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The Spirit of Science: Are Pentecostals Ready to Engage the Discussion?

by Dr. Amos Yong


            William Kay, Jeff Hittenberger, and Nimi Wariboko have each in their own way attempted to further the discussion initiated by Science and the Spirit.[1] In this rejoinder, I will engage first and foremost with Wariboko’s probing comments and then use that as a springboard to take up some of the issues touched on by Kay and Hittenberger. In brief, I hope to advance the conversation by clarifying the “logic of pentecostal rationality” that Wariboko is querying for, and in the process show how such a stance has implications for the future of not only pentecostal engagements with the sciences but also the wider theology-and-science dialogue.

            Wariboko set himself the task of interrogating “the deep structure of” Science and the Spirit. Much of his response is concerned with identifying the foundational assumptions animating this project in particular, but that are then also presumed to inform the pentecostal encounter with science in general. He thus calls for further development of the “notion of pentecostal explanation,” for clarification with regard to the “four strictures of philosophy of science,” for articulation of the relationship between the pentecostal worldview – especially as manifest in the revelational (biblically oriented) ethos of popular pentecostalism – and scientific and other forms of explanation, for a more carefully formulated “theory of pentecostal rationality,” and for further discussion of how explicitly pentecostal modalities of thought and praxis can engage with the wider public/scientific square. In particular, he wonders if pentecostals, including the authors of this volume under review, are merely beholden to a “paradigm of knowledge required by transversal rationality which is yet to be pentecostalized” (Wariboko’s italics). In other words, in my read of Wariboko’s response, he is asking a twofold set of questions: what exactly is the nature of the pentecostal worldview or way of explaining and engaging the world, and can such be developed into a satisfactory philosophy of scientific rationality? Wariboko says that, “The voice is pentecostal, but the hand is not,” since in the end he thinks we are beholden to the interdisciplinary rationality of philosophers of science like J. Wentzel van Huyssteen and others.

            I would like therefore to take the next few pages to summarize what I think is an authentic “logic” of pentecostalism but then also show, perhaps paradoxically, how such a logic neither belongs only to pentecostalism nor is so parochially limited in its application to the theology and science encounter.[2] For over ten years, now, I have identified this way of viewing and interacting with the world as a “pneumatological imagination”[3] Let me highlight three interrelated aspects of this pneumatological mode of rationality – the theological, the experiential, and the historical – before clarifying its relevance to the pentecostal encounter with science.

            First, I make no apologies for insisting that at the heart of pentecostal spirituality is the triune God. Pentecostal life is fundamentally motivated by the encounter with the God of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. I accentuate the pneumatological dimension not in order to sever it from the christological or patrological but precisely in order to demand a fully trinitarian account. Without a robust pneumatology, Christian faith either only gives lip service to trinitarianism or, more usually, lapses back into a practical binitarianism. Pentecostal spirituality, however, emphasizes the presence, activity, and power of the Spirit. To be sure, there are charismatic excesses related to such a pneumatic focus, but these concerns should not lead us back to binitarianism but to be discerning in pentecostal belief and praxis. Central to such discernment of course is the apostolic witness in particular, and the biblical canon as a whole. There will be interpretive disagreements about how to understand the scriptural testimony (e.g., trinitarians and Oneness cannot even agree on the central aspects of the faith), but rather than invalidating biblical normativity, such discrepancies should urge a more sustained engagement with the Bible instead.

            Second, notice that I began already by zeroing in on pentecostal spirituality. There is an undeniable experiential dimension to pentecostal forms of Christian faith. The pneumatological imagination is thus fundamentally informed by experience. To be sure, experience potentially devolves into mere subjectivity, but the proper response is not to deny such experience (after all, there is nothing else by experience, from a Whiteheadian perspective) but to continuously and critically question it in communal debate. In any case, pentecostal experience can be understood here in a Wesleyan modality. If our Wesleyan friends insist that experience belongs as part of a quadrilaterial of interlocking sources for theological reflection – including Scripture, tradition, and reason – then the pentecostal-pneumatological imagination does not bifurcate experience and theology but insists that its encounter with the triune God is thoroughly experiential, both individually and communally, from start to finish. In other words, then, the pneumatological imagination is not merely cognitivistic or rationalistic, but also empirical and even pragmatic, informed by real life on the ground.[4]

