Most helpful books on the compatibility of science and religion?

Continuing the discussion from Struggling to Believe:

This probably could use it’s own dedicated thread:


BioLogos has a recommended books page covering all these topics.

A personal recommendation (not on the linked list): The Meaning of Creation by Conrad Hyers. Best book on Genesis and modern science I’ve ever read. Amazon link.

What has helped me most once you get past the initial phase, is learning more about theology. My particular denomination (Baptist) tends to only teach the party line and that is even limited by what the pastor of the day personally believes, as I am sure most others do also, but there are a lot of differing ways to look at scripture by thoughtful Godly theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying God’s word, and it is a shame to not take advantage of their labor.
Books like the " The Lost World of Adam and Eve" and almost anything by Tom Wright. (I figure I can call him Tom since I saw him the Biologos conference and heard him sing, so that should put us on a first name basis, shouldn’t it?) These are listed on the Biologos site as mentioned.
Again, the books don’t have to be about science, as ultimately the theology is what drives your understanding of God and how he relates to life.


IBooks that have been intermittently helpful to me:

  • Mere Christianity, CS Lewis

  • As said already, anything by Tom Wright (I think I can call him Tom too as we met when he was in Houston earlier this year & I got my book signed and he complimented me on my name–the nicest guy in the world!). Surprised by Hope, his Christian Origins and the Question of God series, and The New Testament for Everyone, in particular have been helpful.

  • Plug for our own @Jon_Garvey’s .pdf book on his blog, which was imminently helpful in sorting out theological issues with evolution–it should be a best seller in my book (heh)

  • Christian Eschatology and the Physical Universe by David Wilkinson, and A New Heaven and a New Earth by J. Richard Middleton are great for eschatology.

  • Knowledge and Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga, great for philosophy and epistemology of religion

  • Minds, Brains, Souls and Gods by Malcolm Jeeves is a great, easy-to-read look at cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology from a Christian neuropsychologist.

  • The author is not a theist, and I haven’t yet read it (it’s in the mail!), but Mind and Cosmos by Thomas Nagel seems to be a great critique of the materialist/neo-Darwinian view of nature.

  • Philosopher Timothy O’Connor has some great essays (which I’ll link to later, I’m on mobile right now) about metaphysics and the nature of the human soul.

  • Would it be corny to say the Bible?

Hope this list helps, willing to answer more in-depth questions about the books themselves!

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If anyone here is too cool to put the Bible on their must read list, that’s their problem.

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@Christy, original thread requested no response from the non-Christians. Do you intend to preserve this for your thread?

No, you can make your recommendations. It might be good to clarify what exactly you found helpful about the book. But, sure, fire away.

I just wanted to say, that in my view, religion and science are not compatible. You’ll never have Muslim Chemistry or Christian Physics. It’s just Chemistry and Physics, no matter who is learning or experimenting on the subject. Any theists who are practicing science, must leave religion at the door. For instance, a Doctor may believe that disease is God’s punishment for sin, but when they are practicing medicine, they must leave their belief at the door, and treat an illness at it’s root. And at the root, whether someone sinned is irrelevant.

On the other hand, Christians (and probably other religions) want to justify their religion with science, and this proves (in my view) the strength of science. People instinctively realize that for something to be true, it must conform with the scientific understanding (hence, the Star of Bethlehem must have been a Super Nova of some sort, Total darkness during Jesus’ crucifixion must have been a solar eclipse, etc…)

Certainly some Christians take this approach. But when I hear “compatibility of science and religion” (here at least), I think it is more about how to approach the theological issues that would be raised in the mind of a Christian in light of scientific facts and realities, than it would be about co-opting science as a religious apologetic tool. Compatibility just suggest harmonized co-existence, it doesn’t suggest that one shapes the other. I would not expect a non-Christian scientist to care how Christian scientists think of Adam and original sin, and I would not expect the Christian scientist to be affected in their scientific work by the answers they had to those theological questions.

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One of my favorite books that deals with the “Adam and Eve” dilemma is Peter Enns’ Evolution of Adam. His book, Inspiration and Incarnation, is also great for showing how biblical innerancy need not exclude evolution or obsess on things such as the number of chariots Solomon had, or how many angels were at the tomb.

However, I think my book, Deliver Us From Evolution?, best deals with the theological, spiritual, and emotional issues one deals with when coming to grips with evolution, the Bible, and God. I also give mountains of evidence for an old earth and the reality of evolution, which may be helpful. I’m a biology professor who spent about two years writing this book. I have personally struggled with this issue, and the book is borne out of my experience and expertise. It is a free download on Amazon from now until 5/30!

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