Mere Creation

A Review of Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals About God by Melissa Cain Travis

Despite the tireless efforts of intelligent design scientists and the game-changing work they've put forth, the idea persists in the popular mind (helped along by people who should know better) that science has eliminated any place for reference to a transcendent being to explain the natural world. The idea also persists that, notwithstanding a few minor gaps here and there, science is fully capable of eventually (soon and very soon!) providing a full understanding of the whole of knowable knowledge. And thus, in far too many venues, a lion's share of information is reduced to a propaganda-laden, either/or proposition: science or religion?

Into this morass of intellectual gross negligence steps Melissa Cain Travis with the refreshingly clarifying Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals About God. "Instead of asking whether or not science proves God," she suggests in the opening chapter, "the correct question to ask is whether or not his existence makes better sense of the available evidence."

After explaining scientism and parsing out the self-defeating logical fallacy at its root, Travis introduces what she calls "the Maker Thesis." The Maker Thesis puts forth two hypotheses: (1) that discoveries in the natural sciences support the inference of a Mind behind the universe with whom we share kinship, and (2) that discoveries also suggest that this Mind intended the success of the natural sciences. "In other words," she explains, "the origin and structure of nature, as well as the existence of the scientific enterprise itself, are best explained by a divine Maker who made us in his image and desired our awareness of him."

Travis then strings out an exquisite array of evidence, drawing from developments in cosmology, biology, and the earth sciences. And to round out a fitting philosophical treatment of this timeless subject, she also covers historical figures and currents in science, beginning with the Greeks and continuing through to such contemporary voices as John Lennox, Thomas Nagel, and Sam Harris. All of it adds up to a most helpful resource for people who prefer to evaluate evidence for themselves, as well as for Christians who want to equip themselves to engage with skeptics on terms they can relate to.

The entire endeavor is an exercise in what has historically been called natural theology, which from ancient times has held that the Maker of the world reveals something of himself to mankind through the world he has made. This is consistent with both Old and New Testament Scriptures, which tell us that all people have access to some knowledge about God because God has revealed it to us in creation. Think of the Maker Thesis as a tenet of "Mere Creation." It sets aside in-house debates between Christians, such as the age of the earth or how evolution may figure into origin narratives, yet goes beyond basic theism to include certain claims about humanity's special status in the world because of our relationship to the Maker.

"It has been said that the business of science is taking things apart to see how they work," writes Travis, "while the business of philosophy and theology is putting things together to see what they mean." With Science and the Mind of the Maker, she has expertly woven these disciplines into a formidable contribution to the science-and-religion discussion. For the sake of science and faith, don't pass this one up.

 is Deputy Editor of Salvo and writes on apologetics and matters of faith.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #47, Winter 2018 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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