Science and Christianity
Science and Christianity  -     By: Tim Reddish
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Science and Christianity

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Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Wipf & Stock
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 9.02 X 5.98 X 0.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1498296068
ISBN-13: 9781498296069

Author/Artist Review

Author: Tim Reddish
Located in: Windsor, Ontario
Submitted: September 07, 2018

    Tell us a little about yourself.  Rev. Dr. Tim Reddish was ordained in December 2017 and, at the same time, was inducted as the minister of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Amherstburg, Ontario. He spent his formative years in Nigeria, where his parents were missionaries. He later went to Manchester University (UK) to study for his PhD in experimental Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics. In 1989, after research positions in Manchester and Vancouver, he became a lecturer at Newcastle University (UK) and was later promoted to “Reader in Experimental Atomic Physics.” Tim and his family moved to Canada in 2002 where he was a Professor of Physics at the University of Windsor. In 2011 Tim resigned to study theology at Knox College, Toronto; upon graduation in May 2015, he was awarded Knox College’s Gold medal for academic excellence. Tim has a diverse church background—Pentecostal, Baptist, Anglican and Presbyterian. He loves reading theology, watching British detective stories and period dramas, F1 racing, and photography. He is also the author of: Does God Always Get What God Wants? An Exploration of God’s Activity in a Suffering World (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018) and The Amish Farmer who Hated L.A. and 8 Other Modern Day Allegories (Sisters, Oregon: Deep River Books, 2015).

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Much of Evangelical thinking is an insistence that its “theology of certainty,” based on an unquestioned (and deemed-unassailable) methodology in its view of scripture, is the only way to defend God/Christianity in a postmodernism era. The science-faith debate is stale in such a climate, and this is unhelpful, even counterproductive, for those seeking a way to integrate science with their Christian faith. There is even a climate of fear, of a “slippery slope,” even ignorance, that stops Church leaders from seriously engaging this topic—one that will not go away. Much of the Church has not paid much attention to their scientists and theologians in this area, and their decades of wrestling with the issues and being faithful to scripture. This aim of this book, then, is to move forward the church and its leadership in this area. To try and distil ideas that have been in circulation within scholarly circles for decades and present them in a more accessible way to educate leaders and thoughtful Christians. To show there is nothing to fear and much to gain from serious engagement with science and faith. There is, in fact, much to lose if we don’t learn from history and heed the Spirit’s voice. St. Paul cleverly wrote his letters for the whole Church and, knowing their contents, they could keep their leaders accountable. This book tries to do the same! Finally, this is not another book that attempts to defend God from perceived threats, like the New Atheists. Nor is it a book that tries to show that the findings of modern science are in concord with Scripture. Rather, it is an attempt to learn wisdom from history—both ancient and modern—and to see how we can move constructively beyond the old battlegrounds of modernity in what is now a postmodern world.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  This introductory book is for ministers and seminary students, as better-informed church leaders can then engage their congregations on this perennial topic and so aid faith. It is also written for jaded, thoughtful Christians who wrestle to maintain their faith in church cultures that are intellectually unsatisfying and stifling. “Science and Christianity” is also for the agnostic and the simply curious who are sympathetic to Christianity but deeply suspicious of institutional religion. This thought-provoking book distils ideas from the ongoing Science—Faith forum that have been well-articulated in scholarly circles but have yet to percolate down into the regular life of the church. It brings together material from various sources (science, philosophy, theology, church history, and biblical studies) and presents them in an accessible and engaging way, especially for those who do not have a science background.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  Many authors have inspired and influenced me; in the area of science and Christianity, I have found the works of John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath, and Keith Ward to be most insightful. This book is primarily for the church, especially its leaders—which is why it contains three chapters pertaining to the bible. The book is different in that it doesn’t focus on science-faith issues, but the context in which we approach those issues. It also considers principles of biblical interpretation, an overlooked issue that is foundational for meaningful science-faith dialogue, along with a review on the nature of science. Too often assumptions are made on such topics that color, even derail, the conversation.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  An important issue for me, as a physicist, is the role of "chance" in nature and how this can be understood theologically. My contention is that our theology today has been strongly influenced by deism and we have inadvertently absorbed the paradigm of classical physics into our Christian thinking. This parallels the Church’s uncritical absorption of the Aristotelian worldview during the late Middle Ages, which Galileo had to counter. The mechanistic world of Newton encourages a theology of a God who is “tightly in control” (e.g., the doctrine of predestination). Exploring and “sacredizing” chance within nature (e.g., quantum indeterminacy) is a corrective to theological determinism, one that is potentially helpful theologically (e.g., theodicy, providence) and allows for a greater integration between the findings of modern science and Christianity.

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