Faith, Fact and Wonder
Building Bridges between Science and Religion
In The Seven Pillars of Creation:
The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder (Oxford University Press),
Brown seeks to show how contemporary physics and biology and the Genesis
accounts of creation can illuminate each other. He also strikes a prophetic
note regarding humanity’s poor stewardship of the Earth accelerated by the
growth of technology. Properly understood, the Genesis story is not a license
to exploit but a command to care for creation.
Brown writes subtly, thoughtfully in his exploration of “virtual
parallels” and “consonances”—rather than clear connections—between “Let there
be Light” and the Big Bang. Although militant atheists and biblical literalists
will not be happy, Brown proposes a benign God working with and through the
elements of nature, not so much determining every outcome but allowing the
dynamism of natural selection to work over the eons. His ideas will be thought
provoking to those of us who would like to square the paradox of faith and empiricism,
the things we can know and those of which we can never be certain.
Near the opening of The Seven Pillars of Creation, Brown quotes biologist Edward O. Wilson, who wrote; “We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.” With The Seven Pillars, Brown suggests that lack of wisdom and discernment is behind those mutations of Christianity that see the world as nothing more than the stage for the passion play of human redemption, and a science whose heedless application has degraded the environment and threatened the future of humankind.