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Science & Faith: Friends or Foes?

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Many believers worry that science undermines the Christian faith. Instead of fearing scientific discovery, Jack Collins believes that Christians should delight in the natural world and study it. God's truth will stand against any challenge and will enrich the very scientific studies that we fear.

Collins first defines faith and science, shows their relation, and explains what claims each has concerning truth. Then he applies the biblical teaching on creation to the topics of -conflict- between faith and science, including the age of the earth, evolution, and miracles. He considers what it means to live in a created world. This book is for anyone looking for a Christian engagement with science without technical jargon.

448 pages, Paperback

First published October 15, 2003

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About the author

C. John Collins

28 books29 followers
C. JOHN COLLINS (PhD, University of Liverpool) is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis. 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 Miracles.

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5 stars
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48 (40%)
3 stars
18 (15%)
2 stars
6 (5%)
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3 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
549 reviews17 followers
July 30, 2014
I deeply enjoyed this book. Collins, who has a PhD in Hebrew Linguistics from the University of Liverpool and a Masters degree in Computer Science and Systems Engineering from MIT weaves his love of science and his love of Scripture together in a very approachable manner. Because of Collins’ skill as an Old Testament scholar, he is able to methodically and clearly break down each passage of Scripture with which he deals.

After finishing the book, I would argue that this is presuppositional apologetics done in reverse. At the end of the book (on page 340) Collins shows that he has actually been engaging in presuppositional apologetics all along… which is to say that he starts with God (and His Word) and He ends with God (and His Word).

Collins’ discussion of Genesis 1-2 is particularly helpful. He shows how the “ordinary day reading” (seven 24-hour days) is not a healthy and faithful literal reading of the text. Collins prefers to not call this interpretation the “literal day reading” because “literal” means interpreting a Biblical text as the author intended, therefore he uses the phrase “ordinary day reading”. To take the Bible literally is to see what the goal, context, intention, setting, language, etc. of a Biblical passage is addressing. Saying “Well, that’s the ‘literal’ interpretation of that passage” by simply pulling one verse out of the Bible out of context and saying, ‘”Look, that’s what it literally says!” is terrible hermeneutics (at best), and intentional unfaithfulness to God and His Word for the set purpose of a predetermined goal (at worst). Genesis 1 and 2 are two different accounts of the creation story, told back-to-back, with Genesis 2 filling out the details of the sixth day of Genesis 1. There is no refrain on Day 7 (Genesis 2:1-3), which is why Genesis, and the rest of Scripture, refers to the present time (today) as being the “Day” of God’s Sabbath Rest (see Hebrews 4). Day 7 was obviously not a 24-hour day, so why would the other days need to be 24-hour days? Collins points out that Genesis 1:1-2 is not a part of the first day; therefore, we do not have to take the “creation week” as the first “week” of the universe. It is Biblical, and for that matter “a literal reading” of the text, to say that the Bible does not bother with telling us the age of the universe. The Bible sets no upper limit on the age of the earth or the age of the universe. If the earth is 100’s of thousands of years old, or the universe is billions and trillions of years old, that’s fine. The fact that Adam would say “At last!” in Genesis 2:23 supports the view that the creation period is longer than an ordinary week. The analogous days in the creation story serve to show how God prepared the earth as the ideal place for humans to live, love, and serve.

Collins’ analysis of Darwinism and neo-Darwinism is particularly helpful; specifically regarding the difficulty that neo-Darwinism has in attempting to explain the origin of mankind.

By remaining faithful to Scripture, Collins is able to show that science and faith are by no means at odds with one another. This is, of course, not a quick read but it is a very worthwhile read.
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108 reviews21 followers
December 29, 2015
A great overview of issues related to faith, science, and everything in between. Collins is clearly making an effort to break big ideas down for a popular audience. While he states dislike for the way many philosophers tend to re-define words (I'm sure the philosophers would have a barbed rejoinder for this) he discusses philosophical topics with a clarity that I have not seen in any other work of this kind. He also draws from a variety of sources: Collins discusses the ideas of secular scientists, C.S. Lewis, J. Gresham Machen, G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Aquinas...and the list goes on. I also appreciated his ability to recognize where he is broaching the realm of specialists. While Collins enjoys science and has a graduate degree in engineering, he clearly understands that he is a theologian, not a scientist, and is careful to avoid making inaccurate claims. This is essentially a guidebook, so readers who want a more technical treatment of any of the topics he discusses should look elsewhere. As a guidebook, however, it is excellent.
Profile Image for Glenn Crouch.
465 reviews13 followers
December 15, 2013
The Author is a qualified Engineer and a qualified Theologian, thus means he knows about both fields, and you can see that in his approach. Rather then homing in on things that Science has gotten wrong, or make Christianity a slave to Science, we have strong views of both Science and Christianity - I like this as I have a Science Degree and am a Pastor :)

I would recommend this to Christians who want to know more about how Science fits in, as well as to sceptics of Christianity. The Author takes a very firm view on the reliability of the Bible, whilst also accepting an Old Earth. He argues well for an analogical approach to Genesis 1, has good arguments for Intelligent Design, and good arguments against Neo-Darwinism.

Even if only a chapter or two are topics you want, then this book is well worth it.

I have enjoyed the other books this Author has written, and hope he plans on many more.
33 reviews
December 9, 2020
A friend from church recommended I read this book to better understand his (and the authors) understanding of the creation narrative in Genesis. Therefore I read that chapter, and the preceding chapters that built up his thinking.

Interesting read.
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194 reviews1 follower
February 28, 2022
Wow! This book is thought-provoking and takes you on quite a journey. The book covers philosophical issues, theological issues and how science and faith interact. This book will help anyone to work through issues of science and faith.
Profile Image for C.C. Strachan.
Author 5 books1 follower
May 25, 2020
Great book in helping you to understand origin of life questions.
Profile Image for Joshua.
25 reviews1 follower
September 16, 2020
A reasonably argued basic introduction from a conservative viewpoint.
Profile Image for Brian Watson.
246 reviews13 followers
September 2, 2014
Jack Collins is well-equipped to write a book on how science and faith are related. He holds two degrees from MIT, and a Master of Divinity and a PhD in Hebrew. Collins's goal was to write a book that is free of technical jargon. The book has many positive features: the author covers a lot of ground; he writes very clearly; and he is persuasive. On the negative side, the book has a very peculiar system of notes and citations: instead of using footnotes or numbered end notes, there is an appendix that contains some notes for each chapter. Sometimes, he provides proper citations, and other times, he doesn't. It would have been a better book had he settled on using numbered end notes. I don't think many readers who are willing to read a 400-plus-page book are going to be put off by proper citations.

At any rate, throughout the book, Collins stresses the importance of clear thinking and defining terms. He addresses issues such as Genesis 1, the age of the earth, evolution, intelligent design, what the Bible has to say about environmentalism, and many other issues. While I didn't agree with every little point that he made, I think Collins is a clear thinker and writer and this book, along with Vern Poythress's Redeeming Science, are useful books for those who are interested in learning more about how Christianity and science are related.
Profile Image for Steve Walker.
284 reviews114 followers
April 16, 2012
Really would like to assign no stars to this disorganized mess. I understand what the author is attempting to do, however, his editor failed in the task of shaping and cutting where needed. There are much better books on the topic.
Profile Image for Peter Yoshonis.
7 reviews1 follower
September 8, 2012
Collins gives a theological perspective to the conversation about faith and science. I most enjoyed his reflection of multiple views of the creation story and what it means to be image bearers of God. Also liked the chapter on cosmology and geology as it relates to the age of the earth.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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