and Hand of God:
Perspectives on Christianity and Science
a booklet by Constance K. Walker
(with William D. Walker)
Late in 2003, it became clear that, while many books dealing with the relationship between science and the Christian faith had been published, nothing of booklet length was available. The small size and relatively low cost of a booklet make it a resource that can be kept on hand, especially by those in full time ministry, and given away when need or opportunity arises. Such a resource is most useful if it provides a general framework for understanding how the two spheres of knowledge intersect; a framework that can then be applied to a variety of perceived conflicts.
With the encouragement of the students and staff
of Erskine Seminary, I set out to meet this need by
expanding the text of my convocation talk and transforming it into a booklet.
The result is The Heart and Hand of God;
Perspectives on Christianity and Science, in which my late husband also
participated. The first edition became available in October 2004, and the
second edition in November
The Heart and Hand of God, while still in need of a publisher, has been printed and distributed by the authors and has been used by churches, by campus ministries, and in Erskine Seminary's introductory Systematic Theology course. Individuals have also given it to interested friends and colleagues. For students in crisis, it has served as a lifeline; for the earnest inquirer, it has served as an introduction to more comprehensive works; for those lacking the time or inclination for in-depth study, it has served as a point of orientation and a source of reassurance. It has been revised and updated several times, most recently in Spring 2008, with over 900 copies now in circulation.
Since different Christians approach these issues differently and come to different conclusions about how to relate the revealed truths of Scripture to the uncovered truths of science, no attempt is made to give a definitive, this-is-how-it-is recipe for reconciling the two kinds of knowledge. The tone is more personal, explaining the approach that is the most satisfying to us.
The booklet's thesis is that science and biblical Christianity, far from being antagonistic, as many suppose, are in fact complementary, harmonious, and even synergistic. The text discusses the different roles of science and Scripture, shows ways in which they complement and enhance one another, and then addresses apparent conflicts, both historical and modern. The warm and personal nature of the Christian faith radiates from its pages, along with the essence of the gospel.
The booklet's title is taken from a lovely saying quoted in the writings of Adolphe Monod (1802-1856): In creation God shows us his hand; in redemption he gives us his heart.
Click here to view the Table of Contents
The science-and-faith issue that is of most concern today is the relationship between the biblical account of creation and the scientific evidence for the origins of the universe and of the human species. Our position is that the biblical account is both accurate and authoritative but should not be read as a science text; that was not its purpose. God created the entire universe in a systematic and orderly process, but probably not in six 24-hour days. Similarly, God created human beings and breathed his Spirit into us, but that should not rule out the possibility that he used evolution to give rise to our physical bodies. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence for large-scale evolution has frequently been overstated (we don't yet know how much it can explain), while evolution has too often been tightly and unfairly linked to a naturalistic, atheistic worldview. That linkage must be broken, but the science of evolution, when divorced from those philosophies, need not and should not threaten our theology. Science may eventually be able to explain the origin of our physical universe and of the life it contains, but only back to a given starting point. It can never have ultimate answers. Nor can it explain the source of the fundamental scientific laws that form its basis. Nor can it say anything about what makes humanity truly unique: the fact that we have had God's Spirit breathed into us. Science can only address the physical, space-time world, not the spiritual and eternal realms where God dwells and where ultimate truth resides.
Constance K. Walker (Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry) is a part-time Senior Research Scientist in nuclear physics at Duke University. She is also the editor and translator of Living in the Hope of Glory (Phillipsburg NJ: P&R Publishing, 2002), a nineteenth century French devotional classic by Adolphe Monod; the principal editor of a new French edition of the same work under its original title, Les Adieux (Cléon d'Andran: Éditions Excelsis / Aix-en-Provence: Éditions Kérygma, 2006); and the editor and translator of three additional works by Monod (Vestavia Hills AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2009, 2010, and 2011).
D. Walker (1923-2010) was James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Physics at
Printed copies of the booklet are available on a
cost-reimbursement basis. Currently this is $5 / copy, which covers printing
and mailing costs (within the