A Theological History of Science

A Theological History of Science

We are pleased to announce the award of another $25,000 grant for two years. With this grant, we aim to explore the theological history of science. This grant was also awarded by the STEAM project, which has funding from the John Templeton Foundation. This grant is directed by Joel Okamoto, housed at Concordia Seminary, and it will be moderated by Dr. Erik Herrmann and Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass.


Each year, we will invite four leading science historians to give a lecture about the role of Christian scientists, theologians and theology in the scientific revolution.

This is a remarkable history with several interesting tales. For example, the scientific revolution reshaped how Christians understood several passages (e.g. Psalms 104) about the cosmos, which had seemed to place the earth at the center of the universe. The graphic above depicts an illustration of the Ptolemaic Geocentric system by Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho, 1568 (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris). This geocentric view of the universe turns out to be wrong, as demonstrated by Kepler, Newton, Copernicus, and others. They lay the foundations of modern science by discovering we are in a sun-centered planetary system. Remarkably, much of their work interacts closely with theology. This is just one set of stories we hope to explore during this series.

Dr. Herrmann, a historian, and Dr. Swamidass, a scientist, will moderate these events. Framing the lectures and discussion will be the question, “What have been the productive interactions between theology and science?” and “What could a constructive Christian voice in science be?”All lectures will be at 3:30pm at Concordia Seminary, President’s Room (#17 on map). Currently, the first two speakers are confirmed. The remaining speakers are all tentative.

Year One: Leaving Geocentrism

  1. Late 16th Century: (Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Caspar Peucer): Ken Howell (confirmed, September 28, 2016, 3:30pm ,Concordia Seminary, President’s Room)
  2. Mid-16th Century: (Copernicus, Melancthon, Rheticus, Osiander): Daniel Danielson (CANCELLED, November 9, 2016) Unfortunately, Dr. Danielson had to cancel for health reasons. 
  3. Kepler: Owen Gingerich or Robert Westman
  4. Galileo: Owen Gingerich or William Shea.

Year Two: Modern Controversies

  1. Galileo and the Garden of Eden: Edward “Ted” Davis
  2. Common Sense Realism and American Christianity: Mark Noll or George Marsden
  3. Flood Geology and Age of the Earth: Ronald Numbers
  4. Scopes and Kansas/Dover: Ed Larson

How You Can Participate

Lectures are public and anyone from the community is welcome. We expect high interest from Washington University in St. Louis and the surrounding churches. We are also planning essay contests with cash prizes. Consider participating yourself, and inviting your ministries students to participate too.

All events will be videotaped, as will be an interview with the speaker too. Follow the release of videos associated with event on this website, by subscribing here.

Sponsoring Organizations

This effort is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, the Fuller Seminary STEAM Project, and Concordia Seminary.

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S. Joshua Swamidass

http://swami.wustl.edu

I am an assistant professor at Washington University in Saint Louis where I run a computational biology group. I'm also part of the dialogue between science and religion, through my work at BioLogos, the AAAS Science for Seminaries Program, and Veritas Forums.