MC's Crain publishes book about science and Christianity

MC's Crain publishes book about science and Christianity

Jan. 8, 2019

In an effort to help Christians better understand the integration of science and religion, Maryville College Professor of Biology Dr. Drew Crain has published Science & Christianity: Past, Present, and Future.

The book, published by the Maryville College Press, is designed for use in churches and Christian groups. A generous grant from the TBF Foundation paid for the publication and distribution of the book, which is available at no cost.

“Many studies have shown that the majority of mainstream church members today are unaware of how to react to science in the 21st century,” said Crain, who describes himself as both an enthusiastic biologist and a devoted Christian. “I believe that this is a result of a lack of discussion about science in churches, which is a consequence of the time in which we live.”

In the book, Crain explains that this lack of discussion results in at least 30 percent of Americans perceiving a conflict between science and their religious beliefs – which can result in people abandoning their faith or people of faith dismissing science.

“There are Christians who ignore or devalue science because they think their faith is inconsistent with it, and there are people who are averse to questions of faith or even considering questions of faith because they think science has the only truth,” Crain said. “Neither of those is a healthy option. The book targets both of those populations, showing that science and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. This book addresses science in relation to Scriptures so that parishioners will understand that the commonly perceived ‘conflict’ between science and Christianity is not a viable mindset.”

Crain said the book is consistent with Maryville College’s Statement of Purpose, which says “the College believes that it must listen attentively to all human voices so that it may hear the call of God not matter how God may speak.”

“Both science and faith are committed to the endeavor of seeking truth, and both are committed to critical inquiry,” Crain said.

Crain wrote the book during a recent sabbatical, condensing information from a Maryville College course called “Science and Religion,” which he has taught for several years. The interdisciplinary course aims to help students understand that science and Christianity are not in conflict.

“Maryville College and other places invested a lot of money and time to allow me to develop the ‘Science and Religion’ course, and I wanted to develop a resource that would continue to help others understand the integration of science and religion,” Crain said. “My main impetus is to show the average lay person that science is nothing to ignore, yet it is something that is pivotal to understanding and practicing our faith.”

The book is divided into five chapters that are designed to be studied during five sessions in a group setting:

  • Session 1: Our Historical Landscape: What is Truth?
  • Session 2: Creation
  • Session 3: Evolution: Hindrance or Help?
  • Session 4: Creation Care: Redemption of the Land
  • Session 5: The Future Landscape: Redeeming Truth

Each chapter features Bible verses that can be used to provide insight into modern scientific topics and background information on the topics from scientists, theologians and philosophers. References and footnotes are included throughout the book to allow for more in-depth study, and discussion questions are provided at the end of each chapter. Online resources include brief introductory videos and PowerPoint presentations for each of the five sessions.

“It is hoped that this study will provide Christians scriptural considerations and scholarly information on some of the most fundamental, modern scientific concepts (creation, evolution, conservation and transhumanism) so that both science and faith will be seen as critical components of a flourishing life,” Crain wrote in the book’s introduction.

A PDF of the book, as well as the introductory videos and PowerPoint presentations, are available online at Free hard copies are also available. To obtain a free hard copy, please email Crain at (and include your mailing address and desired number of copies).

Crain has taught in Maryville College’s Division of Natural Sciences since 1998. His main research area is environmental health, but his recent scholarly activities have turned to the compatibility of science and Christianity. He is passionate about his undergraduate students and has won Maryville College’s “Teacher of the Year” award several times. He can often be found teaching and leading hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He is active in his local church, where he has served as elder, pastoral council member and Bible study teacher for the past 20 years.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.