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Science and Faith: Friends or Foes? Paperback – October 15, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Collins maps the entire interface between faithful biblical interpretation and questions of all sorts posed in the name of the sciences. Interesting, fair-minded, shrewd, and clear from start to finish, this will prove outstanding as a pastoral resource."
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

"There is something here for just about everyone. Science and Faith is required reading for all who are interested in the relationship between science and the Christian faith."
J. P. MorelandDistinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University; author, The Soul: How We Know It’s Real and Why It Matters

"This is a highly significant book on possibly the most important subject confronting the church today-the neutrality of science. A delightful style makes it easily accessible yet the author never neglects important issues. It is the best book of its kind for decades."
Ranald Macaulay, Speaker, L'Abri Fellowship; Coordinator, Christian Heritage, Cambridge

"Jack Collins is my kind of guy-a fellow MIT nerd. But he is much more: a brilliant scholar of biblical languages and a keen observer of the interaction between science and the Christian faith. This is a wonderful book, and I recommend it most strongly."
Henry F. Schaefer III, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry, University of Georgia

About the Author

C. John Collins (PhD, University of Liverpool) is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis, Missouri. With degrees from MIT and Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, he pursues such research interests as Hebrew and Greek grammar, science and faith, and biblical theology. He is the author of The God of MiraclesDid Adam and Eve Really Exist?, and Science and Faith.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (October 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581344309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581344301
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Dr. Collins has his undergraduate and first graduate degree from MIT, and his Ph.D. is from the university of Liverpool. Professor Collins produced an excellent balanced book on Intelligent Design (ID), which unlike most books in this area he looks at both the science of ID and the implications of this field for theology. Chapter 20 "Cultural Wars and Warriors" is an excellent refutation of the foolish claims of Eugene Scott and her organization. Collins shows why ID is critical for theology and why Fundamentalist Darwinism is lethal for theism. In chapter 17 he answers some common objections to ID, and shows why professional science organizations, such as the National Association of Biology Teachers (of which I am a member, even though I teach biology at the college level), are so hostile to this world view. As a scientist, the most useful part of the book was from page 217 to the end. The first part covered theology which I did read very carefully, due to lack of interest and knowledge in this area. The 2nd half was well worth the price of the book and highly recommended.
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Many Christians worry that science undermines the Christian faith. Instead of fearing scientific discovery, Jack Collins believes that people of faith should study the natural world.

Collins first explains that science is controversially defined, but that it is best viewed as "a discipline in which one studies features of the world around us, and tries to describe his observations systematically and critically." (pg. 34) In his definition of faith, Collins lauds a statement by C. S. Lewis who said, "Faith ... is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes." (Quoting C.S. Lewis, pg. 38)

Finally he shows their relations and explains what each has concerning truth.

Collins also delves into the public debate, teaching his readers how to think critically about Darwinist arguments. In a chapter entitled, "Culture Wars and Warriors," he critiques the arguments of Darwinists such as Barry Lynn and Eugenie Scott. Lynn, he observes, aims to "mold your emotional reaction" to design proponents by comparing them to "fundamentalists" and proponents of "astrology." Lynn's misrepresentations draw attention to the need for "education that fosters sound critical thinking and keen awareness of rhetoric." (pg. 335) Next Collins scrutinizes the arguments of Eugenie Scott:

"First, she wants you to think that she speaks on behalf of science and scientists--you can see that from how she uses "we." Second, she wants you to think that your religious values--"whodunit" and "ultimate causes"--are safe with her version of science. And third, she uses a harmless definition of evolution that almost no one can be bothered about." (pg.
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This is a jewel of a book--carefully argued, insightful, and well informed in natural science, theology, and Biblical exegesis. While it has many assets for anyone interested in the dialogue between science and Christianity, what stands out in my mind is its treatment of the relevant Biblical texts. Collins' knowledge of the nuances of Hebrew is staggering. I find his treatment of the ever-controversial "days" of Genesis 1 to be especially satisfying. I suspect that his arguments will be widely considered, and highly regarded, in coming years.
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As an Old Testament scholar and professor at Covenant Theological Seminary, and as a scientist educated at M.I.T., Collins is able to combine his areas of expertise and present a case for an interpretation of the Bible and its doctrines that is at once faithful both to the Hebrew original, including the doctrinal setting of the OT, and to the latest discoveries of modern mainline science. Collins does this by favoring the "analogical day" view of Genesis 1.

In addition to the time of creation controversy, Collins deals with other issues where science and theology intersect. He favors a "realist" philosophy, according to which we are able to observe the actual universe, and are able to make true inductions from what we observe. He provides an excellent treatment of the doctrine of humanity, including an extensive discussion of the relation of the soul to the body, the mind and the spirit to the brain, and related topics. He discusses the effects of our fall into sin to the "curse" on the earth, and relates it to the promised new heavens and new earth. Collins also offers help in relating Christian theology to the questions of God's providence in the world, to methods of apologetics, and to our relation to the environment. His discussion of the Intelligent Design movement is up-to-date and sensible.

Especially helpful are the extensive notes, unfortunately placed at the end of the book. These notes provide documentation, and interesting expansions of the discussion in the text. Particularly interesting is the full text of the letter by the linguist James Barr, a letter often quoted by recent creationists; this letter does not support the idea of a recent creation in the Bible to the extent touted by recent creationists.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in studying the relationship of modern science to the Bible and the Christian faith.
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