The Language of Science and Faith

If I could recommend on book on the subject of contemporary understandings of science and how those gel with Christian understandings of the universe it would be The Language of Science and Faith by Karl Giberson and Francis Collins.

It is straight forward, easy to understand and does a great job of covering the span of scientific understandings that have  led up to this point in our understanding of how the universe works.   The book addresses a number of concerns evangelicals have when thinking about this topic and the last chapter alone which gives a flowing  narrative of the creation of the universe is worth the price of the book.  I had been trying to cobble something together like this on my own and I am glad to say this work has done the job for me and confirmed many of my own conclusions on the subject.  I hope others can find it helpful also.

Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church

The Barna Group – Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church.

The above article is based on recent research in the changing landscape of young adults and faith.  Over the past decade I have seen a lot of this going on and have tried to address some of these issues in my blog.  The research reinforces in my mind the need to present a more robust articulation of our faith tradition that handles the many challenges of an increasingly pluralistic and technologically advanced culture.

“Randomness” in Discussions About Evolution

This short vignette from the BioLogos Foundation is a very helpful discussion about what is meant when we use the term “random” in relation to evolution.   Often times this term can be misused in a pejorative sense in discussions surrounding science and faith.  This video helpfully clarifies what is random and what is not in the evolutionary process.

The Strangeness of the Gospel

A friend of mine, Clint Wilson, shared an excerpt from Michael F. Bird’s college textbook Introducing Paul  a while ago and I thought it was very profound.  It concerns the strangeness of Paul’s claims to first-century hearers. We would all do well to remember how unusual the claims concerning Christ are. It is easy for us this side of 2000 years of Christian history to see the Christian claims as “old hat.” Bird writes:

Imagine you are walking through your local university or college and hear in the quad an elderly man from South America telling people loudly about God’s love and salvation. He announces the ‘good news’ of Carlos Hernandez. He recounts how Carlos was a Peruvian peasant attested by man mighty deeds of power and miracles and who proclaimed the end of the world. But the chief men in the city of Lima feared his popularity with the peasant class, falsely accused him of being an Al-Qaeda terrorist and had him killed by electrocution. But a week later, this Carlos was raised from the dead and was seen by several American tourists. Then the man declares that ‘this Carlos was electrocuted for your sins and salvation is found through faith in him’. And then, to make matters worse he starts singing:

Carlos was there on that horrible chair

They tied him down with bolts and then zapped him with 40,000 volts

It was for you our saviour fried and died

Despite the fact that his chair caught on fire, this one is God’s true Messiah

The wisdom of the world has been refuted because Carlos was electrocuted

He is my saviour and my lamp, because he absorbed every deadly amp

Now I know that God does care, ’cause he sent Carlos Hernandez to the electric chair.

I like the way this short excerpt gets us to reorient our thinking about the Gospel.  It has never been some commonplace event, a blip on the radar of human history.  It was something profoundly strange and unheard of….God becoming man and dying on a cross?  What kind of God is that?  And yet that is exactly what we proclaim.  The death and resurrection of Jesus invokes two seeming absurdities:  the infinite entering a finite world and the suffering of a deity.  This is the message that Christians proclaim unabashedly.  An incomprehensible movement of God that sends many rational minds recoiling in horror.  Yet, it is not without rationale.  It is a statement about the brokeness of people living in an absurd world, a mad world as one songwriter poignantly puts it.  The absurdity of evil demands an equally absurd reality: a suffering God.   A profound and indescribable truth bound up in human frailty; hanging on a Roman execution device the likes of which only a sociopath could conceive.  In this event, the sins of the world collide with the God of love and they don’t stand a chance.  The infinite God bears our pain in Himself.  A beautiful truth, embodied in Jesus, in whom we place our hope.  As the great Athanasius puts it, He was made man, that we might be made God.  Food for thought as we anticipate Good Friday, commemorating Jesus’ death on the cross.