Sam is currently (since 1997) Postgraduate Course Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Masters, Post Graduate and undergraduate courses in Biblical Studies, Theology, Church History and Ministry at Christian Heritage College School of Ministries. He completed a PhD at Griffith University in 2011 on Australian megachurches, followed by a book on megachurches: Origins, Ministry and Prospects with Wipf and Stock in 2013. In 2010 he completed a Certificate in Research Higher Degree Supervision, Griffith Institute for Higher Education (GIHE). He has been a fellow at Griffith University and currently tutors at the University of Queensland. He completed a Master in Arts at University of Queensland in 1997. He studied history at Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Science and Diploma of Education at the University of Tasmania. He is a registered research supervisor in colleges in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. He has published papers and conference proceedings at Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Amsterdam, Australian Religious History Association, Australian Sociological Association, the University of Queensland Theology Series and International Australian Studies Association (InASA), QUT. He has peer reviewed articles published in Journal of Adult Theological Education, Evangelical Review of Theology, Pacific Journal of Theology and other publications. He is a director of Australian New Zealand Association of Theological Schools (ANZATS). He is a committed Christian, actively involved in pastoral work, who seeks to integrate a living faith with a full engagement with academic life and social concern.
Description: This paper examines changes in ways order in the universe has been understood through history and what this has meant for theological understandings of God and his relationship with the universe. It considers the implications of the sense of order and aesthetics often identified in scientific study of the universe and the ways these insights have contributed to both scientific and religious belief. It also considers some of the reasons for resistance to the new insights that science and cosmologists have offered and the benefits of a closer relationship between science and religion.
This paper draws on scientific insights from quantum theory, and complexity models, and the implications that these have for a sense of meaning and purpose that some argue to be present in the universe. It considers the implications of the Cosmological Anthropic Principle and the possible implications for evidence of intelligent design. It considers the value and limitations of natural theology as a way of deriving theological insights from the sense of order that is observed in the universe. It considers the implications of the big bang model of the universe, and ways this might be interpreted theologically. It also considers the ways different understandings of science have interpreted the big bang in a variety of ways.
This paper also draws on my research into resistance and adoption of contemporary cultural insights in Pentecostal churches. It also engages with my experience in science teaching and science education. It also considers ways new astronomical insights have contributed to new theological notions associated with open theology and process theology and how these insights are being received and resisted by contemporary Christian groups.