Friday, February 3, 2017

Scripture and Cosmology VIII

Greenwood, Kyle. Scripture and Cosmology: Reading the Bible between the Ancient World and Modern Science. DownersGrove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015. 

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI, Part VII

In the eighth and final chapter of his book, Greenwood lays bare his overarching agenda for writing: namely, to combat many Christians' war on certain parts of science, specifically the theory of evolution.  No, the book has not been about evolution at all, but in the final chapter he urges Christians to be consistent with regard to the relationship between science and religion, or science and biblical interpretation.  Inasmuch as modern cosmology is not controversial to most Christians, Greenwood uses this as a foil for his real agenda.  He shows that Christians accept the findings of modern science (i.e., modern cosmology), even when they directly contradict biblical evidence (i.e., ancient near eastern three tiered cosmology), and then calls Christians out for inconsistency of opposing the science of evolution. He also lists other examples where Christians hold to modern science over biblical teachings. The most prominent is modern medicine.  Very few people eschew modern medicine in favor of biblical remedies, such as putting a leper outside of the camp and waiting for it to go away.

In the end, I think that Greenwood's book is successful at bringing to the fore the cognitive dissonance that exists for many Christians who inconsistently oppose portions of science when they seemingly contradict the Bible, yet have no problems accepting other portions of science that also contradict the Bible.

I'll end with the following quote from Greenwood's conclusion:
Sincere Christians with sincere questions are not helped by artful interpretations of scripture that ignore the realities of the world God created.  As humanity presses on to unmask more and more mysteries of the cosmos, let us consider Calvin, Aquinas, Maimonides and Ambrose, who entreat us to let those trained in studying the natural world speak on matters pertaining to such. 


  1. Keith, Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough treatment of my book. I enjoyed re-reading it from your perspective.

  2. Kyle,
    I am glad you enjoyed the review. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I think that it has helped my students.

    I wrote many of the chapter reviews in a hurry and hope I was not unfair. I would love to hear any responses you may have If I did not convey your meaning.

  3. I think you were quite fair. Your review of ch. 7 was your harshest (only?) critique, and I wouldn't disagree with you. I think I tried too hard to draw on the wisdom of previous interpreters as a way to move forward, but I probably should have provided a critique of that position as a way of offering a more robust appreciation of inspiration. Oh well. Live and learn.