Weekly Reflections

Science and Christianity – a starter reading guide

Science and Christianity – a starter reading guide

The debate about science and Christianity is broad, confusing, heated and often unnecessary. Creation Science seems to take the main position in the debate, but there are other views that may be more helpful.  Here are some books that I have found helpful:

The Language of God by Francis Collins (Free Press, 2006. ISBN 9781416542742).

Francis Collins was head of the Human Genome Project from 1993 to 2008, a leading expert in DNA research. He describes his movement from agnosticism to atheism to Christian faith (prompted by a dying patient’s question about what he believed). He outlines some fascinating aspects of DNA research, but the main thrust of the book is to outline four options for explaining the relations between science and faith: “Science trumps faith (atheism)”; “Faith trumps science (Creationism)”; “Science needs divine help (Intelligent design)”; Science and faith in harmony (what he calls BioLogos)”.  A terrific book. Very readable. A review is here.

Dawkins’ God: Genes, memes and the meaning of life by Alistair McGrath (Blackwell, 2005 ISBN 1405125381).

McGrath has a doctorate from Oxford University in molecular biophysics as well as a doctorate in theology. He has many books on the subject of science, faith and natural theology. This book takes issue with Dawkins’ main ideas (before he became a more strident atheist). This debate is part philosophical and part scientific. A very good critique of the general Dawkins approach to the faith versus science debate. A review is here.

Two books on other aspects of the debate may be of interest:


Psychology as Religion: the cult of self-worship. By Paul Vitz (Eerdmans 1994. ISBN 9780802807250).

Responsible Dominion: a Christian approach to sustainable development by Ian Hore-Lacy (Regent, 2006. ISBN 1573833428). Includes discussion of the nuclear energy choice.  A review is here.

Two very readable books on the Genesis side of the debate are:

Salvation Begins: reading Genesis today by Andrew Reid (Aquila, 2000. ISBN 1875861831).  Andrew Reid is a former rector of Shenton Park and currently lecturer at Ridley College Melbourne.  This is an excellent introduction to Genesis that places the text in its contexts and relates it to some of the science debate. Very helpful.

In the Beginning: The opening chapters of Genesis by Henri Blocher (Apollos, 1984. ISBN 9780851113210).  This is a thorough study of the first few chapters of Genesis which interacts with the scientific  debate about origins. Like Collins he distinguishes different Christian approaches (what he calls anti-scientism, fideism and concordism).  If you want a thorough discussion of the Genesis text – here is an excellent starting point.