Science and the Spirit

Science and the Spirit

A Pentecostal Engagement with the Sciences
Edited by Edited by James K. A. Smith and Amos Yong
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 08/26/2010
Format: Paperback 1 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22227-5
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What might be described as a Pentecostal worldview has become a powerful cultural phenomenon, but it is often at odds with modernity and globalization. Science and the Spirit confronts questions of spirituality in the face of contemporary science. The essays in this volume illustrate how Pentecostalism can usefully engage with technology and scientific discovery and consider what might be distinctive about a Pentecostal dialogue with the sciences. The authors conclude that Pentecostals, with their unique perspectives on spirituality, can contribute new insights for a productive interaction between theology and science.

Author Bio

James K. A. Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College.

Amos Yong is J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology at Regent University School of Divinity.


“Confronting questions of spirituality in the face of contemporary science, the essays in this volume illustrate how Pentecostalism can usefully engage with technology and scientific discovery and consider what might be distinctive about a Pentecostal dialogue with the sciences.”

“This book is a sign that the Spirit still initiates wonder. In fact, science may need to embrace the Spirit described in this book as much as Pentecostals need to embrace the natural wold also described herein. This volume puts the Ghost back in the machine—and in all creation, for that matter.”
 — Thomas Jay Oord, Northwest Nazarene University

“Argues for a healthy relationship between science and Pentecostalism.”
 — Denis Lamoureux, University of Alberta

“Science and the Spirit should be required reading not only for undergraduates committed to various Pentecostal traditions, but to all who have an interest in the engagement of faith traditions with the sciences in a manner that respects and deepens the appreciation of both while denying neither.”
 — Ralph W. Hood, Jr., The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

“This book illustrates something of the current, very preliminary, engagement that is beginning to take place between Pentecostal Christians and 'science' very broadly defined. It is a significant project.”
 — Douglas Jacobsen, Messiah College

“This is a very interesting collection of articles that explore questions of spirituality in the light of contemporary science and technology. . . . Each of these papers is helpful in addressing crucial questions at the interface of science and Pentecostal spirituality. ”
 — Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

“These books represent a body of important work and an ecumenical challenge for theologians and religious leaders . . . We can be grateful to the scholars and editors for making these resources available in a readable but richly researched set of volumes. Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter, 2011)”

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Science and the Spirit--Questions and Possibilities in the Pentecostal Engagement with Science / James K. A. Smith and Amos Yong

Part 1. What Hath Azusa Street to Do with MIT? The Big Questions
1. What Have the Galapagos to Do with Jerusalem? Scientific Knowledge in Theological Context / Telford Work
2. Is There Room for Surprise in the Natural World? Naturalism, the Supernatural, and Pentecostal Spirituality / James K. A. Smith
3. How Does God Do What God Does? Pentecostal-Charismatic Perspectives on Divine Action in Dialogue with Modern Science / Amos Yong

Part 2. The Spirit of Matter: Questions and Possibilities in the Natural Sciences
4. Does God Have a Place in the Physical Universe? Physics and the Quest for the Holy Spirit / Wolfgang Vondey
5. Does the Spirit Create through Evolutionary Processes? Pentecostals and Biological Evolution / Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson
6. Can Religious Experience Be Reduced to Brain Activity? The Place and Significance of Pentecostal Narrative / Frederick L. Ware
7. Serotonin and Spirit: Can There Be a Holistic Pentecostal Approach to Mental Illness? / Donald F. Calbreath

Part 3. The Human Spirit: Questions and Possibilities in the Social and Technological Sciences
8. Can Social Scientists Dance? Participating in Science, Spirit, and Social Reconstruction as an Anthropologist and Afropentecostal / Craig Scandrett-Leatherman
9. Is Integrating Spirit and Sociology Possible? A Postmodern Research Odyssey / Margaret M. Poloma
10. Is There Room for the Spirit in a World Dominated by Technology? Pentecostals and the Technological World / Dennis W. Cheek

List of Contributors

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