“Regardless of theologians’ attitudes toward science, however, there is scarcely a doctrine that has not been affected by science.” – Nancey Murphy
What is the Theology?
Different Christians in different times have viewed the relationship between science and theology through different lenses. While the last couple of centuries have seen more perceived conflict between science and religion, most of the greatest scientists in history have been religious, and many of those Christian. This history has shown that the relationship between science and religion is very complex. It hinges on how we view God, read the Bible, understand divine revelation, and see the place of the Church in the world. All of these are at the core of a Christian community’s identity. Perhaps this is why issues of science and faith can be full of so much conflict. The article’s author, Nancey Murphy, invites us to learn from several faithful Christians who have struggled with these issues and contributed to the science and faith conversation. We may not always agree with their conclusions, but perhaps their work can be a spark to reflect upon our own assumptions, presuppositions, and convictions about some of the biggest questions of our day. More importantly, perhaps these conversations can lead us into more faithful worship of the Creator of the Universe.
What to Consider
- How do you understand the relationship between science and theology? How does your congregation understand this relationship?
- What scientific fields contain hot button issues? Which ones are less volatile? What are the reasons these issues are more or less volatile.
- What is your view of the Bible? How do you see the relationship between biblical revelation and other ways of knowing? How does this affect the way you interpret certain passages such as Genesis 1-3?
How to go Deeper
- Start a small group that discusses science and faith topics. For an introduction, try using this short video on the origins of the science/religion conflict thesis with this accompanying study guide.
- Preach a series on key issues in the science and theology conversation. You might consider using the six topics which Nancey Murphy’s article suggests: quantum physics and divine action, evolution and divine action, cosmology and creation, fine-tuning, design, and natural evil.
- Invite scientists in your congregations and communities to share about their work during a worship service. This can be a time to hear how some scientists bring their vocation and faith together. You might also use this time to preach a sermon on the things you are learning about God through creation. For more on this second option, see these sermons about what we can learn about God from things as diverse as the kidney, the knee, and the brain.
The American Scientific Affiliation – “Studies in the History of Science and Christianity”
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