Course Description

Did Christianity help or hinder the rise of science? Join Dr. Melissa Cain Travis as she leads a six-week exploration of the historical relationship between science and Christianity, beginning with natural philosophers and theologians of antiquity and ending with the Twenty-First century. The course runs from April 11 – May 16, 2024 and will include curated reading lists, online content, and six lecture and discussion Zoom sessions with Dr. Travis. Class size is limited, so register early!

Participants will examine topics such as ancient cosmologies, early Christian attitudes towards natural philosophy, the complexities introduced by the scientific revolution, the pre-Darwin heyday of natural theology, the religious and political dynamics surrounding the rise of Darwinism in America, and the Twentieth Century physics revolution. Along the way, special attention will be given to long-enduring myths and misconceptions that underpin the so-called “warfare thesis,” which claims that Christianity and science are mortal enemies rather than allies. This will include analyses of episodes such as the infamous Galileo Affair and the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of 1925. 

Students will come away with a foundational understanding of the complexities of the history of Christianity and science and the skill to address the distorted historical narratives that persist in the contemporary conversation.

Schedule of Live Sessions

  • Thursday, April 11, 7:00-8:30 pm (CT)
  • Thursday, April 18, 7:00-8:30 pm (CT)
  • Thursday, April 25, 7:00-8:30 pm (CT)
  • Thursday, May 2, 7:00-8:30 pm (CT)
  • Thursday, May 9, 7:00-8:30 pm (CT)
  • Thursday, May 16, 7:00-8:30 pm (CT)

Required Texts

  • Science & Religion: A Historical Introduction, 2nd edition, edited by Gary B. Ferngren
  • The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking, edited by Dennis Danielson
  • Dictionary of Christianity and Science: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science, edited by Paul Copan, et al.
  • All supplemental materials such as articles, book excerpts, videos, and links to online content will be provided.

Course withdrawal/refund policy: Registrants will have the opportunity to request withdrawal (and a full refund) within the first week of the course. After Wednesday, April 17, the enrollment fee becomes nonrefundable. 

Course Schedule

  1. The Cosmos in Early Christian Thought (Week 1)

  2. Medieval Christianity and God’s Book of Nature (Week 2)

  3. The Scientific Revolution (Week 3)

  4. Science and Natural Theology in the 18th and 19th Centuries (Week 4)

  5. Christianity and the Rise of Darwinism in America (Week 5)

  6. Science and Christianity Over the Past Century (Week 6)

About this course

  • $300.00
  • 20 lessons

Course Instructor

Melissa Cain Travis

Fellow, Center for Science & Culture

Melissa Cain Travis earned a PhD in Humanities with a philosophy concentration from Faulkner University, an MA in Science and Religion from Biola University, and a BS in Biology from Campbell University. She is the author of Thinking God’s Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility (2022), Science and the Mind of the Maker: What the Conversation Between Faith and Science Reveals About God (2018), and a contributor to The Story of the Cosmos: How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God (2019). In addition to teaching graduate courses for Colorado Christian University's Lee Strobel Center, she serves on the Executive Council of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and as President of the Society for Women of Letters. She is part of the core writers team for The Worldview Bulletin and the Christian Research Journal, and regularly lectures at universities, seminaries, and churches around the country.