Science and the Sacred

Science and the Sacred


Making Sense of the Natural World

image-question4-large.jpgAs we have often stated throughout both our website and this blog, the mission of the BioLogos Foundation is to promote the harmony of faith and modern science, such as the theory of evolution. Often, to help share this vision we focus on the sound evidence behind modern scientific theories and why they do not pose a problem for Christian theology. However, the vision of BioLogos is not simply to show that science and faith are able to coexist. Rather, we believe that both faith and science lead to truth about God and creation.

Just as embracing evolution can lead to a deeper understanding of the Creator, embracing the Creator can lead to a better understanding of the natural world around us. Faith does not simply have to accommodate scientific ideas; it can in fact enrich them. Oxford professor and theologian Alister McGrath puts it beautifully:

“The Christian vision of reality offers us a standpoint from which we may view the natural world, and see certain things that others might indeed regard as puzzling, or strange — such as fine-tuning — as consonant with the greater picture that the Christian has to offer.”

-Alister McGrath, A Fine-Tuned Universe
Though we often use this blog to promote scientific ideas, this does not mean the BioLogos team takes matters of faith and theology lightly. We are committed to God and to promoting a perspective of the origins of life that is both theologically and scientifically sound. Neither science nor religion are an exhaustive source of truth. Rather, each one complements the other in our pursuit of truth.

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Daniel Mann

posted September 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm


BioLogos,
You cited Alister McGrath’s statement:
“The Christian vision of reality offers us a standpoint from which we may view the natural world, and see certain things that others might indeed regard as puzzling, or strange — such as fine-tuning — as consonant with the greater picture that the Christian has to offer.”
I certainly agree with this, but isn’t “fine-tuning” an example of Intelligent Design reasoning–something you eschew?



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Wesley R. Elsberry

posted September 23, 2009 at 6:13 am


I’m not certain of the original provenance of fine-tuning arguments, but I know that they cannot be claimed to be the product of “intelligent design reasoning”. One can certainly find fine-tuning among the arguments of natural theology, as in the Rev. William Paley’s 1802 book, “Natural Theology”.
At best, the “intelligent design” creationism advocates can claim that fine-tuning arguments are consonant with their own views, not that they have originated any such argument. “Intelligent design” creationism is about as intellectually barren as the surface of the moon, having raided natural theology and earlier forms of religious antievolution for its content, adding technical epicycles to such standard objections as “what good is half a wing?” and “evolution is too improbable”. Of course, “intelligent design” creationism is simply a sham engaged in to inject as many religious antievolution arguments as possible into the public school curriculum, so it is not unexpected that its advocates would seek to borrow justification wherever they think they can find it.
Christians who embrace fine-tuning arguments would do well to look to the earlier and honest examples of its use as apologia for the nature and attributes of God, and to reject the associations with the inherently deceptive modern religious antievolution movement under any of its misleading labels — scientific creationism, creation science, intelligent design, critical analysis, strengths and weaknesses, academic freedom, and others.



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Beaglelady

posted September 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm


Hi Wesley; thanks for posting. Hope we’ll see you here again.



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Charlie

posted October 1, 2009 at 11:28 am


I don’t really understand how “both faith and science lead to truth about God and creation.” Are you suggesting faith and science have the potential to prove God exists and discover his role in creation? Isn’t faith believing something regardless of refuting or lacking evidence? Anyone want to clarify?



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David Fourer

posted October 6, 2009 at 9:56 am


I understand that faith and science answer different questions. I can see that while science “understands”, faith “motivates”. Science is the “where am I going” and faith is the drive to get there. Science can see and faith can move.
Personally I’m lacking interest in Christian doctrine or Jewish faith at any time in my 54-year life. I was born to a Jewish family. I don’t feel that this means I lack faith. But I am on the fringe I guess. The existence and persistence of Christianity and other big faiths is associated in my mind with many kinds of trouble, violence, irrational and irresponsible behavior.
I have to look for some balance. Occasionally I remind myself of how Martin Luther King used the Christian language and faith to drive the Civil Rights Movement–a formative experience in my life. That language, though strange, is still moving to me today.



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