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Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins: Cosmology, Geology, and Biology in Christian Perspective

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The question of origins remains a stumbling block for many. But just as the Psalmist gained insight into God’s character through the observation of nature, modern scientific study can deepen and enrich our vision of the Creator and our place in his creation. In this often contentious field Bishop, Funck, Lewis, Moshier, and Walton serve as our able guides.

Based on over two decades of teaching origins together in the classroom, the authors present a textbook exploring mainstream scientific theories of origins in astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, geology, biology, physical anthropology, and genetics. While many authors engage origins from a Christian perspective, this is the first work offering a full-fledged discussion of the scientific narrative of origins from the Big Bang through humankind, from biblical and theological perspectives accessible to a lay audience.

Topics include

  • Principles of biblical interpretation
  • Close readings of relevant Genesis texts
  • A comprehensive Trinitarian doctrine of creation
  • Cosmic origins
  • The geologic history of Earth
  • The origin of life on Earth
  • The origin of species and diversity of life
  • Human origins
  • New creation and creation care
  • Science education

Rather than the familiar scenario where science and faith compete, this book seeks to diffuse tensions by taking the inspiration and authority of the Bible seriously while respecting and honoring God’s revelation through creation. Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins gives the reader a detailed picture of the sciences of origins along with how they fit into the story of God’s creative and redemptive action.

Key Features

  • Provides a biblical and theological perspective on the sciences of origins
  • Communicates the actual science involved in different origins questions and the processes by which scientists develop their conclusions
  • Addresses mainstream scientific theories of origins in astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, geology, biology, anthropology, and genetics.


Part One: Getting Started on the Journey

  • Principles and Methods of Biblical Interpretation
  • A Comprehensive Doctrine of Creation and Implications for Scientific Study
  • Knowledge and Faith in Pursuing Origins Questions
  • Creation Through the Lenses of Science and Theology

Part Two: Cosmic Origins

  • Cosmic Origins: Genesis 1:1–2:4
  • Electromagnetic Radiation and the Scale of the Universe
  • The Expanding Universe
  • The Big Bang Model and Contemporary Cosmology
  • Lives and Deaths of Stars and Fine-Tuning
  • Biblical and Theological Perspectives on the Origins of the Universe

Part Three: Origin and Geologic History of Earth

  • Origin of the Earth and Solar System
  • Historical Roots of Geology: Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism
  • The Genesis Flood
  • The Rock Cycle and Timescales of Geologic Processes
  • Rocks of Ages: Measuring Geologic Time
  • Plate Tectonics: A Theory for How the Earth Works
  • Reading Earth’s History in Rocks and Fossils
  • Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Earth History

Part Four: Origin of Life on Earth

  • From Spontaneous Generation to Abiogenesis
  • Prebiotic Chemistry: Preparing the Primordial Soup
  • Biological Information: Proteins and Nucleic Acids
  • Alternative Scenarios for Life’s Origin
  • Biblical and Theological Perspectives on the Origin of Life

Part Five: Origin of Species and Diversity of Life

  • Development of the Theory of Evolution
  • The Modern Synthesis of Evolution
  • Exploring the Evidence about Evolution: Phylogeny and Fossils
  • Development of an Extended Synthesis of Evolution
  • Biblical and Theological Perspectives on the Origin of the Diversity of Life

Part Six: Human Origins

  • Human Origins: Genesis 2–3
  • Human Origins: Evidence from Physical Anthropology
  • Human Origins: Genomic Evidence
  • Biblical and Theological Perspectives on the Image of God

Part Seven: Concluding Postscript

  • Biblical and Theological Perspectives on New Creation, Creation Care, and Science Education

Praise for the Print Edition

According to the Bible, God created everything—the cosmos, the solar system, the earth, and life itself. Many Christians wrongly believe that science undermines that belief and so they avoid, or worse, attack science. Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins is a book that looks at the best mainstream science from a Christian perspective to show that such fears are unfounded. This book, born in the classroom, is a perfect textbook for colleges and also for all Christians who are interested in the question of how the Bible and science relate.

Tremper Longman III, Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins is a groundbreaking book. These engaging, field-tested materials, used over many years by outstanding faculty at a flagship Christian university, are sure to be an important new resource for Christian students. Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins reflects top-notch scholarship sensitively distilled to an accessible level, and it is uniquely comprehensive in its treatment of data from the physical and biological sciences, as well as philosophy, theology, and biblical studies. Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins is going to be on my short list of recommended resources in this important area. Highly recommended!

—Jeff Hardin, Raymond E. Keller Professor and Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This superbly designed textbook once again shows how foolish it is to think of ‘warfare’ when considering science in relation to Christian faith. The team of authors includes first-rate scientists and much-respected Bible scholars. Together they explain clearly, patiently, and with accessible language why modern believers have nothing to fear from established scientific research—and why orthodox Christian faith has so much to offer in clarifying what scientists discover. It is a book perfect for the classroom, but also full of insight for general readers as well.

Mark Noll, author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, coeditor of B. B. Warfield: Evolution, Science, and Scripture

Product Details

  • Title: Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins: Cosmology, Geology, and Biology in Christian Perspective
  • Editors: Robert C. Bishop, Larry L. Funck, Raymond J. Lewis, Stephen O. Moshier, and John H. Walton
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Pages: 688
  • Resource Type: Textbook
  • Topic: Science

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

About the Editors

Robert C. Bishop (PhD, University of Texas) is associate professor of physics and philosophy and the John and Madeleine McIntyre Endowed Professor of Philosophy and History of Science at Wheaton College. His research interests include the physical and social sciences, particularly the implications of science and its assumptions for theories of mind, free will and consciousness. Bishop is the author of The Philosophy of the Social Science and co-editor of Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism.

Larry L. Funck (PhD, Lehigh University) is an emeritus professor at Wheaton College where he taught inorganic chemistry for over forty years. He continues to be engaged in Wheaton’s chemistry department teaching the origin of life component in the Theories of Origins course. His reseach interests include transition metals, especially as they relate to bioinorganic model studies. Funck is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Scientific Affiliation and the Midwest Association of Chemistry Teachers at Liberal Arts Colleges (MACTLAC). He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Lesotho and served as the chief reader for College Board’s Advanced Placement chemistry program.

Raymond J. Lewis (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara) is associate professor of biology at Wheaton College. His research interests include genetics and physiology of marine algae, environmental ethics and botany. He has published articles in many scientific journals and is a member of the American Scientific Affiliation, the International Phycological Society, and the Botanical Society of America.

Stephen O. Moshier (PhD, Louisiana State University) is professor of geology and chair of the geology and environmental science department at Wheaton College, where he also serves as the director of the Black Hills Science Station. Besides his work in academia, he has also practiced geology as an oil company explorationist, with much of his early research describing and interpreting oil reservoir rocks. More recently, his research efforts are in the field of geoarchaeology, participating in expeditions to the Sinai coast, Egypt, and Israel.

John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


Digital list price: $69.99
Save $14.00 (20%)