            Last but not least, the biblical account and pentecostal experience both testify to the pluralism, polyphony, and multivocality of the Spirit’s witness. Biblical and human history both bear witness to the “many tongues of the Spirit” first made explicit in the Day of Pentecost narrative. I will make two comments about the plurivocity of the pneumatological imagination. First, the many tongues should ultimately tell of the wondrous works of God in Christ (Acts 2:11). Second, the many tongues will need interpretation and translation before their witness becomes clear. Thus the many tongues are not isolated voices. To be sure they remain distinct, resistant to being subsumed under a “universal language,” whatever that may be; but the diversity and plurality of tongues are yet somehow interrelated, allowing for cross-pollination and cross-fertilization, as it were. Thus the many tongues are not merely subjective but are intersubjective, with each potentially clarifying, correcting, and expanding the other. What emerges is an understanding of the wondrous works of God neither merely as objective nor as subjective, but as trans-jective – confirmed and even constructed through the many voices.[5]

            There is much more I can say about the pneumatological imagination, but this should suffice for us to begin to appreciate how it serves as a springboard for thinking about a pentecostal logic or rationality. Let me now clarify how such a pneumatological and imaginative logic enables the pentecostal encounter with science, and do so along following lines.

            First, as much as I understand Wariboko’s concern about articulating a pentecostal logic or rationality, I think the pneumatological imagination I propose is superior because of its experiential base. “Logic” itself has been historically understood as a cognitive enterprise; my construct of the pneumatological imagination, however, involves lived experience. Of course, we all now know that reason cannot be divorced from experience and hence any “logic” or “rationality” is already experientially infused. Thus we also can be more precise that the pneumatological imagination informed by pentecostal spirituality is shaped affectively by our desires, our hopes, and even our fears.[6] My point is therefore that the pneumatological imagination is not merely a cognitivist notion but brings with it both the experiential and historical dimension of human life.

            But Wariboko wants a bit more. Put pointedly, he wants to know how such a pneumatological imagination answers to the “four structures of philosophy of science” – viz., regarding the criteria of rationality, the explanatory function of the pentecostal worldview, the applicability of such a worldview “outside” of its religious domain, and the integrity of pentecostal explanations for outsiders.[7] Here I have two possible lines of response. First, it may be that a pneumatological imagination subverts the “strictures” of philosophy of science so that the most important questions are now different, or at least other than the ones Wariboko has identified.[8] Below I will suggest some ways in which the pneumatological imagination upsets the usual assumptions and approaches to the theology and science dialogue, to the point of turning the world “upside down,” if you will, in terms of the conventions of the theology and science encounter. For the moment, however, I think Wariboko deserves a second, more straightforward, line of response. In brief, the criteria of rationality have already been elaborated upon as the key features of the pneumatological imagination – the biblical-theological tradition, human experience, and historical pluralism – but in each case the criteria are fundamentally pneumatological. Further, I anticipate that the pneumatological imagination is able to take into account much more of the world as we experience it than other competitors. Thus it aspires to being, fully, a world-view, although given our epistemic finitude, such comprehensiveness will evade us who see through a glass dimly. In that sense, then, there is an eschatological dimension to the explanatory power of the pneumatological imagination, one that anticipates greater light to come precisely because we live in and are motivated by the Spirit of “the last days” (Acts 2:17).[9]

