Wheaton College professors have penned what is believed to be the first college-level textbook outlining mainstream scientific theories on origins of life and how they fit within a biblical framework, something they say has been lacking in Christian higher education for decades.
Based on over two decades of teaching origins at the historic Illinois evangelical higher education institution, the textbook, Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins, released last December, addresses many topics such as cosmic origins (Big Bang Theory), the geologic history of the Earth, the origin of life and diversity of life on Earth (evolution), the Genesis Flood, and Adam and Eve.
While highlighting various mainstream scientific theories and providing a biblical perspective, the book also takes a critical look at theories like Young Earth Creation. It examines the principles of biblical interpretation and features close readings of relevant Genesis texts.
“We did feel that it’s a unique product compared to all the other kinds of textbooks that are out there,” said co-author John Walton, an Old Testament professor who also authored The Lost World series.
“It’s a Christian textbook that presents mainline science as legitimate science. Lots of times, Christian books are more or less using mainline science as a foil or as the enemy. Of course, we don’t do that. We present the mainline science. At the same time, we present the limits of science in some of the ways that philosophy of science needs to understand.”
The book was published by InterVarsity Press and funded by the BioLogos Foundation. Its release comes as many in today’s secular culture think that scientific discoveries and Christian teachings must come into conflict. But the new book seeks to “diffuse tensions” by detailing how the sciences of origins fit into the story of “God’s creative and redemptive action.”
Chapters in the book were also authored by Professor of Philosophy and History of Science Robert Bishop, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Larry Funck, Biology Professor Raymond Lewis, and Geology Professor Stephen Mosier.
All of those men join in on teaching Wheaton’s 300-level general education elective course “Theories of Origins,” which has been taught there since the mid-1990s when a few different courses were merged together.
But until now, the professors have not had a textbook to teach the class. They have had to rely on various readings and books that dealt with faith and science issues but they were still lacking a good science text.
Moshier, Walton and Funck presented the book on Thursday during the BioLogos Conference that was attended by other scholars, professors, pastors and professors.
The BioLogos Foundation is an advocacy organization that promotes Evolutionary Creationism and was founded by National Institute of Health Director and evangelical geneticist Francis Collins to highlight the harmony between science and biblical faith. The conference’s theme was “Beyond Conflict.”
“It is not just a science textbook but it also talks about the philosophy and the limits of science,” Walton said at the conference.
“It’s a book that is intended to be integrative in a number of different ways. Each of the chapters of the different sciences is integrative as they talk about their science. But we also have integrative chapters to deal with things like Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and the Genesis flood account. So we have biblical, theological chapters that are in there working the information that has been presented.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith