Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Divine Science - A Review


A Review

Rarely, if ever, have I run across an author that accepts scripture and science at face value, as equal partners in discovering truth. The author has no problem in stating that he sees himself as a “cradle Catholic”; more importantly, at least to this reader, his faith in the Grace of God is his own. At the same time, the author makes it clear that as a tenured member of the University of California-Irvine Department of Physics, he is a scientist.  He takes his faith seriously; he takes science seriously.

Too often, these kind of statements are made so that the speaker can join the discussion, though the statements are made lightly. But as the reader makes his way through this book, it becomes clear that Dr. Dennin attempts to make both of these foci key parts of his decision making. Though I do not agree with all of his conclusions, I do appreciate his attempts to weave his faith together with his science to make a single coherent world view. Something most writers find hard to do.

Using a combination of Scripture, Theology, Philosophy, and Science, the author seeks to discover the “fullness of reality” as God intended it to be seen – giving a fuller view than would be possible if we relied on one or the other alone. 

I do appreciate the work that Michael Deninn is attempting to do. I remember the job interview I had at a Midwest Christian College. I was told up front that I would be fired if I in any way supported creation (note, my field was Computer Science). The author does not support a seven-day creation approach, but, at the same time, he has no problem acknowledging God’s presence and work in the creation event. Early in the book, he quotes an undergraduate faculty member addressing the Creation story:

That story may be factually false, but it is a myth. And a myth can convey truths that are more important, more salient, and more applicable than any fact that you might encounter. That story is better than factual, it is truthful.

The author accepts scripture at face value, recognizing that it represents different authors, with differing backgrounds, and written using different genres. Each of these truths serves as the foundation for good exegesis – and means that he takes not only his faith seriously, but also the scriptures.

The reader may not accept all of the conclusions that come from the author (as I said earlier, this reader does not), but the author and this book do deserve a careful reading by both the theologian and the believing scientist. 

In the interest of openness, I should point out that this review is written by an ordained Protestant pastor who spent 24 years in the college classroom teaching Computer Science.  The review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.

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