I recently listened to a lecture by Keith Ward entitled “Misusing Darwin.” In this lecture, Ward makes a very compelling argument about what he sees as the unfounded assumption that scientific methodology de facto requires (or presumes, at least) a commitment to philosophical materialism.

While there is a lot of ground covered in this lecture, one section was particularly interesting to me. Here, Ward launches into a discussion about some common misconceptions about the compatibility of science and Christian theology. As a background, Ward notes the [potentially] unfortunate state of modern, popular Christian theology about “origins” in the West and its commitment to a literalist interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation. As a means of contrast, Ward notes (rightly) that this theological position is actually quite a modern development: historically, theologians have classically interpreted the Genesis accounts allegorically–or at least not “literally.”

So from where does this often rabid allegiance to a literalist interpretation of the Genesis account come? Ward suggests that such a hermeneutic is precisely associated with the rise of scientific methodology.

And this is not surprising. The advent of scientific methodology was borne out of a radical shift in philosophy in the West. The Enlightenment brought with it a deeply More >