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Redeeming Science

Science and faith are often pitted against each other. Many have felt they must make a choice between either being a person of science or a person of faith. Dr. Vern Poythress, Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary and the author of Redeeming Science, joins the panel on Christ the Center to discuss the relationship between Christianity and science. He argues that not only is science compatible with Christianity, but that the Triune God of the Bible is required in order for the very possibility of science to exist. Listen to this broad-ranging discussion that touches upon science, mathematics, the creation days, and a Christian approach to education.
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Panel

  • Vern Poythress
  • James Dolezal
  • Jim Cassidy
  • Nick Batzig
  • Camden Bucey

Bibliography

Nickel, James. Mathematics: Is God Silent? Vallecito, Calif.: Ross House Books, 2001.

Poythress, Vern S. God-Centered Biblical Interpretation. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub., 1999.

—. Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006.

—. The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses. Brentwood, Tenn.: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991.

—. Understanding Dispensationalists. 2nd ed. P & R Publishing, 1993.

Van Til, Cornelius. Introduction to Systematic Theology. 2nd ed. P & R Publishing, 2007.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. On Universals: An Essay in Ontology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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underdogtheology

11 years ago

Barry

11 years ago

I downloaded the book and scanned it, and found it very interesting. I’m planning to give it a more thorough read. Thanks!

Camden Bucey

11 years ago

Dr. Poythress has several interesting chapters in the book. He even discusses the relationship of music to mathematics. His chapter on linguistics in a sense berthed a new book that will be published this year.

Christ the Center Interviews Vern Poythress

11 years ago

[…] the creation days, and a Christian approach to education. You can listen to this episode here. Christ the Center, Vern […]

Phillip Ross

11 years ago

Forgive the long quote, but you may find it interesting:

“The difference that it (the doctrine of the Trinity) makes has to do with the development of science and technology, and the role of science and technology regarding human life, among other things. At this point in human history people — the populations of the world — are dependent upon science and technology. Life as we know it could not exist without them. They are the foundation of our contemporary life support systems, i.e., food production, medicine and shelter.

It is significant that modern science and technology developed in the Christian West. They did not develop in India or China, both of which have very long histories. There was plenty of time for science and technology to develop in either India or China, but they did not. Why not? Why did they develop out of the Christian West? The short answer is that they developed out of the doctrine of the Trinity, and Christianity is the only religion or worldview that incorporates and advances such an explanation of God and of reality. And that is what the doctrine of the Trinity is — an explanation of God and reality that fits the facts.

A full explanation of exactly how the Trinity works is more difficult than simply stating it. For the most part the doctrine of the Trinity has been considered to be a mystery. And it is, but not because it is completely unknown. Rather, it is mysterious because it is both hard to explain and it is not completely understandable. Yet, in spite of this difficulty everyone uses the doctrine of the Trinity every day, and people have always relied upon it, though for the most part our reliance is at a subconscious level. It’s sort of like relying on air. We breathe it, but for the most part it goes unseen and unnoticed as we go about our daily lives. The reality of the Trinity is, like air, a common, fundamental condition of ordinary living. People assume it to be true yet rarely acknowledge it, much less consciously think about it. But without the reality of the Trinity, life as we know it would be impossible.

Philosophically, the doctrine of the Trinity answers the fundamental issue posed by Plato (and others) known as the one and the many.1 All human cultures in some way have to account for the myriad of objects and phenomena in the world. We have to make sense of the world in order to live in the world. And the use of science and technology require that we make a particular kind of sense of the world.

We live in a world of objects — things — that are constantly changing. Yet, in this world of objects and change, there seems to be an underlying unity and stability. There is a rational consistency in the way that the world works. For instance, every human being begins as an infant and then grows into an adult and dies. Adults are very different than infants in every regard — in fact, they are in many ways unrecognizable as being the same object. Yet we recognize that they are the same, that something has remained the same even though the infant has changed into something that is quite different from its original state. And if we trace human life back into the womb or forward into death, we see even more astonishing changes. Yet, in spite of the changes we recognize an enduring consistency, a unique individuality in the midst of change.

Or consider an acorn and an oak tree. They are completely different, yet we recognize that they share an essential identity over time. The one becomes the other such that the consistency between them is absolutely reliable. Something remains constant between these two very different things. And we see the same rational stability and constancy across the variety of objects that inhabit our world. While the world is full of diverse trees, there is still some constancy and stability to the idea of “treeness” which never seems to change.

This observation of the world of phenomena leads many cultures to believe that the diversity of things and their changes can ultimately be related back to a single thing, a unity or a oneness that remains constant in the midst of the flux of change. It is this constancy, this unity of individual things that gives them their identity. This concern is at the heart of the scientific endeavor and helps us to know how things in the world work.”

(from my book Arsy Varsy — Reclaiming the Gospel in First Corinthians)

Christ the Center Interview Index

10 years ago

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Reformed Forum - Reformed Theology Podcasts, Videos, Blogs and More - » Blog Archive » The Sweet 16

10 years ago

[…] (44) Redeeming Science with Vern Poythress #ctc52 […]

The Divine Attributes as the Foundation of Science - ReformedForum.org

9 years ago

[…] speaks about the divine attributes and the foundation for doing science.  This clip comes from Christ the Center episode 52 on Dr. Poythress’ book Redeeming Science.  Standard […]

Mark G

7 years ago

It seems that Dr. Poythress’s defense of “creation with maturity” has the peculiar result of affirming the contemporary scientific view of how the universe began and developed. The defense of creation with maturity is that science cannot know that the earth will eventually be engulfed by the sun because we know that Christ will return before the earth’s final destruction. If Christ did not return, if laws continued to operate as they do now, the sun would eventually engulf the earth. Applying the same kind of argument to the past, if God had not created the universe with maturity, we could trace the expansion of the universe back to its origin to the so called “big bang” some 14B years ago. Or, to simplify, we can rightly trace the light we see today back to that star 10B light years away. I guess one advantage of such a view would be that BOTH the Bible and science are basically correct. The Bible talks about what happened supernaturally whereas science talks about what would have happened providentially if the supernatural had not intervened. That doesn’t seem satisfactory.

Mark G

7 years ago

I think there is a significant difference between projecting future events based on the past and present, and studying evidence left by historical events. Evidence left by God of apparently historical events that in fact never happened is capricious. “Creation from maturity” is no different from creation “with the [false] appearance of age.”

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