Academics look at science and faith

Two North-West University (NWU) academics, Prof Frikkie van Niekerk and Prof Nico Vorster, are the proud editors of the transdisciplinary book  titled Science and Faith in Dialogue. It is published in open access format by AOSIS Scholarly Books. 

Prof van Niekerk was the main editor and also contributed a book chapter, and Prof Vorster was the co-editor.

This is the second book the two academics published. The first – Faith seeking understanding  – was published in 2022 with Prof Vorster as the main editor and contributor of a book chapter, and Prof van Niekerk as co-editor. 

They say they owe their gratitude and recognition to the authors with international standing who contributed to the two books.

Science and Faith in Dialogue presents a cogent, compelling case for concordance between science and theism. Based on scientific and natural theological perspectives, two pillars of natural theology are revisited: the Cosmological Argument and the Argument from Design.

Prof van Niekerk says the book explains how modern science provides undeniable evidence and a scientific basis for these classical arguments to infer a rationally justifiable endorsement of theism as being concordant with reason and science.

“Nature is seen as operating orderly on comprehensible, rational, consistent laws, in line with the conviction that God is Creator.

“Naturalistic explanations for the existence of the universe and sentient life are contested by showing that philosophical arguments against the Cosmological Argument and the Argument from Design are weak and that naturalistic theories purported to provide explanations lack explanatory power. The manuscript illuminates this basic thesis of the book by exploring fascinating natural scientific findings and their implication for world view,” says Prof van Niekerk.

He says the target audience of the book is theological scholars, natural scientists, and science philosophers.

Both academics are encouraged by the apparent interest in the book, judged by the downloads, as it appears on the AOSIS website:

The book Faith Seeking Understanding focuses on some of the central themes that drive the faith-science scholarly debate. Topics addressed are theoretical perspectives on the relation between faith and science, the creation narratives in Genesis, evolution and human origins, science and African Pentecostalism, science and transhumanism, science and traditional medicine, and existential anxiety and the human quest for meaning.

It posits that faith and science shares a mutual commitment to the search for truth. What differentiates them is the unique lenses they employ to find truth. In the end, we must take into account all the different pathways and lenses that lead to a better understanding of reality. 

About the editors

Prof Frikkie van Niekerk

Prof Frikkie van Niekerk is a professor in the Unit for Energy and Technology Systems (UETS) at the Faculty of Engineering. He holds a DSc in nuclear reactor science and postgraduate qualifications in physics and applied mathematics.

He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, and also serves as contracts director of the DSI/HySA Infrastructure Centre of Competency in hydrogen production, storage, reticulation and safety codes and standards at the NWU.


Prof Nico Vorster

Prof Nico Vorster is a professor of systematic theology at the Faculty of Theology. In particular, he studies the intersection between theological anthropology and social ethics in relation to moral identity formation. His most recent book is The Brightest Mirror of God’s Glory: John Calvin’s Theological Anthropology, published in 2019 by Pickwick Publications.


Submitted on Wed, 05/03/2023 - 15:07