Academic journal article Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

DICTIONARY OF CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science

Academic journal article Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

DICTIONARY OF CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science

Article excerpt

DICTIONARY OF CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017. 691 pages. Hardcover; $59.99. ISBN: 9780310496052.

The Dictionary of Christianity and Science brings together Christian scholars to help explain the significant theories, issues, and individuals essential to the discussion of science and the Christian faith. Like other scholarly dictionaries or encyclopedias, it provides brief entries that succinctly explain each concept or issue. These entries represent a wide range of topics, from the philosophical to the scientific to the biblical and theological. The purpose is to provide a resource to help readers engage the issues related to science and faith.

A strength of this volume is in the way it provides clear, concise explanations of difficult and often complex issues. Through the use of cross references and recommended reading, the authors help readers understand the main ideas being discussed. In this way, the volume is easy to use and very readable.

Another strength is the way controversial issues are presented. For example, there are two entries that deal with climate change--one that interprets the scientific data to suggest that humans are having a significant impact on changing climate, and the second arguing that humans are not. Both address the issue biblically and scientifically while coming to different conclusions. A second example is the discussion of the days in Genesis. There are two entries that present the most basic views of Genesis 1: the days as literal 24-hour periods of time, and the framework approach. Both make their case well, demonstrating the advantages and disadvantages of each perspective. A third entry focuses on a basic explanation of a variety of ways Christians have interpreted the days in Genesis 1, providing a brief overview of each approach.

A weakness of this volume is what is missing, which betrays a more conservative evangelical bias. The entry on the various interpretations of Genesis 1, for example, does not include a mythological reading that grounds the interpretation of the text in the ancient cosmology of the Israelites and in the creation stories of the ancient world. …

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