            But to what degree is such a pneumatological imagination thereby limited as “insider speak” for pentecostals and irrelevant to those who are not already persuaded of the pentecostal perspective? Here I confess that, to use a colloquialism, I wish to have my cake and eat it too. On the one hand, I suggest that the pneumatological imagination is resolutely pentecostal, even authentically so; rather than being a “view from nowhere” (which does not exist anyway), it is, I would argue, deeply informed by pentecostal experience and spirituality. On the other hand, however, I also wish to say that the pneumatological imagination is available to any or all who have been touched by the Spirit of Christ and of God; thus the pluralism of the many tongues include non-pentecostals and even perhaps non-Christians.[10] To be sure, understanding the many tongues is not easy, and not all tongues – not even all pentecostal ones – always declare the wondrous works of God in Christ since what pentecostals call “the flesh” often gets in the way. But sometimes, mysteriously perhaps, we do manage to speak the truth, and so do others, and when we are grasped by that, we are transformed. So is this merely “insider-speak”? I say no; neither is it merely a generic universal rationality. Rather, there is a sense in which the pneumatological imagination as I conceive of it is analogous to what philosophical theologian Philip Clayton calls “secular believing” – a modality of rationality that is not devoid of the substance of faith, but is also not bereft of the multiplicity of explanatory schemes at work in the hierarchy of sciences.[11] Hence, the pneumatological imagination is open to the plurality of scientific discourses as well, capable, if true, of including them and being informed by them, while perhaps also able to inform the scientific enterprise as well. Translation and interpretation will need to occur back and forth from the pentecostal/pneumatological side to the science side, and if I am right, then this dialogue will generate a research program that will persist to the Eschaton. Of course, if I am wrong, the pneumatological imagination will not be found useful for scientific purposes (and maybe not even for theological ones) and will eventually be jettisoned as no more than the relic of a misguided pentecostal theologian![12]

            I would like to highlight the expansiveness of the pneumatological imagination, however, by clarifying its differences from three other methodological proposals currently popular in the science and religion discussion. The first is the NOMA (or Non-Overlapping Magisteria) principle advocated by Stephen Gould and mentioned by Wariboko. NOMA in its most unsophisticated form – which Gould seems to hold – suggests that science and religion cannot conflict because they concern different (non-overlapping) domains: the natural world and the spiritual life, to put it crassly.[13] Each domain is thereby governed by its own criteria, forms of explanation, and, to use Wariboko’s terms, rationality. Let me say that there is something that I agree with about this proposal, in particular the notion that each domain, even each scientific discipline, does have a distinctive approach, perspective, set of assumptions, and mode of engaging the world. That said, however, I disagree that all of these domains are “non-overlapping.” To resort to the central metaphor of the pneumatological imagination, each discipline – or even science and religion as wholes (for convenience sake, although we know that there are various types of sciences and various forms of religious life) – are distinct and particular “tongues” that have the potential to come together in surprising ways, even possibly in the end declaring the wondrous works of God in Christ amidst (not leveling out) their cacophony. The eschatological and teleological aspects of the pneumatological imagination thereby invite us to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, one that neither excludes hard work nor minimizes reliance on the gifts of the unpredictable Spirit to bring about a translation of tongues so that we can then better assess and appreciate the truth claims that each perspective, discipline, or domain might proffer.

            There is another popular methodological proposal currently prevalent across wide swaths of Christian higher education especially in North America. Schools affiliated with the broadly evangelical Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) have often adopted a “faith and learning” integration model, one that emphasizes Christian commitments on the one side and disciplinary expertise on the other side. In some instances and in some departments of science in the CCCU, this has degenerated into a practical form of NOMA. As I have already addressed the strengths and deficiencies of how this models plays out, I will not comment on this trajectory.[14] I will, however, indicate that the “faith and learning” model is problematic in part because it already presumes a separation of a sort, even a dualism, between the two. The counter-question to me, then, is that if the pneumatological imagination does not distinguish between its religious and its scientific modalities of engagement, then does that mean that we are after a form of “religious science” or a form of “scientific religiosity”?

            This is an important issue that pentecostals who are intrigued with my pneumatological imagination need to consider in some depth. Part of the question is this: are we as pentecostals ready to develop our own distinctive pentecostal theology, but yet one that is also ecumenically relevant? Related to this, are we ready as pentecostals to articulate our own distinctive pentecostal hermeneutic, but yet one that also has purchase for the wider biblical studies guild? Or are we ready as pentecostals to tender a distinctly pentecostal philosophy, but yet one that also has the potential to impact broader philosophical debates?[15] How we answer these questions might have implications for thinking about a pentecostal approach to science.

