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Unite the Two So Long Disjoined Knowledge and Vital Piety: A Pastor’s Perspectives on Scientific Discoveries and Faith Rev. Mark V. James.

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Presentation on theme: "Unite the Two So Long Disjoined Knowledge and Vital Piety: A Pastor’s Perspectives on Scientific Discoveries and Faith Rev. Mark V. James."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unite the Two So Long Disjoined Knowledge and Vital Piety: A Pastor’s Perspectives on Scientific Discoveries and Faith Rev. Mark V. James

2 E. Stanley Jones I’m not afraid of science being too scientific; I’m afraid it won’t be scientific enough. Half-baked science brings doubt; real science brings faith. (How to be a Transformed Person, p. 103)

3 Theological Currents Liberal Fundamentalist Neo-orthodox

4 Creation narratives Genesis 1 (“E”) Genesis 2 (“J”) Light Sky dome
Dry land, plants Sun, moon, stars Birds, fish Land animals, humans Sabbath (Genesis 2:1-3) Male human (the rest of creation seems assumed) Plants (for food and beauty) Animals Female human

5 Biblical Inspiration The Bible is all human. The Bible is all divine.
The Bible is both human and divine.

6 Uh-oh! Slavery (Leviticus 25:39; Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; Titus 2:9. Polygamy (Jacob, Leah and Rachel; King David, King Solomon) Shellfish (Leviticus 11:10-12) Clothing of blended fibers (Leviticus 19:19) Women silent in church (1 Timothy 2:11-12) Women to have covered heads (1 Corinthians 11:5-6) Working on Sabbath punishable by death (Exodus 35:2)

7 Genesis 1:1-5 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (NRSV)

8 John Polkinghorne We have very good reasons to believe that the universe is 13.7 billion years old; that initially it was an almost uniform expanding ball of energy which gradually, under the condensing effect of gravity, became lumpy with stars and galaxies; that in the first generation of these stars, processes in their internal nuclear furnaces enriched the chemical potentiality of the universe, adding many heavier elements to the hydrogen and helium that were its aboriginal constituents, thereby enabling the possibility of an eventual development of carbon-based life;… (Testing Scripture, p. 21).

9 Crab Nebula

10 Genesis 1:6-8 And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. (NRSV)

11 Lewis Thomas The word is out that the sky is not limitless; it is finite. It is, in truth, only a kind of local roof, a membrane under which we live, luminous but confusingly refractile when suffused with sunlight; we can sense its concave surface a few miles over our heads. We know that it is tough and thick enough so that when hard objects strike it from outside they burst into flames. The color photographs of the earth are more amazing than anything outside: we live inside a blue chamber, a bubble of air blown by ourselves. The Lives of a Cell, p. 43.

12 Leviticus 13:2-3 When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a leprous disease on the skin on his body, he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. The priest shall examine the disease on the skin of his body, and if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a leprous disease; (NRSV)

13 Leviticus 13:24-25 Or, when the body has a burn on the skin and the raw flesh of the burn becomes a spot, reddish-white or white, the priest shall examine it. If the hair in the spot has turned white and it appears deeper than the skin, it is a leprous disease; it has broken out in the burn, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean. (NRSV)

14 Leviticus 13:29-30 When a man or a woman has a disease on the head or in the beard, the priest shall examine the disease. If it appears deeper than the skin and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an itch, a leprous disease of the head or the beard. (NRSV)

15 Leviticus 13:47-49 Concerning clothing: when a leprous disease appears in it, in woolen or linen cloth, in warp or woof of linen or wool or in a skin or anything made of skin, if the disease shows greenish or reddish in the garment, whether is warp or woof or in the skin or anything made of skin, it is a leprous disease and shall be shown to the priest (NRSV).

16 Leviticus 14:37-40 He shall examine the disease; if the disease is in the walls of the house with greenish or reddish spots, and if it appears to be deeper than the surface, the priest shall go outside to the door of the house and shut up the house seven days...if the disease has spread in the wall of the house, the priest shall command that the stones in which the disease appears be taken out and thrown into an unclean place outside the city (NRSV).

17 Leprosy—Hansen’s disease
Caused by Mycobacterium leprae—discovered by Norwegian physician, Dr. Armauer Hansen in 1873 (using Koch’s postulates). Long incubation period following exposure Skin lesions, muscle weakness, numbness 100 cases per year diagnosed in US Diagnosing early is important Several antibiotics are effective; often prescribed together (

18 Dr. Francis Collins [Speaking of DNA research] It is an opportunity to feel closer to God in a special kind of way—of being able to appreciate one more detail of God’s amazing creation (“Interpreting the Language of God,” Sojourners, Feb. 2010, p. 37).

19 Karl Giberson, Ph. D [writing about a recent trend in evangelical fundamentalism] “…a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century: God and religion came back.” (Rebuilding the Evangelical Mind Requires Courage.” Huffington Post )

20 Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne
But the whole of the universe is teeming with matter and energy—dark and otherwise—and is amazingly finely tuned to carry within it the potential for intelligent life. Behind this, some see nothing: others discern the mind, and the love, of God (Questions of Truth, p. 98)

21 Dame Kathleen Lonsdale
If we know all the answers there would be no point in carrying out scientific research. Because we do not, it is stimulating, exciting, challenging. So too, is the Christian life, lived experimentally. If we knew all the answers it would not be nearly such fun (The Christian Life, p. 37).

22 An Invitation There is inspiration to be found all around us, in the natural world, in the sciences and arts, in our work and friendships, in our sorrows as well as in our joys. Are you open to new light, from whatever source it may come? Do you approach new ideas with discernment? (Advices and Queries, #7, The Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Great Britain)

23 Further Information

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