Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?: An MIT Professor Answers Questions on God and Science, By Ian Hutchinson

Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?

An MIT Professor Answers Questions on God and Science

Veritas Books

by Ian Hutchinson

Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: September 11, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4547
  • ISBN: 9780830845477

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Plasma physicist Ian Hutchinson has been asked hundreds of questions about faith and science:

  • What is faith and what is science? Are they compatible?
  • Are there realities science cannot explain?
  • Is God's existence a scientific question?
  • Is the Bible consistent with the modern scientific understanding of the universe?
  • Are there scientific reasons to believe in God?

In this comprehensive volume, Hutchinson answers a full range of inquiries with sound scientific insights and measured Christian perspective. Without minimizing challenging questions, he explores how science and Christianity are mutually supportive and intellectually consistent.

Both God and science truthfully address our curiosity and destiny. Find answers to your deepest questions.

"The questions Ian Hutchinson has been asked, and which he answers in this book, are the questions I have been asked and attempted to answer. Hutchinson is a scientist and a Christian, and has a pastoral heart for those who have deep and enduring questions about the Bible and science and these questioners don’t want pat and simplistic answers. Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles? belongs on the shelf of every pastor, every youth pastor, and anyone who teaches the interface of science and faith. It’s that valuable."

Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

"In this concise volume readers will encounter a remarkable array of topics relating to science, faith, theology, and philosophy that any thinking person should welcome. Hutchinson fields the questions capably and offers thoughtful answers that will provide stimulating insights on these fundamental issues. The book will arm Christians to confront their own deepest questions and those pressed on them by an unbelieving world. It will also provide non-Christians with a sound entryway into the rationale of Christian belief."

John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College, author of The Lost World of Genesis One

"In his new book, Dr. Hutchinson draws on his fascinating personal story, impressive credentials, and vast experiences addressing university audiences. The questions he tackles about God and science are both relatable and contemporary. All these factors combine to make his new book an engaging and compelling read."

Leslie Wickman, executive director, American Scientific Affiliation

"Scientific thinker Stephen Jay Gould famously declared science and religion to represent non-overlapping magisteria. Here Ian Hutchinson, a top scientific thinker, insightfully explores the limits of science and faith and where their claims intersect. A valuable yet delightfully readable voice at the intersection of philosophy of science and philosophy of religion, offering scientifically and theologically plausible arguments structured around many of today's important questions."

Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Ian Hutchinson is what I call a 'boundary pioneer.' There are few who have such a great capacity to help scientists understand faith and to help communities of faith understand science."

Elaine Howard Ecklund, author of Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think

"Many non-Christians wonder whether Christianity can be true or relevant in a scientific age; some Christians wonder whether science is an enemy of their faith. Ian Hutchinson's book offers a collection of excellent answers to real questions from real people. He is an accomplished physicist, and he has studied Christian theology and lived a life of faith for decades, so his answers display considerable expertise. They also display humility, honesty, and care for his listeners."

Loren Haarsma, associate professor of physics, Calvin College

"Scholar, scientist, and Christian Ian Hutchinson tackles the questions many ask but few adequately answer. He combines world-class science and passionate Christian faith in a way that is sophisticated, scholarly, warmly personal, and consistently compassionate. Science, theology, ethics, history, philosophy, and Bible study all come together in the classroom of this book."

Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Washington, DC

"Ian Hutchinson has been an outspoken advocate for clear and rigorous thinking about issues at the intersection of science and faith. This excellent volume carefully yet approachably explores some of the most perplexing and challenging issues at this interface. Both religious believers and skeptics alike will learn and be challenged by it."

Michael Murray, John Templeton Foundation

"When lecturing on science and Christianity, MIT professor Ian Hutchinson typically asked his audiences to record their questions on index cards. He received provocative queries on topics ranging from human evolution to the resurrection of Jesus. About two hundred of those index card questions provide the backbone for this wide-ranging and eye-opening book."

Owen Gingerich, emeritus professor of astronomy and history of science, Harvard University

"Ian Hutchinson's personality and personal wrestling come through. These are thoughtful, candid answers to frank questions that will benefit readers, believer and skeptic alike. If you're looking for a model of engaging questions of faith in a science-saturated society, Hutchinson is a trustworthy guide."

Robert C. Bishop, associate professor of physics and philosophy, John and Madeleine McIntyre Endowed Professor of Philosophy and History of Science, Wheaton College

"In this compact, beautifully clear and well-informed volume, Professor Ian Hutchinson, a renowned physicist at MIT, vanquishes many of the enduring myths of the conflict metaphor of science and faith. In doing so, he clears away many of the obstacles that stand in the way of faith today, preparing a clear way for the coming of the Lord."

Andrew Pinsent, Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, University of Oxford

Read an Excerpt


1. A Spiritual Journey
2. Are There Realities Science Cannot Explain?
3. What Is Faith?
4. Do Scientists Have Faith?
5. Does Reason Support Christian Belief?
6. What Is Scientism?
7. Is There Really Spiritual Knowledge?
8. Creation and Cosmology
9. Do Miracles Happen?
10. The Bible and Science
11. Of All the World’s Religions, Why Christianity?
12. Why Does God Seem Hidden?
13. Is There Good and Evil?
14. Personal Consequences: So What?
Author Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Ian Hutchinson

Ian Hutchinson is a plasma physicist and professor of nuclear science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was born in England, educated at Cambridge University, and received his doctorate from Australian National University. His research group explores the confinement of plasmas hotter than the sun's center, aimed at producing practical energy from nuclear fusion reactions, the energy source of the stars.

A frequent Veritas Forum presenter, Ian has written and spoken widely on the relationship between science and Christianity. He is the author of over two hundred research articles, and his books include Principles of Plasma Diagnostics and Monopolizing Knowledge.