Bible and Science Class Educational Resources
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2/3/2012 at 9:14:55 PM GMT
Posts: 1
Bible and Science Class Educational Resources
I am trying to put together a course, "The Bible and Science," for undergraduate students at a secular university and am seeking guidance in terms of syllabi and textbooks from others who have put together such courses.  

I would like to introduce my students to three areas:   
  • A historical overview of the interaction/relationship between the Bible/theology and science, including: how a biblical worldview contributed to scientific development in the West, how several scientists were people of faith who thought theologically, and how there has been a "dialogue" of biblical interpretation influencing science and science influencing biblical interpretation.   
  • An introduction to biblical hermeneutics which would include looking at key biblical passages and how the Bible-science dialogue influences their interpretation.   
  • An introduction to specific issues raised by contemporary science.
Suggestions and leads would be appreciated!

2/7/2012 at 10:43:43 AM GMT
Posts: 21
Bible and Science Class Educational Resources
I would suggest e-mailing Ted Davis ( I'm sure he checks these forums, but I don't know how often. He is a historian of science and has written quite a bit on relevant topics. 

For a somewhat speculative topic, which might be of interest because it may have been the first interaction of science and Christian theology, I have seen hints in quotes from some of the Christian fathers that there was some disagreement about whether to accept the Greek scientific result that the earth is a sphere, given that the Old Testament perspective seems to be a flat earth with a solid firmament. The Wikipedia article on Flat Earth is where I encountered some of this. I suspect that the famous Augustine quote from his book about Genesis admonishing that Christians not show themselves ignorant of technical matters lest their listeners assume that their theology was bogus too was actually a response to this controversy, but I don't know of any scholarly treatment of this.

2/15/2012 at 1:35:37 AM GMT
Posts: 2
A Modern Flat Earth Perspective
A Modern Flat Earth Perspective

Google "ekpyrotic universe".  Note that the brane we are in is three-dimensionally flat.  Note that it is separated from the other universe brane by a fourth spatial dimension, very thin and flat, indeed.  Now realize that the ancients did not have a concept of earth as a planet.  When it was discovered that indeed the planet we are on is spherical, the name "earth" was applied to it.  However, who is to say that "earth" should not rather refer to our universe brane in which case it is, indeed, flat!  And what is more impermeable to us than a fourth spatial dimension?  (Of quantum particles, apparently only gravitons, which are string rings without free ends, can pass through this 4th dimension.  Hence the detection of dark matter, (from the sister universe?) is only by its gravitational force.)  The 4th dimension separating the two universe branes, then, would be the firmament and the plasmas of the two post collision-phase universe branes would be the "waters" referred to in Genesis 1.  This perspective gives some rather astounding insights into the creation account.  Read about them in my upcoming book: Why the Universe Bothers to Exist, Theistic Determinism, Evidences and Implications.  As soon as I finish the last chapter which is on heaven (in the brane opposing ours?)  the manuscript will be submitted for publication.  Hopefully, this will take place this year. 

If any of this interests you, the reader, perhaps you would be willing to help me out with ideas on the nature of heaven.  Let me know <> and perhaps we can have  dialogue .  (e.g. How can one account for entropy in heaven?  Do angels need to eat? If so, do they have complete digestive tracts so that sewage systems are needed in the heavenly dwellings? Why are heavenly dwellings even needed if the environment is so perfectly suited to the comfort of heavenly beings, or is it?   And many more.)  Also, if any of you know of any space probe results on the nature of the microwave background radiation that disqualify the ekpyrotic model, I would like to hear of them.  My perspective would certainly come into question.

David V. McCorkle, Professor of Biology, Emeritus, Western Oregon University

3/14/2012 at 3:06:44 AM GMT
Posts: 24
I would recommend the work of Nancy Frankenberry, particularly The faith of scientists in their own words. She is often described as a religion scholar, but I see her more as a historian who carefully examines primary sources and asks good questions in historical context.  She isn't a Christian as far as I know, but she seems to understand the importance of Christianity in the lives of the great scientists.  I would certainly include her works if I were to build such a course.

