Advancing theological and scientific literacy for today’s ʿulamāʾ
3.1.4 Scripture, Evolution, and the Problem of Science
Crab on the Galapagos Islands. Photo Credit: Pedro Szekely, 2018.
We can draw three insights from Augustine’s work and approach. First, the problem of apparent conflict between the Bible and science is not a new problem but rather a perennial one, nearly as old as the Christian Bible itself. Secondly, Augustine regarded it as important to let the scientific evidence have a say in how the Bible should be interpreted. He did not assume that the science was wrong simply because it contradicted what he took to be a literal reading of Scripture (Biologos 2010).
Christianity and other scriptural traditions must confront similar questions to Islam when it comes to dealing with contemporary scientific issues and theology. No issue causes as much trouble for Christianity today as evolution. History informs us, however, that whereas today the theory of evolution may be an acute issue, astronomy caused similar problems in the past. This article looks at the approaches taken by St. Augustine and John Calvin. How could these approaches be used today?
The Madrasa Discourses project proposes that a conciliation of traditional Islamic thought with contemporary scientific and philosophical worldviews can result in orthodox affirmations of human dignity essential for peaceful coexistence in a pluralistic world.