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Crossley challenges cosmology reactions

Laurinburg, N.C. – “Believers have encountered four different world views and how Christians have responded to the first three world views can help us know how to respond to the current world view.”

This was the hypothesis presented by Dr. Ronald Crossley during his Religion and Science Roundtable Lecture “Christ, Creation and the Contemporary Cosmos” Tuesday at St. Andrews Presbyterian College.

Approximately 100 attendees listened as Crossley divided the changing relationship between Christianity and science into four distinctive historical areas: after Babylon, after Aristotle, after Newton and now. Crossley shared the prevailing scientific views of the time and their relation to the Bible and Christian beliefs.

“It was in the 19th century, with all the information piling up, that theologians abandoned attempts to reconcile religion and science,” he said. “They actively moved religion away from science. Kant moved religion from knowledge to morality. He said ‘Science deals with facts, religion deals with values.’ Yet the most significant move came from Friedrick Schleiermacher, considered the father of modern liberal theology, who moved religion from thought to feeling.

“Schleiermacher held that the Christian doctrine of creation is not a description of nature but a description of human consciousness of God. It served as a theological justification for the emerging split between theology and science. It is largely a dichotomy maintained to the present.”

Ron Crossley at Religion and Science RoundtableCrossley believes that there are five key lessons that can be applied today.

“Don’t put all of your theological eggs into scientific baskets, since while Christians tend to cling to their beliefs, scientists will give up their theories in an instant,” Crossley said. “Theologians should be open to different natures of our eggs. When a particular model comes up against our experience, we tend to distort the experience to protect the model.”

Lessons two and three related to specific Bible verses used, or not used by theologians in responding to the challenges of science.

“There is too much Genesis 1 in theological responses,” Crossley said. “When you take Genesis 1 by itself, it gives a distorted Biblical view of creation. There is not enough New Testament in the argument. By neglecting the composite New Testament witness to the relation of Christ to the creation, it will lead to a distorted view.”

For his fourth and fifth lessons, Crossley pointed to key flaws in how theological responses have addressed science.

“Very few theological responses have included the two fundamental Christian convictions: God’s incarnation as the human Jesus and God’s Triunity,” he said. “There have also been very few cosmological efforts in science that have focused on widespread suffering in the animal and human parts of the cosmos.”

After examining the current cosmology related to the origin of the universe, Crossley ended with a simple guiding principle.

“God’s contribution to existence is eternal, steadfast and everlasting love.”

About the Religion and Science Roundtable at St. Andrews

The Religion and Science Roundtables are associated with the annual John Calvin McNair Lecture on Science and Theology hosted each fall by St. Andrews. The McNair Lecture was established by the 1857 will of John Calvin McNair who asked that “the object of which lecture(s) shall be to show the mutual bearing of Science and Theology upon each other….”

The next Roundtable will be presented on April 5 by St. Andrews Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Pamela Case, who will share “Neurotheology: Brains Boundaries, and Beliefs.” Free and open to the public, the Roundtable begins with a dinner at 6 p.m. followed by the lecture at 7 p.m. Reservations for the event are required for meal preparation purposes. To make a reservation, send an email with Roundtable as the subject line to rsvp@sapc.edu or call 910-277-3968 by March 29 at 5 p.m. be sure to include the names of all who will be attending in the message.

About St. Andrews Presbyterian College

An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.

On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.

 

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