            Now lest it now seems to others that I’ve gone off the deep end in advocating a uniquely “pentecostal science,” let me reassure everyone: I am doing no such thing. Science is a public undertaking – there can be no pentecostal or even Roman Catholic science, nor an Islamic science. But (and this is the key), there can be uniquely pentecostal approaches and questions on the scientific enterprise, just as there can be Roman Catholic or Islamic ones. The difference, however, is that such concerns and perspectives should also be relevant to any and all interested in the scientific enterprise, if in fact they matter. So having said this, I want to say that yes, there is a duality between pentecostal faith and learning – a duality that is like two sides of one coin with faith informing learning and vice-versa. But on the other hand, there is no dualism since life in the Spirit is embraced by faith and is not exclusive of learning and making collaborative exploration of life in a common world.

            But how then does this play our methodologically? Here I would like to compare and contrast the pneumatological imagination with the methodological naturalism that is pervasive across the sciences. To be sure, the pneumatological imagination cannot be metaphysically naturalistic insofar as it is theistically informed; but scientific method presumes a methodological naturalism, the argument goes, because otherwise, if God can intervene in our experiments, we cannot draw reliable generalizations. I have two brief lines of response, which open the methodological question up to the metaphysical level. First, my claim is that if science is interested in generalizations, exceptions should not be as threatening as we have made them out to be. Science that aspires to universality can operate just fine without absolute certainty; in fact, it actually presumes for its motor generalizations that admit of identifiable exceptions. This lack of certainly does not undermine science, however; rather, it keeps scientists working and it keeps science interesting. Second, I take methodological naturalism as a guideline, no more, no less. Anomalies simply lead us back to the drawing board, inviting us to reformulate our theories, reorganize our variables, and re-conduct our experiments. I do think it not only unavoidable but also good that theistic presuppositions can inform our scientific work, even within a enterprise of methodological naturalism, such that we ask questions and pursue research projects that are motivated by “if [theism], then [what]?” questions.[16] But to then call this methodological theism seems to me to be wide of the mark.

            This gets us to the heart of the issue: what explanatory work does theism play in science? Perhaps this is Wariboko’s ultimate question. We can say we are metaphysical non-naturalists all we want (i.e., we are metaphysical theists or, in my case, metaphysical pneumatologists, some might charge!), but if our theism or non-naturalism does not register itself in science, then it is irrelevant and is dismissed with Occam’s Razor. To put it bluntly: if the pneumatological imagination does scientific work, what kind of work is that? If not, then it is a type of parochial confessionalism that is not relevant for Pentecostalism’s or Christian theology’s engagement with science.

            My claim from the beginning, however, is that the pneumatological imagination is pluralistic, not dualistic. This means that it bypasses the dualisms between faith and learning, religion and science, metaphysics and methodology, etc. How? Well, through the Holy Spirit who created the world, is the breath of life in every person, and who has been poured out, even if eschatologically, on all flesh. So its not that I want to develop a pentecostal science; instead, I think that there are important perspectives that pentecostals can bring precisely because of their sensitivities to the presence and activity of the Spirit in the world which have the potential to make a difference in scientific work.[17] Thus the pentecostal perspective does not presume a sharp dualism between nature and grace, between the world and God, between matter and spirit. Rather, the Spirit overcomes the chasms established for conventional and cognitive purposes so that we can ask additional questions, undertake further research projects, and even embark on new issues and fields of inquiry because we now realize we inhabit a “spirit-filled” world.[18] Unfortunately as children of the modern world, pentecostals, like many other Christians, will cling to their dualisms. I affirm only a metaphysical dualism between God and creation, and a moral dualism between good and evil; but there is no cosmic dualism since we are of one stuff with the dust of the ground, with our environments, and with the cosmos.

It is here that I turn to two issues raised by Kay and Hittenberger in order to flesh out how I see the pneumatological imagination functioning non-dualistically. Kay uses Vondey’s chapter as a point of entry into the age-old debate about the nature of eternity and its relationship to time. Part of his argument is that the Einsteinian theory of relativity can help us affirm traditional theological truths about divine omniscience and the eternal begottenness of the Son and his co-eternality with the Father because it gives us some insight into how a God who is outside of space-time can interface with it.[19] In addition, however, I would add that a specifically pneumatological register prioritizes not necessarily the time and eternity relationship but the future in relationship to the present and even the past. This not only overcomes the traditional dualism between time and eternity but also one between present/past and future. In effect, the Spirit of the last days and of the resurrection is the eternity and futurity of God in the present, accomplishing the works of the coming kingdom in the now. Such a pneumatological imagination avoids the conundrums of the classical “eternity” while being comfortable with the Einsteinian relativity of temporality.

