Jan 26

Science and Faith, by C. John Collins ★★★★★

This book must not be confused with the book “The Language of Science and Faith” by Francis S. Collins, a book that would not even be worthy of one star even though written by a highly “eminent” scientist. Jack Collins here produces a lay language masterpiece, originally intended to help homeschool parents discuss issues of science, creation, geology, evolutionary biology, the social sciences, the question of miracles, etc., from a biblical Christian perspective. Jack is completely effective, while not betraying the faith as Francis S.C. has done. This book supplements other books by Jack Collins, including “The God of Miracles” which is supposedly a more technical version of this text, as well as texts that I have previously reviewed on this site. Jack Collins has a masters in electrical engineering from MIT, as well as numerous other degrees, and now teaches Hebrew at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. I happen to know him on an acquaintance basis.

Collins tackles a formidable enterprise in his endeavor to show that the Christian faith and much of what we learn as science are not in opposition with each other. The first two chapters of the book are a basic philosophical discussion of the intention of the book. Collins then undertakes to discuss the creation narratives with a scientific perspective, especially addressing his preference for viewing the days of creation as days in God’s time, not ours. He has a chapter discussing the problem of man’s fallenness in observing the world. He discusses the issues of God’s providence and miracles in the face of the post-Hume worldview of the impossibility of miracles. He even includes a chapter on environmentalism and how Christians should view the world. Subsequent chapters deal with the age of the earth (he is in the “old-earth” camp), evolution and the development of animals. Two chapters are devoted to the defense of intelligent design. He concludes with thoughts on the social sciences. Finally, the book is ended with a discussion of the culture wars and our approach to the sciences. Though the entire book was excellent, the last two chapters were the best, and it is worth sticking with Collins to the end of the book. He especially notes how Christians have been in bitter attack against each other over minor differences in their view of the entire creation scenario.  About the only thing I wished he would have discussed would have been flood theories, the tower of Babel incident (especially since Collins is a philologist), and some of the other Biblical miracles that often come under attack by the scientific community (eg., Jonah surviving being eaten by a big fish). This book is one of the must-reads for anybody strongly engaged in the sciences to help form a Christian basis for their scientific thinking.

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One Response to “Science and Faith”

  1. Onkel Dennis says:

    “About the only thing I wished he would have discussed would have been flood theories, the tower of Babel incident …”

    Laying aside the indefensible view that the flood was planetary, just where it occurred is an interesting question. The mainstream view is that it was in Mesopotamia and that the Garden of Eden was at the mouth of the Euphrates River – that is, where the mouth was a few thousand years ago, about 50 miles out to sea.

    The undersea explorer who found the Titanic (Robert Ballard) has been looking for it in the Black Sea.

    The most intriguing possibility that I have recently encountered is that it occurred in the Tarim Basin of eastern Turkmenistan (or NW China) and that the Garden was to the west of it, on the Pamir Plateau. Although people live on the Plateau nowadays, it is a long ways up for an idealistic setting (and not far from K-2). Yet the four rivers named in scripture flow out of it.

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