Zondervan Academic’s “Dictionary of Christianity and Science”

This is going to be huge.

The Dictionary of Christianity and Science provides, in one volume, entries on over 450 key terms, theories, individuals, movements, and debates at the intersection of Christian faith and contemporary science.

In addition, because certain topics such as the age of the Earth and the historicity of Adam and Eve provoke disagreement among Christians, the dictionary includes “Counterpoints”-like essays that advocate for the views most commonly held among evangelicals. Representatives of leading perspectives present their arguments vigorously but respectfully in these advocacy essays, allowing readers to compare options and draw their own conclusions. The dictionary is also fully cross-referenced and entries include references and recommendation for further reading.

Edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss, the Dictionary of Christianity and Science features a top-notch lineup of over 140 contributors in the fields of biblical studies, theology, philosophy, history, and various sciences. A unique reference work, it will be useful for scholars, pastors, students, and any Christian wanting to better understand the most relevant issues and ideas at the intersection of Christian faith and science.

Read more about it here.

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4 Replies to “Zondervan Academic’s “Dictionary of Christianity and Science””

  1. Religious beliefs seem to branch out opinion-wise, leaving one with quite a mixed bag of claims, while science appears to continue to slowly acquire and concentrate more knowledge about the cosmos, broadening our sight and knowledge of the very small, very big, even of cognitive function (including cognitive biases) things we had not seen nor known as clearly in the past. Science has found ways to grow and preserve more food, fight disease, provide energy, warn against coming storms and earthquakes, transmit its knowledge across continents and through space via electrical and radio waves, and ignited tremendous interest in continuing to study (and aid) the world scientifically rather than via prayers, crystals, personal and written holy revelations.

    That doesn’t mean science should become a new religion, but it does help explain the attraction of science to people interested in the world and how it works, including the internal mental world of human being, i.e., compared with the continuing schisms and disagreements that have branched and spread out over time after the founding of each religion.

    And what about Christianity having to accommodate some of its revelation to things that science has revealed? The vast ages of the earth and of humanity, the shared ancestry of humans with the animal kingdom, and the debate still in progress among Christians concerning whether there ever was a “first couple,” a literal “Adam and Eve?” Catholic doctrine still posits that one must believe in a first couple, as do many Evangelicals, but the science of genomics has increasingly challenged the idea that a literal first couple existed and instead argues that a population of humans evolved together. Moreover, what about the idea of a “fall?”

    “It is a difficult task fitting evolutionary ideas into the Christian framework, beginning with Paul’s exposition in Romans 5:12 that ‘Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned’… And what about Paul’s thoughts on the direct connection of sin with one man and redemption with another in Romans 5:18, ‘Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.’ Was the trespass that Paul mentions perpetrated by some particularly evil Homo habilus or an especially cunning Homo erectus? The common modern explanation is that Genesis 1-3 is to be interpreted metaphorically. If that is so, why does God require a bloody, horrific, non-metaphorical sacrifice of his Son? This is the difficult task of reconciling evolutionary thought and Christianity… One also has to wonder what it means to live in a ‘fallen’ world where no such fall has occurred [where death, predation, aggression, have always been, long before any species vaguely resembling an ‘Adam’ ever evolved]. So without an historically ‘good’ creation ‘in the beginning,’ and without an historical Adam and Eve or historical fall, the problem of natural evil becomes one of even more stark contrast. The answer to suffering parishoners that we ‘live in a fallen world’ makes less sense if every living thing was cursed with death–and over 90% of every ancient species was cursed with extinction–long before human beings even showed up in this less than Edenic cosmos.”
    — Terry W. Ward in a letter published in Christian Century, April 22, 2008 [with edits]

    “Did a separate group of hominids reach a certain point at which their brains could handle a ‘soul?’ And where was the cutoff point? Can you imagine the heartbreak of knowing your mom and dad aren’t endowed with the image of God? Try this on for size: ‘Grandma and grandpa aren’t going to heaven — not because they sinned, but because they were animals.’”
    –Tim Widowfield, Strange Bedfellows — Evolution and Christianity http://vridar.org/2013/02/15/s

    “So long as people believed, as St. Paul himself did, in one week of creation and a past of 4,000 years – so long as people thought the stars were satellites of the earth and that animals were there to serve man – there was no difficulty in believing that a single man could have ruined everything, and that another man had saved everything.”
    — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution [Pope Pius XII in the 1950s called the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin “a cesspool of errors”: Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII, August 12, 1950, http://www.vatican.va]

    If this history of death and suffering is intrinsic, if more feature than bug, if scarcity has always been the rule, if there really was no magical time of pure shalom in our past from which we “fell” (or what IS the “fall”?)… Or more specifically, what does it mean for our characterization of death and suffering if they (1) aren’t the result of a primordial failure of vocation and (2)wouldn’t have been eliminated by a fulfillment of vocation by ‘Adam’?
    — Mike H at Scott McKnight’s blog

    See also https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/07/how-and-why-did-scientific-revolution.html

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