All three of our respondents also touched on the topic of evolution vis-à-vis pentecostalism. Hittenberger notes that there are scientific, hermeneutical, theological, and ethical issues in need of clarification. In particular, he is also concerned that the standard neo-Darwinian theory of evolution involves a nature red-with-tooth-and-claw thesis that both intensifies the theodicy question on the one hand and yet also renders even more vulnerable those who are less fit according to nature’s selection mechanisms. Science and the Spirit contributing authors Mike Tenneson and Steve Badger will be responding specifically to the scientific and hermeneutical aspects of the debate from out of their experience teaching origins in an undergraduate classroom for the last few decades. With regard to the theodicy issue, while I do not deny the element of “struggle” characteristic of the history of evolution, I also do not believe that the pre-human portions of that history should be depicted in moral terms and therefore that the theodicy concern is misplaced; at the same time, given our moral and theological compass, however, I reject the survival-of-the-fittest mentality and affirm instead a theology of weakness that embraces the most susceptible in our midst.[20]

From a more explicitly theological perspective, let me make two suggestions. First, I want also to register a rejoinder to the response of my colleagues Badger and Tenneson to the three reviews of our book. In their own response to the reviewers, Badger and Tenneson both have trouble with how the standard evolutionary account can deal adequately with the traditional doctrine of the imago Dei: if human beings have evolved from a common ancestor, did the image of God evolve with it or did it somehow appear in one human being or group of human beings while being absent from his, her, or their ancestors? These are not easy theological questions to be resolved, for sure, but let me suggest, as a theologian, that they need not be stumbling-blocks for the discussion. On the one hand, rejecting macro-evolutionary theory does not make it any easier to talk about the manifestation or appearance of the imago Dei; on the other hand, there are various theological models for thinking about the image of God, including the Irenaean version which views the full imago Dei to be what God’s recapitulative and redemptive work accomplishes christologically and eschatologically (rather than protologically according to the Edenic ha adam), or a Barthian understanding that defines the image of God christologically rather than anthropologically.[21] In either case, we can affirm the doctrine of the image of God – either soteriologically/eschatologically or christologically – without having to render concordant the biblical narrative of creation with scientific accounts or the origins of human beings.

Second, I also think that a pneumatological imagination does not need to see a dualism between the work of the Spirit and the creation, emergence, or evolution of the material world. The biblical witness, even in the Genesis narrative, is replete with associations of the Spirit with the natural world.[22] I would venture to say that a pneumatological approach to the doctrine of creation is compatible with almost any scientific account, at least among the ones that are currently contested (evolutionary creation, progressive creation, or even young earth creationism, although I confess do not personally believe the last named position is scientifically viable). But if the claim then is that the pneumatological imagination does no real work in the sciences of origins, whether biological, cognitive, paleontological, etc., then I would simply say that we are at the beginning stages of exploring how pneumatological perspectives can be registered in scientific research. I surmise that time is on our side.

But there is another perhaps more problematic issue: can the pneumatological imagination be falsified scientifically or empirically If not, then it is of little scientific worth, so the claim goes. Well, theism is also probably not falsifiable by science – we could falsify claims about the resurrection of Jesus, for example, if we could identify his dead body, but that does not, in principle, falsify theism – even though we should also acknowledge that the claims regarding the pneumatological imagination are theological rather than scientific claims.[23] More precisely, theistic perspectives are, arguably, at the root of the modern scientific enterprise.[24] All I am thus pleading for is a return to those roots with not only a theistic set of commitments but a more specifically pneumatological imagination. Perhaps there will be other scientific projects that will emerge out of such a focused pneumatic perspective. For example, even if we assumed an evolutionary worldview, a pneumatological imagination would insist that living creatures in general and human beings in particular are not merely dust, but, as Wariboko notes following my co-editor James K. A. Smith, enspirited dust. Hence a pneumatological approach would ask about the dynamics of evolution that enable the emergence and flourishing of such realities.

