In an interview with Bruce Glass, Peter Enns (2013) reports that Glass stated the following of his work "Since I am agnostic I have no personal stake in Christianity's concordance with the findings of science. I have no reason to contort either of them to make them compatible. So hopefully, readers of all persuasions can conclude that the book provides an impartial analysis of the, often underappreciated, intellectual depth of the Christian faith as it is aligned with the natural world that we see around us." (p.1) Glass states that he addresses many of the "theological implications of evolution, including apparently "random" events occurring within a world under God's sovereignty, the idea of a "fallen world" with humans evolving as a population, and how evolution does not preclude the possibility of a higher order of moral reasoning that results from a direct, spiritual connection to a living God. Included is a discussion of how the paths to spiritual knowledge and scientific knowledge are so very different, and yet, these two kinds of enlightenment can result in fully compatible layers of understanding our world." (Enns, 2013, p. 1)
Enns asks Glass in the interview whether Glass holds in his view on the Anthropic Principle or "fine-tuning" of the laws of physics that permits the evolution of intelligent life, as embraced by many Christians -- overlooks the importance of recognizing the original concept of that Principle. What do you mean by that?" (2013, p.1) Glass answers by stating that it is very clear that "if God had intended for us to find "proof" of His existence or telltale signs of his handiwork through empirical analysis of the natural world, then it would have been very obvious a very long time ago. The Bible tells us that faith doesn't really work like that. Recognizing the remarkably precise quantitative values inherent in the laws of physics and the properties of our physical universe is indeed a useful way of envisioning God's creative order. We should be wary, however, of declaring the discovery of empirical evidence of God's handiwork. There are two reasons for this: The logic doesn't follow, and God doesn't mark His trail. Among the infinite number of possibilities, the likelihood that our universe would exist as it does (capable of evolving and sustaining life) is unfathomable. Such an outcome is most improbable. We might recognize, however, that each and every other possible outcome for a universe is equally improbable. The only reason we think our universe is so special is because we have a personal stake in the matter. Only a God capable of producing all outcomes could objectively prefer one to another." (Enns, 2013, p. 1)
Glass states that the founding of faith "upon empirical evidence" results in one's faith being "precarious"…Throughout much of history, men have pointed to misunderstood natural phenomena as evidence of God. During the period that came to be known as the "Age of Reason," claims of scientific evidence of God became rather commonplace. The unintended result was that, as scientific discovery progressed, the discrediting of such claims soon became the first seemingly rational basis for atheism. Of course not everyone fell into that trap, inadvertently set by such great thinkers as Descartes and Newton. The renowned mathematician Blaise Pascal, for example, insisted that Augustine and Aquinas had been correct in their claims that God is undetectable in nature. Martin Luther too had frequently written of what he called the "masks of God" by which God can make Himself known spiritually, while remaining hidden from our direct observation. As Jesus had explained to "doubting" Thomas, "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (Enns, 2013, p. 1) Enns also asks Glass whether recognizing the "extraordinarily precise values of the laws of physics that enable the evolution of human life be recognition of God's imprint on nature -- clear evidence of God's imposition of the kind of order on the universe that provides for our very existence?" (Enns, 2013, p. 1) Glass answers him by stating: Yes and no. I think it's important to recognize a clear distinction between spiritual knowledge and empirical or scientific knowledge. These two kinds of knowing can be thought of as distinct, but if rightly considered, fully compatible layers of understanding our world. Scientific understanding is of course gained through the study of nature by means of the scientific method, while spiritual insight, on the other hand, is gained through tradition and revelation -- through Scripture and an intrinsic spiritual connection to God. As Pascal and many others have noted, knowing God is not a matter for the head, it's a matter of the heart." (Enns, 2013, p. 1)
Summary and Conclusion
While the work of Glass may not bring full reconciliation between religion and science, it is certain that his work has at least given momentum to the conversation between the two and it is certain that the examination of that which Glass has presented in his book will be the source of much lively discussion and motivating and advancing more research in this area of inquiry.
Enns, P. (2013) Exploring Evolution and Christian with an Agnostic. Patheos. 7 Feb 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2013/02/exploring-evolution-and-christianity-with-an-agnostic/
Glass, B. (2012) Exploring Faith and Reason: The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution. Retrieved from: http://exploringfaithandreason.com/excerpts/
Pitinatto, K. (2014) Religion and/or Science? Winter 2014