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The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions Hardcover – March 15, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"After all the shouting in this science/religion conflict, I appreciated the calm, respectful tone that characterizes The Language of Science and Faith." (LeRoy Lawson, Christian Standard, September 2012)

"We need more models like this that show us how to interact with the issues so that we will not continue to hypocritically take advantage of the advances of science while rejecting its foundational theories. Collins and Giberson are humble and gentle guides in this regard." (Amos Yong, The Pneuma Review, Summer 2012)

"In this informative and accessible book, [Giberson and Collins] answer many questions about evolution and its relation to Christian faith." (The Christian Century, May 2, 2012)

"This book should convince those sitting on or near the fence on questions of evolution and Christian belief. In this context, I heartily recommend The Language of Science and Faith." (Thomas Jay Oord, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, 40(4))

"This book will illuminate an under-exposed mind to methods of science oftentimes demonized. If nothing else, The Language of Science and Faith makes a great read and an excellence source of insight into a side of the creation-evolution debate not typically explored by evangelicals." (Cody Hamilton Nygard, The Baptist Standard, August 15, 2011)

"The authors disentangle the false conclusions of Christians and atheists alike about science and evolution from the actual results of research in astronomy, physics, geology and genetics. In its place they find a story of the grandeur and beauty of a world made by a supremely creative God." (Christian News, March 21, 2011)

"For too long, followers of Jesus have been told they have to make a choice―between science and Christianity, reason and belief, their intellectual integrity and their faith. The Language of Science and Faith is a readable and comprehensive resource for the thoughtful Christian who refuses to choose. Giberson and Collins tackle difficult topics with charity, accessibility and integrity, moving the origins conversation forward in a way that honors God and builds up the church. This is a must-read for those who want to love the Lord with their heart, soul, mind and strength." (Rachel Held Evans, author of Evolving in Monkey Town)

"Collins and Giberson add a learned and engaging voice to the continuing struggle between Christian faith and scientific knowledge. The authors are central figures in advancing a true conversation between an ancient faith and modern ways of knowing, and it is hard to match their experience in dealing with the central questions covered in this volume. The Language of Science and Faith is an accessible distillation of their wisdom and I recommend it with great enthusiasm." (Peter Enns, Senior Fellow in Biblical Studies, The BioLogos Foundation)

"The theory of evolution raises important questions for Christians of all sorts, but this book is the best I've found to address the concerns of American evangelicals. It is written in clear enough language to be accessible to students at a variety of levels, yet sophisticated enough to be of interest to professionals in both science and theology. It is at once intelligent and inspiring." (Nancey Murphy, professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"Concise. Clear. Convincing. The Language of Science and Faith provides a straightforward means whereby the two sides of this contentious issue can get themselves on the same page. I recommend it as a resource for individuals and groups who want to believe that God speaks through both Scripture and nature." (Daniel M. Harrell, Ph.D., senior minister, Colonial Church, Edina, Minn., and author of Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith)

"This book is destined to become a classic for those who, with an open mind, are willing to seriously wrestle with questions about the relationship of modern science with Christian faith. It is not for the faint of heart but is a treasure trove for those willing to dig deep into this critical subject." (Dr. Tim Johnson, senior medical contributor for ABC News and author of Finding God in the Questions)

"Two challenging languages, one old and wise, one modern and awesome. Two very different accounts of human origins. Can the book of Scripture and the book of nature both be true in the age of science? We need sympathetic and enlightening interpreters. Happily Giberson and Collins here offer a guide to the perplexed that is reverent, relevant and very well-informed." (Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, author of God's Universe)

"As a pastor, I am constantly searching for resources that will guide people to the fullness of God. I care that my congregation be attracted toward God's artistry, moved by his majesty and intellectually challenged by his sovereignty. This book is at the top of my recommendations both as an evaluation of theories of creation and as a devotional that prompts us to revere the Creator." (Joel C. Hunter, Northland Church, Longwood, Florida)

About the Author

Karl Giberson (PhD, physics) is an internationally known scholar, speaker and writer. He has written or coauthored nine books and lectured on science and religion at the Vatican, Oxford University, London´s Thomas Moore Institute and many prestigious American venues including MIT, The Harvard Club and Xavier University. Dr. Giberson has published more than two hundred reviews and essays, both technical and popular, in outlets that include the New York Times, CNN.com, The Guardian, USA Today, LA Times and Salon.com. He is a regular contributor to the public dialogue on science and faith, and has appeared as a guest on NPR´s Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation as well as other radio programs. He blogs at The Huffington Post where his articles have generated thousands of comments and are frequently featured. From 1984 to 2011, Dr. Giberson was a professor at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) where he received numerous recognitions and awards. From 2007 to 2010 he headed the Forum on Faith and Science at Gordon College. For three years, ending in 2009, he was the program director for the prestigious Venice Summer School on Science & Religion. Dr. Giberson now teaches writing and science and religion in the Cornerstone Program at Stonehill College.

