Science and the Doctrine of Creation
Can Christians take seriously the claims of modern science without compromising their theological integrity? Can theology contribute to our understanding of the natural world without reducing the doctrine of creation to a few flashpoint issues? While there is no shortage of works that treat the intersection between science and religion, little attention has been paid to the theological reception of developments of modern science. Yet a deeper look at the history of Christian thought offers a wealth of insight from theological giants for navigating this complex terrain.
Science and the Doctrine of Creation examines how influential modern theologians—from the turn of the nineteenth century through the present—have engaged the scientific developments of their times in light of the doctrine of creation. In each chapter a leading Christian thinker introduces readers to the unique contributions of a key theologian in responding to the assumptions, claims, and methods of science. Chapters include
Edited by Geoffrey Fulkerson and Joel Chopp of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding, this book grows out of the Henry Center's Creation Project, which promotes biblically faithful and scientifically engaged dialogue around the doctrine of creation. From Warfield's critical appraisal of Darwinian evolution to Pannenberg's pneumatological reflections on field theory, these studies explore how Christians can think more carefully about the issues at stake using the theological resources of their traditions.
"This volume represents another valuable contribution of the Creation Project to our understanding of this vital doctrine. The thinkers profiled are influential, and the chapter authors are insightful. As the editors suggest, these case studies frequently deepen our awareness that seeking appropriate concord between theology and science is complex but inevitable for biblical Christians."
"The person who does not specialize in the work of modern academic theologians wants to know who the key writers are, with a clear survey of their distinctive views and contributions, given with sympathy and even critique. This volume, with its focus on the specific question of how these theologians have brought the Christian doctrine of creation into engagement with the sciences, has achieved exactly that. The editors, representing the Carl Henry Center for Theological Understanding, have done great service to us all and furthered the invaluable work of the center. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude!"
"How did the most important twentieth-century Protestant theologians model Christian engagement with the scientific questions of their time? Rather than staking out a definitive position on creation and science, each of the ten essays in this book gives an account of the diverse ways a particular theologian (Warfield, Barth, Torrance, Moltmann, Pannenberg, etc.) addressed current scientific issues and how he understood the very relationship of science and theology in light of the doctrine of creation. This is a rich feast indeed!"
"Science and the Doctrine of Creation presents ten of the most influential nineteenth- and twentieth-century theologians writing on dialogue with the sciences, analyzed by ten leading contemporary scholars in the field. With this new book, Geoffrey Fulkerson and Joel Chopp confirm the leading position of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding as a forum for informed scholarly debate, bringing theology and science into fruitful interaction."
"For too long Christians have weaponized the seeming conflict (or harmony) between science and theology. Good historians urge us instead to pay attention to the actual practice of particular theologians and scientists: 'Don't generalize in the abstract; look and see!' they say. Science and the Doctrine of Creation is a wonderful example of this salutary approach, drawing on theological luminaries like Barth, Torrance, and Pannenberg as guides into the rich meaning of creation. These learned essays remind us that the dogmatic issues surrounding God's creation extend far beyond the customary debates over origins. Readers will naturally gravitate to some chapters over others, but the ten chapters taken together offer a banquet of stimulating analysis for famished readers. What a welcome addition to the science and theology dialogue!"
Introduction (Geoffrey H. Fulkerson and Joel Thomas Chopp)
1. William Burt Pope (1822–1903): Primary and Secondary Creation (Fred Sanders)
2. Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920): Enlightenment, Science, Worldview, and the Christian Mind (Craig Bartholomew)
3. B. B. Warfield (1851–1921): Evolution, Human Origins, and the Development of Theology (Bradley J. Gundlach)
4. Rudolf Bultmann (1884–1976): Myth, Science, and Hermeneutics (Joshua W. Jipp)
5. Karl Barth (1886–1968): The Doctrine of Creation and the World of Science (Katherine Sonderegger)
6. T. F. Torrance (1913–2007): Christ the Key to Creation and Theological Science (Kevin J. Vanhoozer)
7. Jürgen Moltmann (1926–): The Environment of Science and Theology (Stephen N. Williams)
8. Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928–2014): Nature, Contingency, and the Spirit (Christoph Schwöbel)
9. Robert Jenson (1930–2017): History’s God (Stephen John Wright)
10. Colin E. Gunton (1941–2003): The Triune God, Scientific Endeavor, and God’s Creation Project (Murray A. Rae)
Afterword by Alister E. McGrath