Last edited Wednesday, March 14, 2012
3/15/2012 at 3:39:31 PM GMT
Posts: 7
Bible and science class online
Let me say that in a short while (in the next two weeks) I will be teaching an online course on "science and the Bible," at the web site. Tentatively it will start on March 27, with regular columns every one to two weeks for several months. I invite ASA members to join in the conversation. Hint: you'll get more out of the experience if you do the homework. There will be some assigned readings.  :-)

6/18/2012 at 7:17:57 PM GMT
Posts: 4

Sorry to be too late to do you much good, but I just discovered this Forum. Congratulations to you and to the institution where you will offer the course, for such an opportunity to influence the public discourse.

I have a suggestion for a paperback book that might be useful for at least a segment of your course. It is Darwin and the Bible; The Cultural Confrontation, edited by Richard H. Robbins and Mark Nathan Cohen, in the Penguin Academic series of Pearson Education, Inc., published in 2009. The two editors are anthropology professors at the State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh.

After a good Introduction by editor Robbins, the book is divided into three parts: 1) Attempting to resolve the debate; 2) Historical markers and the global impact of the debate; and 3) Evolution, religion, and the classroom. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a chapter on "Creation Matters" in the first part, between an excerpt from Stephen Jay Gould and an argument for theistic evolution from Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters. Contributions come from as wide a range as Ernst Mayr and Phillip Johnson. Historian Ed Larson has two chapters, one an excerpt from his Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (Modern Library, 2004). Editor Cohen provides "Conclusions" at the end. All in all, I found the book to be as open and fair-minded as a secular book could be. It is addressed primarily to undergraduates.

(How I came to write a chapter on creation, and how the book came to be dedicated to the memory of my son, well, that's another story, or two.)

6/18/2012 at 9:36:15 PM GMT
Posts: 60
I recommend Pierre Duhem’s To save the phenomena, an essay on the idea of physical theory from Plato to Galileo

According to Duhem, modern science began when the Bishop of Paris wrote a letter condemning 219 heresies based on the science of Aristotle. The source of these heresies was the Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd (1126–1198), known in the West as Averroes. The letter is called the Condemnation of 1277:

We excommunicate all those who shall have taught the said errors or any one of them, or shall have dared in any way to defend or uphold them, or even to listen to them, unless they choose to reveal themselves to us or to the chancery of Paris within seven days; in addition to which we shall proceed against them by inflicting such other penalties as the law requires according to the nature of the offense.…

25. That God has infinite power, not because He makes something out of nothing, but because He maintains infinite motion.…

66. That God could not move the heaven in a straight line, the reason being that He would then leave a vacuum.…

Heresy No. 25 is a single attack and Heresy No. 66 is a double attack on God’s omnipotence. The Bishop of Paris and his advisers from the faculty of theology at the University of Paris knew that vacuums did not exist in nature. However, they could see no reason why vacuums could not exist. They assumed that God thought the same way they did, and concluded that vacuums were possible. They also reasoned that God could move heaven, just as He could move everyone to believe in Him, if He wanted.

According to Duhem, this is why modern science developed in the west, not China, India and other countries of the east, even though in the middle ages the east was just as advanced technologically. Modern science emphasizes intelligence and reason, as well as observations. 

That a personal God created the universe promotes the belief that the universe is intelligible, which is the foundation of the scientific attitude.  This attitude is lacking in the east, but was not lacking in Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton who spent decades of their lives trying to understand the universe.

David Roemer

11/21/2013 at 12:43:13 AM GMT
Posts: 3

It is probably too late for you to consider but I'd like to suggest

 Christopher Kaiser's Creational Theology and the History of Physical Science: The Creationist Tradition from Basis to Bohr Brill, 1997.

Note that the term "Creational" and "Creationist" do not refer to the young or old earth creationists in the contemporary USA. Rather, it indicates how the doctrine of creation impacted science's development.   A potential limitation is that it only deals with the physical sciences so you may need to supplement it with additional readings.


If you are envisioning more of a Science and Religion course you might consider Alister McGrath's excellent Science and Religion: A New Introduction Wiley, 2010.  The book is well organized and very clear but it can sometimes be difficult to tell exactly how McGrath's ideas fit together.  However, if you read his A Fine-Tuned Universe before teaching the class the connections will be very clear and you can point them out to your students.  A potential weakness is that the book is an introduction so he doesn't go into too much depth on any one topic.  You might also want to consider Southgate's God, Humanity, and the Cosmos, 3rd ed.   While this book is excellent it can be a bit challenging for introductory students.  It also might not be suitable for use at your university since it is rather theology-heavy and written almost exclusively from a Christian viewpoint.

 Anyway, I hope these suggestions help.