Francis S. Collins (M.D., Ph.D.) is a world-renowned physician-geneticist known for his discovery of the causes of many human genetic diseases.  He is also known for spearheading the Human Genome Project, which produced the first complete sequence of human DNA in 2003. In 2006, he published The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, which spent fourteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2007, he founded The BioLogos Foundation to respond to the many queries he receives about science and faith. Since August 2009, he has served as the director of the National Institutes of Health. His most recent books, all authored prior to his current government position, include The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine and Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 251 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780830838295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838295
  • ASIN: 0830838295
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book is written for "Christian readers who would like to have a position[on creation and evolution] that is both biblically based and scientifically sound." The broadest and most general question the authors are addressing is "how to understand evolution as the way that God created life." The authors strongly refute the notions that "many scientists are rejecting evolution" and "a large number of scientists have publically repudiated evolution," stating that "these claims are simply false. They also strongly refute the "scientific" arguments for a young earth, the "appearance of age," and changes in the speed of light as explanations for a young earth. The authors propose that the question of whether the uncontroversial fact of microevolution provides evidence for the complex and controversial claims of macroevolution is at the heart of the entire controversy over evolution.

Chapters 1-8 are each organized around groups of questions, covering a total of 71 questions. In their discussion of relating science and religion (Chapter 3), they discuss Stephen Jay Gould's non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA), how Galileo removed a misunderstanding about what the Bible was teaching, and present a helpful lesson on relevant aspects of biblical hermeneutics. Chapter 5 (Science and the Existence of God) is probably the weakest chapter, in which the authors (a physicist and a geneticist) attempt to discuss philosophical issues like relating evolution to the problem of evil and the existence of God. Chapter 8 (Evolution and Human Beings) contains possibly the best summary discussion I have yet seen on Simon Conway Morris' concept of convergence in evolution, which the authors propose as one way of looking at how God might have guided evolution.
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Format: Hardcover
In 2006, Francis Collins rolled a snowball called The Language of God and tossed it down a hill. It picked up steam, it grew, and it is now an avalanche fast approaching both the scientific and Christian landscape. From the book grew the BioLogos Foundation. Then an appointment of Collins to Director of the Nation Institutes of Health. And finally, BioLogos birthed a second book, The Language of Science and Faith, which was gathered and written by Karl Giberson.

At the risk of being too simplistic, Francis Collins and BioLogos represent the most visible apologists of theistic evolution. While The Language of God was their defense to the naturalistic and atheistic camps, The Language of Science and Faith is their entreaty to the Christian and theistic circles. I honestly don't know which is the more difficult task.

There is much here that I applaud. I believe that all truth is God's truth, and science is one of the ways that we discover truth about our universe. Thus anything that science proves to be true, we should celebrate as part of God's good creation. The chapter on the age of the earth was fascinating and awe-inspiring, and even more so the chapter entitled "What Is the Fine-Tuning of the Universe, and How Does It Serve as a Pointer to God?"

However, there is also much here that I question. The authors seem dismissive of Intelligent Design, brushing it off as a mere creationism in disguise. They state (without citing sources) that a majority of evangelicals still hold to young earth creationism and verge on condescension in the process. They suggest that evolution offers a better explanation to the "evil" we see in nature (wasps planting their eggs inside a live caterpillar which serves as food when the eggs hatch, etc.
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In this book, the authors, Francis S. Collins and Karl W. Giberson, lay the foundation for Biologos and the scientific worldview based in Scripture while remaining well within the scientific community. This book is, at times, a little professorial, but for the most part, it is an easy read for either the lay-scientist or the lay-theologian. Frankly, it is one which should be examined as a middle ground in the current `war' between science and a faith of a few, which is built upon an extremely literal reading (usually of a translation) of Genesis 1.

They begin chapter one by discussing the views (often erroneous) of Darwin. This view of Darwin and Darwinism is something which they must change, mainly due to our normal appetites of taking in only what is spoon fed to us, regardless of historical accuracy. Their goal in the introduction is not to make Darwin likable, but to explain first and foremost that the terminology most often applied, Darwinism, is outdated at best, and a purposed distortion at worst. Indeed, both YEC and Evolutionists use Darwin and it's cognates to describe what is best seen as evolution. What is interesting is the way in which evolution has changed since Darwin. While Chick (Jack T.) would have us believe that Darwin is not only the basis, but the sole source of evolutionary thought, the authors are able to briefly, and with lay terminology, show how science has advanced far past Darwin, evolving you might say, to where we are today. So much so, that to continue to label evolution as Darwinism is patently false. Part of this advancement is due to Christian scientists, such as Mendel, who have furthered science while holding on to their faith in God.
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