With the ongoing discussions about Bruce Waltke’s video at the BioLogos website and his subsequent resignation from RTS, as well as the long comment thread here at Evangel about events in Genesis, I thought I would post some thoughts about the relationship between science and religion that were gathered from a series of helpful lectures from the Teaching Company. Some might find it helpful and others, I’m sure, will not.

Providence

At the center of the issues is the relationship between God and nature. Understanding this thorny subject is a difficult task since one must be able to define a wide variety of terms as they relate to causation, both natural and supernatural. Is causation fundamentally natural, supernatural, or both? It is important to note that a matter of orthodoxy is the conception of a singularly creative and omnipotent deity who provides a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for the scientific enterprise. The implication is that regularity of law-like action is ensured by the sustaining order of the deity’s providence.

In the same way providence is a decisive factor in theological doctrine, so it is in science. How we construe God’s interaction with the created order will determine how we think about and practice science. Almost universally rejected is the naïve supernaturalism of theological determinists who insist that for every effect in the natural world there is a supernatural cause. In other words the explanation for why your hair grows is “God did it.” This view undermines the scientific enterprise since its explanations are deemed sufficient and no further knowledge can be gained. Instead, the history of Christian thought has affirmed the idea that God governs and sustains the created order through secondary means. Creation contains a system of causality that is reliable, regular, and observable, yet remains original or “final” in the will of God. Thus the natural causes are sustained by God’s concurring providence.

Articles by Adam Omelianchuk

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