Jesus, Beginnings, and Science: A Guide for Group Conversation

David and Kate Vosburg 02 Sep 19

Do you see science as a potential obstacle for faith? Do you, your friends, or your family desire better conversations about the Bible and science? If you answered yes to either of those questions, get a copy of Jesus, Beginnings, and Science by David and Kate Vosburg and start a Science Network book club with some friends.

Addressing science and faith can:

  • help believers keep their faith,
  • help non-believers consider faith in God,
  • prepare Christians to be scientists where they can serve God through their profession and be salt and light among other scientists, and
  • promote unity among Christians.

We believe that perceived conflicts between science and faith are mainly due to faulty human interpretations or applications of God’s Word or of God’s world.

How can we avoid doing that? We can dig deeper into what the Bible says about creation and science. And that is why we wrote our book, Jesus, Beginnings, and Science.

Topics like creation, Genesis, and science can be emotionally and politically fraught, so we start our book—both the title and the first chapter—with Jesus. The importance of Jesus and his (perhaps surprising) role in creation is where we begin, with passages from John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1.

In our experience, reading these three passages together is a new experience for most people. These passages, and a related one in Proverbs 8, invite us into a friendly dialogue on Jesus’ role in creation, serving as a genuinely positive start for further conversations on science and faith.

While wrestling with science and faith topics alone can be fruitful, it can also be isolating. We believe that God wants us to do this in community. In gracious exploration and conversation. That is why we designed our book to be especially helpful for guiding groups through various passages of Scripture (in both the Old and New Testaments) that speak to God’s creation and to our relationship with science. We do not promote a specific position on creation and evolution, because we don’t think that Scripture speaks conclusively on the scientific means by which God created and we know that genuine Christians have varied perspectives on these issues. Instead we open up the Bible and try to model positive conversations on science and faith that we believe could be a blessing to all Christians and to the spiritually curious. Indeed, this posture of positive engagement on a controversial subject could be applied to other sensitive topics as well.

Our book is a collaboration between a chemistry professor and a campus pastor. It has its origins in our sabbatical year with the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at the University of Cambridge. It has been used in the UK, in the US, and in other countries; in student groups, in churches, and in homes. It has been endorsed by church pastors, Bible scholars, and scientists. We hope that you, your friends, and your family will find it useful, too.

It is our prayer that God uses this book to open his Word to Christians and non-Christians alike. That God turns every bit of our fear regarding faith and science into a sense of hopeful expectation and joyful exploration. That we will gain a greater appreciation for God’s revelation in Scripture and be gracious in areas where we disagree.

We invite you into this gracious conversation. Start a book club and see what you can learn together!

Dr. David Vosburg is a Professor of Chemistry at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, USA and an Associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. His wife Kate is a campus minister with InterVarsity (UCCF in the USA) and has a master’s degree in theology. Together they wrote Jesus, Beginnings, and Science: A Guide for Group Conversation (Pier Press, 2017) and are now working on a Spanish translation.

For a review of Jesus, Beginnings, and Science for InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network by Dr. Andy Walsh, see here