During my recent sabbatical I found myself enjoying reading a variety of things on the question of origins--as in the origin of man and the world. One of the most fascinating persons I discovered was Steve Fuller. Fuller teaches Sociology at the University of Warwick (remember--in the UK it is pronounced "Warick" :)).
Fuller is a fascinating man. Not a confessing Christian, he nonetheless argues that the Christian faith has historically been an impetus, not a hindrance, for science. Indeed, Fuller ultimately argues that contemporary science (on the whole) can no longer justify its own existence, at least in the sense of providing some sort of captivating and compelling reason for why someone would want to spend a lifetime exploring the traditional domains of science: man and the created order. Fuller argues that (1) the traditional evolutionary/Darwinian mechanism (random mutations and natural selection) cannot ultimately account for the nature of reality as we know it, and (2) that it is traditional Christianity (or what Fuller sometimes calls the "Abrahamic faiths"--a broader category) which provides a compelling justification for the scientific quest. The book I read of Fuller's was his Dissent Over Descent: Intelligent Design's Challenge to Darwinism (Icon Books, 2008). Another book by Fuller, Science Vs Religion? Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution (Polity, 2007) is perhaps a tad less provocative and punchy in its tone and presentation, but it is perhaps a bit clearer.
Fuller is interesing for lots of reasons, not the least being that he testified in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District court case (2005), and he testified on behalf of the Intelligent Design folks. This was the case where the judge parroted the "Intelligent Design is creationism, and is not science at all" line. Fuller offers a compelling criticism of the judge's thinking and decision. Fuller is prolific, and has a number of additional books in the works.
I have recently purchased T. Desmond Alexander's From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology (Kregel, 2008). Originally published in the U.K. with IVP-UK, it is now available in the U.S. Alexander has written a number of works in biblical theology, and in particular was one of the editors for IVP's New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. His From Eden to the New Jerusalem promises to be a very helpful entry into the exciting world of biblical theology. Alexander starts with Revelation 20-22, where John writes about a "new heaven and a new earth," the "holy city," the new Jerusalem. There is no temple at this point (21:22), for "its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb." Then Alexander goes back to Genesis--the garden--and begins to unfold his own understanding of the overarching story line of the Bible. I look forward to finishing it, and am considering using it in my Biblical Theology course at Union. At around 200 pages it look like it might function as a perfect introduction to thinking about "whole Bible" theology.
It is a joy to see a former student—Laura Rector—thriving and doing doctoral work. She has taken the opportunity to respond to a former professor (me) in print (on 11/08/09, to my 10/25/09 Sun piece on health care). It is all the more interesting because her current mentor (Dr. Glen Stassen) was my professor in Christian Ethics twenty years ago at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A small world.
(Note: it appears that my original piece and Ms. Rector's has "timed out" and is no longer on the Jackson Sun web page).
I was not sure whether to write a response. But given the nature of Ms. Rector’s response, and how her response entails a bit of a caricature and misrepresentation of my piece, I thought I would post this response.
- Category: Recommended Reading Recommended Reading
- Published: 17 December 2009 17 December 2009
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If you are looking for a great series of books to read to your children, Douglas Bond's Crown and Covenant series (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing) is wonderful. The trilogy traces the story of the M'Kethe family in Scotland during the 17th century, when many Protestants experienced brutal oppression from the governing authorities. These stories are well-told, grounded in history, and wrestle with questions of citizenship, when to obey civil authority and when not to, when is force necessary, etc. The three books (in order) are: Duncan's War, King's Arrow, and Rebel's Keep. We are now eager to move on to Bond's "Faith and Freedom" series, which appears to pick up the M'Kethe family in the colonies. Recommended highly!