In the end, though, I think the pneumatological imagination provides a deeper, more fully trinitarian worldview that can help us make sense of the evolution of the world as illuminated by the sciences. Theism itself is important, but there are various versions, including non-Christian ones. All are helpful in some respect for the religion/theology and science dialogue. My claim is that a specifically pentecostal and pneumatological perspective, which is currently in its embryonic stages, holds forth additional promise for not only reinvigorating theology but also for engaging the sciences, concerned as these are with all aspects of the created order. In that case, why limit the scientific scope to only material realities understood reductionistically? Why not shine a scientific spotlight, inspired by the pneumatological imagination, onto all kinds of other realities that cannot be reduced to purely materialistic forces?

            It is in this spirit that I suggest we approach the “spirit of science,” the title of my rejoinder to Kay, Hittenberger, and Wariboko. The double entendre points to two aspects of the nature of the scientific enterprise. First, science is motivated to explore the horizons of the created order, which can never be exhaustively catalogued, in part because it is the product of an infinitely wise God, and in part because we live in a fluid and dynamic world of becoming. The latter is related to the pneumatological dimension of the world that is studied by the sciences, a dimension imbued with the divine breath, and therefore permeating that in which we live, move, and have out being. Second, then, we need, in effect, scientists who would be willing to ask some new questions in their work as scientists about the created world that they study. Thus the “spirit of science” is or should be bold and dynamic, always asking the next question in the attempt to follow the winds of the Spirit whose comings and goings are unknowable, even as there is a Spirit of science that leads us in the quest to know her and the world that she animates.[25] Thus we need pentecostals who are scientists to do their work as “Spirit-filled Christians,” even as we need pentecostals scholars and theologians to engage the sciences.

What exactly is at stake? If we do not nurture and empower scientific work in our movement, and if we do not enable and affirm theological reflection in a world of science, we will lose our best minds to other churches, to the academy, to science, and to the world. Are pentecostals ready for these tasks? Can we afford not to be? Come Holy Spirit…[26]


[1] James K. A. Smith and Amos Yong, eds., Science and the Spirit: A Pentecostal Engagement with the Sciences (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2010).

[2] Much of my thinking here is spelled out in greater detail in my The Spirit of Creation: Modern Science and Divine Action in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Imagination (Grand Rapids and Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011).

[3] First in my PhD dissertation and then much more fully developed in my Spirit-Word-Community: Theological Hermeneutics in Trinitarian Perspective (Burlington, Vt., and Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2002; reprint, Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2006).

[4] This opens up methodologically to the importance of inductive reasoning and experimentation; there is no reason why pentecostals, with their openness to interrogating their experiences, should be opposed to these fundamental elements of the scientific method, nicely described in Kay’s review article.

[5] Much of my work as a pentecostal theologian has been driven by this pluralism embedded within the pneumatological imagination – e.g., The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005); Hospitality and the Other: Pentecost, Christian Practices, and the Neighbor (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008); and In the Days of Caesar: Pentecostalism and Political Theology (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010).

[6] As suggested by James K. A. Smith, Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy (Grand Rapids and Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), ch. 3.

[7] I think the third and fourth “strictures” are two sides of one coin.

[8] Of course, the field of philosophy of science is itself constantly under negotiation; for an overview of the contested issues, for example, see the introductory essay by W. H. Newton-Smith, ed., A Companion to the Philosophy of Science (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2000), 1-11.

[9] This is the reason I opt for an eschatological and teleological theory of divine action in my chapter in Science and the Spirit, as Kay notes; I will return to explicate further implications of this view, though, in a moment.

[10] This is the basis for my pneumatological theology of religions – e.g., Discerning the Spirit(s): A Pentecostal-Charismatic Contribution to Christian Theology of Religions, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 20 (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), and Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003).

[11] Philip Clayton, Explanation from Physics to Theology: An Essay in Rationality and Religion (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1989), ch. 5, esp. 136-43. Clayton’s book also nicely deconstructs any notion that there is merely one form of “scientific rationality”: distinct but related forms of explanation persist across the various scientific disciplines.

[12] I am hopeful, however, about the former in that my article, “Discerning the Spirit(s) in the Natural World: Toward a Typology of ‘Spirit’ in the Theology and Science Conversation,” Theology & Science 3:3 (2005): 315-29, has already provoked discussion and elaboration: see Charles G. Conway, "Defining 'Spirit': An Encounter between Naturalists and Trans-naturalists," Theology & Science 5:2 (2007): 167-83.

