Science and Christianity
For most people, the topic "science and Christianity" means we're debating whether Genesis 1 or science is true. But did you know that there are plenty of scientists who are Christians who see this topic as pointing to so many other things? In fact, over the last few centuries, many Christians have seen their work in exploring the creation as a noble calling done "for the glory of God and the benefit of mankind" .
Over the past year, I have been co-organizing the program for a conference which explores this topic further: What motivates us as Christians to be involved in science? In less than two months (August 1-4), it all comes together in Newberg, Oregon, on the campus of George Fox University. The 2008 annual joint conference of the ASA and CSCA (ASA = American Scientific Affiliation; CSCA = Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation) has as its theme "The Heart of Science: Do Right, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly" (taken from Micah 6:8), in which we explore "Doing and using science, domestically and abroad, in service to God, God's world, and our human sisters and brothers". We have six plenary speakers in the fields of anthropology, ecology, astronomy, agricultural missions, engineering, and bioethics from places like Cornell, NASA, National Wildlife Federation, and Wycliffe Bible Translators. And there are about 50 contributed talks arranged into parallel sessions on world hunger, global warming, human gender, world health, alternative energy, ethics. TWU faculty in biology and psychology are among the speakers. Registration is still open: head over to the conference website for details.
At Trinity Western, I use my interest and experience in science & Christianity not only in teaching all of my courses from a Christian perspective, but especially in a capstone integrative course for all science majors called "Natural Science and Christian Worldview" (NATS 487/490). In this course, I have the pleasure of establishing some foundational principles with the class and then working closely with students in biology, math, computing science, chemistry, and physics as they develop a significant paper and presentation on a topic of their choice in which the interplay between Christian faith and their scientific pursuits are explored. Students have studied issues like E-mail spam, mental illness, genetic determinism, the big bang, stem cell research, world hunger, plastic surgery. In these and other topics, the world (including the church) needs solid Christian-worldview leadership! And at TWU, we help students as they develop the ideas and skills to do their part.
1. Consider, for example, the article reviewing the history of the science of the earth's magnetic field: Deborah Warner, "Terrestrial Magnetism: For the Glory of God and the Benefit of Mankind", Osiris v. 9 (1994), pp. 67-84.