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History of Science from a Christian Perspective

  • Presbyterian Theological College 684 Elgar Road Box Hill North, VIC, 3129 Australia (map)
Dr Murray Adamthwaite

Dr Murray Adamthwaite

Purpose and aims of the unit

  • To show how the scientific enterprise is not only compatible with Christian faith, but that Christian faith entails such enterprise;

  • To show that through history Christian believers have so often led the way in scientific advance.

Unit learning outcomes

A. Achieve knowledge and understanding:

  1. Know something of the history of science and of scientific revolutions, concentrating on astronomy and physics;

  2. Know and appreciate the role of Christian believers in the advancement of science;

B. Skills

Be able to engage intelligently with non-Christians in regard to the pursuit of science.

C. Application

Apply perspectives from the unit for personal understanding and in-ministry settings.

Unit Content

Science in Antiquity: Babylonians, Early Greeks, and the Alexandrian School

Science in the Middle Ages: Ptolemy’s scheme; Neo-Platonism and Aristotelianism; Bede and Grosseteste;

Scientific Revolution I: “Oxford Calculators”; Copernicus; Galileo; Newton;

Post Revolution: Royal Society; Atomic theory; New Planets;

Scientific Revolution II: Overthrow of Classical physics; Planck and Einstein; Relativity becomes Relativism.

Delivery Methods

On-Campus lectures with PowerPoint presentations

Class dates

7pm on the following Wednesday evenings:

  • September 4th

  • September 11th

  • September 18th

  • October 16th

  • October 23rd

  • October 30th

Assessment Methods

Two short essays on:

  1. Why did science arise and take hold in Western Europe and nowhere else?


  2. In light of what you have learned from this course construct a programme to explain to a congregation how to respond:

    a. to the “climate change” scare;


    b. to the allegation that Creationsim is merely repeating the Galileo episode.

Set text and recommended reading

  • S.L. Jaki, Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe, 2nd Ed., Gondolin, 2017.*

  • R. Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of Modern Science, Regent College, 2000*

  • T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 4th Ed. with Introduction by Ian Hacking, University of Chicago, 2012

  • T.S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution, Rev. Ed., Harvard University, 1992

  • A.C. Custance, Science and Faith: The Doorway Papers, Zondervan, 1984

  • P. Harrison, The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science, Cambridge, 2001

Study options

This unit is available to attend for personal development, or can be taken for credit towards the English certificate unit at any ACT affiliated college.

The unit is approved to teach at the certificate level

  • Certificate of Theology

  • Academic Studies in Theology Certificate (ASTC)



Cost to audit this intensive is $110.00. To enrol, click the ‘Enrol Now’ button, below.

Audit registrations must be received online, on or before August 28th, 2019.


Cost to attend this intensive for credit is $220.00. To enrol, click the ‘Enrol Now’ button, below.

Credit enrolments must be received online, on or before August 28th, 2019.


Earlier Event: 2 September
Later Event: 14 September
PTC Open Day!