Unnatural Enemies by Kirsten Birkett
By Pam Tailyour, 21 Jul 2020
This really is not my usual pick and I wondered what I’d got myself in for when I started it. When I showed it to my mother in law on video chat, she giggled! My thoughts were confirmed – uh oh. But…I think I actually enjoyed it.
Birkett starts by laying out what science is – the ideas of science we have, science as a practice, science as a tool and science as a world view. The author simply sets you up and lets you know exactly what she’s discussing here. Great. Just simple enough for me.
Part two is about Christianity – familiar ground! – all about the God of the Bible, creation and why it is all subjected to him, how God’s character makes science possible and how Jesus Christ himself encapsulates science!
I was most gripped by the last three chapters – how Science and Christianity grew apart and how really, they work best together.
I found it to be a helpful (short) book that clearly introduces key moments and characters from Science’s history, outlines how it was fought for as a worldview and displays what science can accomplish and what it cannot.
However it is not an attack on the practice of science! Birkett encouraged me to think beyond what I had naively thought: not so much that ‘God exists’ must be an obvious conclusion to science, but more that ‘in His brilliance, God is who makes science possible, enjoyable and beautiful!’ Indeed, in His brilliance and infinite wisdom, the Lord of the universe has created a world that is orderly in its operation, investigable, rich in undiscovered knowledge and useful for his grand purposes. God is kind to give humankind the intellect and interest in His world in order to carry out the practice of science in uncovering new information from and about the physical world He made. He is kind to set boundaries as to when and what can be found out about His world. He is also kind to give human kind a way to understand what it has found, a way to think of how to use and redeem its discoveries and most of all: Christ for whom it was created, by whom the created world is upheld and sustained (Colossians 1:17), and will be remade.
Emile Fauget said: ‘The art of reading is the art of thinking with the help of others.’ That’s what I most enjoyed about this book. I don’t know much about Emile Fauget, but I know this quote to be true. Birkett has helped me to think.