Dictionary of Christianity and Science: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science
Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss, General Editors
Zondervan, 2017. 691pp.
Religion/Religion & Science
Packed with more than 450 entries by “over 140 leading international scholars” and multiple-view essays on controversial topics, Zondervan’s Dictionary of Christianity and Science is for many pastors an answer to prayer. It’s recommended by a broad scope of scientists and theologians from chemist Henry Schaeffer at the University of Georgia and Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary to biologist/theologian Denis O. Lamorureux at the University of Alberta and Mike Licona at Houston Baptist University. Contributors are a worldwide raft of Ph.Ds, Th.Ds, and DPhils, with a few MDivs added for measure.
The articles range from basic (abortion, Institute for Creation Research, J.P. Moreland) to lengthy and complex (historicity of Adam and Eve, Genesis flood and geology, pseudogenes, days of Creation, string theory). One thing I appreciate is the numerous recent references from scientific and theological journals. You don’t get the sense you are reading outdated material.
Very helpful in the Dictionary are the opposing views articles. The Age of the Universe and Earth is treated with both Billions-of-Year-View and the Thousands-of-Years View. Creationism has four lengthy entries: Old Earth (supportive and critical) and Young Earth (supportive and critical). There are around 36 pages of entries variously labeled “Evolution.” It may frustrate some readers that some controversial topics are not “staked out,” but I find the approach helpful to more fully understand the various views.
Notably absent, though, is a subject index. Entries listed under headings like Scientists, Theologians, Philosophers, and Philosophies would benefit any user and would make a great addition to subsequent editions.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
The Dictionary of Christianity and Science is an invaluable resource for any pastor, professor, teacher, or small group leader who engages the evolution/creation debate. Those who dialogue on these issues should be informed. We need to be current on the issues rather than merely disputing arguments no longer part of the mainstream.
It’s also a helpful primer on various philosophies and personalities both current and historical.
In our day pastors are often expected to address specifics of science without benefit of scientific degrees. This book will help solidify messages on those subjects.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By