read more

Galileo Goes To Jail, a 2009 collection of essays edited by Ronald Numbers, examines 25 myths of science and religion. The essays aren’t defenses of religion by any means; they instead aim at complicating the received scientific triumphalism and set records straight. Maurice A. Finocchiaro tackles myth #8, that Galileo was imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition. Finocchiaro admits that court documents make it appear that Galileo was jailed and perhaps tortured. Other evidence indicates that Galileo was treated far… Read more

The late Billy Graham from a 1959 issue of Christianity Today. 1959!! One of the pet words of this age is “tolerance.” It is a good word, but we have tried to stretch it over too great an area of life. We have applied it too often where it does not belong. The word “tolerant” means “liberal,” “broad-minded,” “willing to put up with beliefs opposed to one’s convictions,” and “the allowance of something not wholly approved.” Tolerance, in one sense,… Read more

“Modernity,” writes Jason A. Josephson-Storm, “is first and foremost the sign of a rupture . . . a device for positing significant historical breaks” (The Myth of Disenchantment, 7). By designating something as “modern,” we associate it with novelty, up-to-dateness, “the current.” But modernity is also a spatial reality: “to call a culture modern is to ally it with newness and to consign its opposite to colonization or the scrap heap of history.” Modernity “is as much a project as… Read more

Frances Young (God’s Presence, 173-4) offers this summary of the post-Nicene consensus concerning the image of God in man: “Athanasius and the Cappadocians, those who fashioned the notion of theopoiesis/theosis and recognized that it implied Nicene orthodoxy, were those who had a sense of the interrelationship of differing aspects of God’s image as presented in different parts of scripture. This doctrinal ‘ecology,’ by which key components mutually sustain one another, was rooted in traditional Christian thinking as found in Irenaeus… Read more

Everyone wonders – children, “savages,” men and women at one another. Philosophers wonder too, Rosenzweig says (Understanding the Sick and the Healthy), but they respond to wonder differently from the rest of us. The rest of us are “adrift on the river Life, borne on, wonderment and all.” We drift and go on living, and “at last, the numbness caused by his wonder passes” (40). The philosopher i.e. one who cannot wait, who is “unwilling to accept the process of… Read more

Sociologists, Rosenstock-Huessy charges, often formulate their theories in this fashion: “an obscure Force A and a Relation B . . . affect Mr Y.” Sociologists “pretend that their science address a nameless world” (In the Cross of Reality, 4). No such nameless world exists: “X and Y are unknown to reality, and so are ‘if A, the B’ scenarios.” If sociologists are going to deal with reality itself, they need to take a different approach: “First of all, a state… Read more

Matthew Levering devotes a dense chapter of his Engaging the Doctrine of Creation to a defense of divine simplicity. As one would expect from a leading Catholic thinker, Levering relies on Thomas. God, Levering argues, must be pure act in order to be something other than “a being among beings”: “God can be the source and cause of all finite being, the creator, only if God ontologically transcends all finite being. If divine being were finite, God could not [in… Read more

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