[13] For a Christian version of NOMA, see Jean Pond, “Independence,” in Richard F. Carlson, ed., Science and Christianity: Four Views (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Academic, 2000), 67-104.

[14] See also my Christ-Centered and Spirit-Filled: The Christian University and the Renewal of Teaching and Scholarship (work in progress), ch. 1.

[15] The new Pentecostal Manifestos series (published by Eerdmans) includes books designed to engage precisely these questions, with an affirmative response. For a proposal about a pentecostal hermeneutics with relevance for theology and science discussions, see Yong, “Reading Scripture and Nature: Pentecostal Hermeneutics and Their Implications for the Contemporary Evangelical Theology and Science Conversation,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 53:1 (2011): 1-13.

[16] As explicated by Robert John Russell, Cosmology: From Alpha to Omega (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008), ch. 1. See also my work in the Godly love project that involves theologians and sociologists working together: Amos Yong and Matthew T. Lee, eds., Godly Love: Impediments and Possibilities (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, forthcoming), and Godly Love: Theological, Interdisciplinary, and Methodological Essays (Urbana, Ill., Northern Illinois University Press, forthcoming).

[17] See also Yong, Finding the Holy Spirit at the Christian University: Renewal and the Future of Higher Education in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Tradition,” in Vinson Synan, ed., Spirit-Empowered Christianity in the 21st Century: Insights, Analyses, and Future Trends (Lake Mary, Fla.: Charisma House, 2011), 455-76 and 577-87.

[18] See also Amos Yong, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and Kirsteen Kim, eds., Loosing the Spirits: Interdisciplinary and Interreligio-Cultural Mappings of a Spirit-Filled World (New York and London: Continuum Books, under review).

[19] I myself have written about the complexities involved in these matters: e.g., “Divine Knowledge and Future Contingents: Weighing the Presuppositional Issues in the Contemporary Debate,” Evangelical Review of Theology 26:3 (2002): 240-64, and “Divine Knowledge and Relation to Time,” in Thomas Jay Oord, ed., Philosophy of Religion: Introductory Essays (Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press/Nazarene Publishing House, 2003), 136-52.

[20] As I argue in my Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2007).

[21] On Irenaeus, see M. C. Steenberg, Irenaeus on Creation: The Cosmic Christ and the Saga of Redemption, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 91 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008); on Barth, see, David Cairns, The Image of God in Man (New York: Philosophical Library, 1953), ch. 13, esp. 169-72.

[22] See also Yong, ed., The Spirit Renews the Face of the Earth: Pentecostal Forays in Science and Theology of Creation (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Publications, 2009); cf. Yong “Ruach, the Primordial Waters, and the Breath of Life: Emergence Theory and the Creation Narratives in Pneumatological Perspective,” in Michael Welker, ed., The Work of the Spirit: Pneumatology and Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 183-204.

[23] So we don’t have to overturn Popper’s thesis – that scientific work should be falsifiable – even as we can see its theological, not to mention historiographic, applications; e.g., William K. Kay, “Karl Popper and Pentecostal Historiography,” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 32:1 (2010): 5-15.

[24] There is a host of literature in the history of science that argues this issue, with valiant but unsuccessful, in my opinion, attempts at counter-argument. See, e.g., Peter Harrison, The Bible, Protestantism and the Rise of Natural Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

[25] And I would urge that pentecostals who advocate an adventurous life in the Spirit should be the last folk to be concerned about this loss of modernist certainty and Enlightenment absolutes; see my “The Demise of Foundationalism and the Retention of Truth: What Evangelicals Can Learn from C. S. Peirce,” Christian Scholar’s Review 29:3 (Spring 2000): 563-88.

[26] Thanks to my doctoral student, Stephen Mills, for organizing this panel at the Society for Pentecostal Studies, to the three panelists for their comments on the book, and to Harold Hunter for publishing the responses and my rejoinder on the Cyberjournal. While I hope my response will resonate with the authors who contributed to Science and the Spirit, the preceding reflections represent my own opinion.


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