top of page

About the Author

Pastor Terry Defoe has spent more  than 40 years researching the relationship of mainline science and young earth creationism

Terry Defoe

Educated at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia (BA, Sociology, 1978), Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon Saskatchewan (M.Div., 1982), and the Open Learning University, Burnaby British Columbia (BA, Psychology, 2003). Defoe served as a chaplain at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Terry has been interested in the science / faith dialog for more than 30 years. His intellectual journey has taken him from young earth creationism to an evolutionary perspective.​

 

Shortly after he retired, Terry published Evolving Certainties: Resolving Conflict at the Intersection of Faith and Science which received endorsements from scientists affiliated with the BioLogos Association, including a foreword from its first president, biologist Darrel Falk of Point Loma University in San Diego, as well as scientists holding membership in the American Scientific Affiliation, a group Defoe joined in 2019.​ Recent research shows that many young people consider the evangelical church to be out of touch with scientific reality.

 

Enhancing scientific literacy among evangelicals is, in Defoe's opinion, critically important. Re-establishing trust between science and religion is extremely important in today's highly polarized world. Defoe believes it is time to bring these discussions out into the open, and through a process of respectful conversation, raise awareness and hopefully, in the long run, increase acceptance of scientific expertise among conservative people of faith.

“Of the reading of many books…” 

Ecclesiastes 12:12

 

Another book on science and religion? 

 

Terry Defoe’s decades-long experience with young earth creationism (YEC) is a lived experience. His denomination – Lutheran Church – Canada (LCC) – is an officially young-earth creationist denomination. Despite the very real threat of sanctions, and in consultation with denominational leadership, Pastor Defoe assembled an overview of the various ways people of faith have responded to science in general and to evolutionary science in particular – from young-earth to old-earth, from theistic to atheistic, from Christian to non-Christian, from intelligent design to evolutionary creationism. Evolving Certainties is designed to inform rather than persuade. 

 

The key to a rewarding experience with this challenging material is to take sufficient time to work through it, pausing once in a while to process what you’ve read and to find a group of people with whom you can dialogue, on both sides of the issue. The following questions were posed to Pastor Defoe by Pastor Bill Cwirla of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (sister synod to LCC).. These questions were asked near the end of an hour-long podcast (The God Whisperers, Episode 345) discussing Evolving Certainties. The podcast link is found here… And a transcript of the episode is on this Resources page. 

 

PASTOR BILL CWIRLA: “So they get your book, 300 and some pages, great stuff. What's their take home? What's your hope, your prayer, your vision for the openminded reader who's curious, wants to know more, wants to know why this Lutheran pastor pulled all this stuff together at potentially cost to his reputation? What's the take home? What do you want them to get out of it?”

 

PASTOR TERRY DEFOE: I want people to read it and say, “You know, I didn't know that. You've filled in some details for me. I can look at science in a new way, I don't have to be afraid of it. I can enrich my faith with this.”

I just want people to realize that there's so much more to this than they may have thought. And there's folks that you can talk to about it. There are opportunities to open up discussion, to open up discussion in our churches with our young people and so on. This is a really hot topic. People are interested. Professor Kenneth Miller, an active Catholic, said whenever he speaks on a radio interview-type show, the switchboard lights up as soon as the topic of evolution is mentioned. People get quite nasty. They shouldn't, but they do. There's a lot at stake with this. There's no doubt about that. But I would say, you know, just bear with it, be patient. There are some interesting things to learn. And at the end of the day, my God is more awesome now than ever before.

 

My view of scripture has been enriched. I've got some things I want to share with people. I realize they're controversial. There may be some rotten tomatoes coming my way. I'm expecting some of that. But, as I said at the end of my Preface in Evolving Certainties: “If, at the end of the day, our interpretation of the scriptures is more accurate, our doctrines have been appropriately reviewed, our respect for science has grown, and our personal faith has been enriched, then the excursion outlined in this book will have been worthwhile.”

Evolving Certainties: Resolving Conflict at the Intersection of Faith and Science

 

Evolving Certainties by Terry Frederick Defoe is a thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between faith and science. In this book, Defoe delves into the complex and often contentious topic of evolution and its impact on religious beliefs. 

Here are some key points from the book.

 1. Science and Theology: Defoe examines whether science should influence theology. He grapples with questions like this. Is the Bible the book of science as well as spiritual truths? These questions have been particularly controversial among people of faith.

 

2. Scientific Discoveries: The book reviews major scientific discoveries since the scientific revolution. These discoveries directly impact traditional interpretations of the Bible's creation accounts. For example, Nicolaus Copernicus's proposal that the Earth orbits the Sun set off alarm bells in the 16th century. Similarly, Charles Darwin's work in the 19th century challenged existing beliefs. 

3. Evolution and Faith: Defoe argues that God may have used evolutionary processes to accomplish ongoing creative activity. Rather than challenging faith, evolutionary science has the potential to enhance it. As humanity uncovers evidence from disciplines like cosmology, geology, and biology, we gain insights into God's creative activity.

 4. Hermeneutics: Correctly understanding the Bible's accounts of origins is primarily a hermeneutical task. By interpreting the Bible text accurately, we can reconcile scientific evidence with faith. 

Evolving Certainties invites readers to explore the intersection of faith and science, encouraging a deeper understanding of both. 

The God Whisperers

Listen to the podcast episode featuring Rev. Terry Defoe and hosts Rev. Craig Donofrio and Rev. Bill Cwirla 

 

600x600bb.jpg
God Whisperers podcast 345 copy (1).gif
bottom of page