The Rev. Dr. Greg Cootsona

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)
Organization: Science for the Church

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Cootsona is Project Co-director of Science for the Church and Lecturer in Religious Studies and Humanities at California State University at Chico. He formerly served nearly 18 years as associate pastor for young adult ministries and adult discipleship in New York and Chico, California.

Greg studied comparative literature at U.C. Berkeley and theology at Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), the Universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg, as well as Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union (the latter where he received his Ph.D.).

He is the author of seven books, including Mere Science and Christian Faith, C.S. Lewis and the Crisis of a Christian, and most recently, Negotiating Science and Religion in America. Greg is passionate about the power of connecting mainstream science with “mere Christianity” to develop a flourishing, full alive, faith.

He and his wife, Laura, live in Chico, California and have two young adult daughters. Besides hanging out with his family, he loves to drum, read great books, hike and bike through the beautiful Chico hills, and drink good coffee.

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Greg Cootsona

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The Banana Slug, the Leaves, and the Triune God

Tuesday May 21, 2024
In his Trinity Sunday sermon, Dr. Greg Cootsona says that realizing that our Triune God is with us might be as simple as pausing and taking in the beauty that’s around us. So let's pay attention.

Articles by The Rev. Dr. Greg Cootsona

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John Calvin and Science—So Many Surprises

Friday April 12, 2024
Calvin, the 16th century Protestant Reformer, not only asserted that we can discover truth in a variety of places, but that if we don’t accept the truth we find, we actually disgrace our God. At the time, he was thinking of secular philosophies. Still, since one of those philosophers, Lucretius, pondered “the nature of things,” or “natural philosophy” (the name for science until the 1830s), it’s really not a stretch to say that Calvin believed we needed to engage true scientific insights no matter the source.

Greg Cootsona: Expanding the Conversation

Tuesday August 01, 2023
I’ve become fatigued by the ruts in which science and religion often become bogged down. Are the two in conflict or not? Is it Genesis 1 or evolution? Are Christians for or against technology? To gain traction and be able to shift gears, I’ve been reading some books recently that lead to fresh, new views on science and religion, especially for those of us in the church.

Greg Cootsona: Another Way of Slicing the Science-Faith Pie

Tuesday May 30, 2023
It’s easy to fall into just a few ways of relating science and faith. Classically, physicist and theologian Ian Barbour set out four categories: conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration.

Greg Cootsona: The Neuroscience of Teaching Christian Formation

Tuesday March 14, 2023
To have our minds “consolidated,” to be integrated, is certainly one important way that we are “transformed by the renewing of the mind.”

Greg Cootsona: How Technology Disciples Us: An Interview with Felicia Wu Song (Part 2)

Tuesday January 31, 2023
We’re continuing this week with part two of Greg’s interview with Westmont College sociologist Felicia Wu Song, especially focusing on her ideas about how technology forms and even disciples us.

Greg Cootsona: How Technology Disciples Us: An Interview with Felicia Wu Song

Tuesday January 24, 2023
Dr. Felicia Wu Song is a cultural sociologist of media and digital technologies and professor of sociology at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She researches digital technology and how our use of social media and digital devices alters us. I interviewed her about what it means for the use of technology within Christian spirituality and congregational life.

Greg Cootsona: The Klarity of AI

Tuesday January 17, 2023
I commonly hear concerns that emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will compromise our humanity. In his brilliant book, Klara and the Sun, the Nobel Prize-winning author, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines life from inside the head of an AI—or more particularly an AF, or “artificial friend,” named Klara....

Greg Cootsona: Hope in a Hopeless Time

Friday December 02, 2022
For Advent—a time dedicated to waiting for the birth of Jesus—Isaiah 9 is a great read. It’s spoken to a people who were lacking hope, much like we are today. And right in the midst comes this inbreaking of the good news.

Greg Cootsona: Six Ways the Church Avoids Fantasyland

Tuesday October 18, 2022
One of the biggest downfalls in church leadership is the failure to listen. Specifically, as a pastor, I need to hear what people outside the church think of our Christian witness.

Greg Cootsona: How Do We Really and Truly Relate our Faith with Science?

Tuesday August 30, 2022
How do we bring science to our faith? And what difference does it make in our church ministries? I’m certainly fascinated by the first question, but it’s the second one I’d like to focus on here. Why? Because it’s true about actions—they do in fact speak louder than words.

Greg Cootsona: How Judaism Engages Science: My Conversation with Geoff Mitelman

Tuesday August 16, 2022
Last week, I looked at how Islam interacts with modern science. In this installment, I’m talking with Geoffrey Mitelman, a friend and colleague, who’s also the director of Sinai and Synapses, a Jewish science and religion organization.

Greg Cootsona: How Islam Engages Science: An interview with Nidhal Guessoum

Tuesday August 09, 2022
Writing a book on science and religions (in the plural) introduced me to one of the key thought leaders on Islam and science, Algerian-born astrophysicist and NASA scientist Nidhal Guessoum. In my interview with him, you may be fascinated to learn that Islamic leaders grapple with some of the same anti-science attitudes that Christian leaders face.

Greg Cootsona: A Conversation with Ted Peters on Theology and Science

Tuesday July 19, 2022
Ted Peters is Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, which is a part of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and affiliated with the world-renowned Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. He also serves as a Lutheran pastor. In other words, he brings together both pastoral ministry and academic theology.

Greg Cootsona: Time and Eternity: In Appreciation of Robert John Russell, Bridge Builder

Tuesday May 31, 2022
“My dad died when I was 12. And so, I asked the family’s priest from our local Episcopal parish, ‘Will I see my father in heaven?’” The priest’s answer shocked and dismayed this thoughtful, sensitive young man. “Bob, because of science, we don’t believe in heaven anymore.” Robert John (“Bob”) Russell recounted this poignant story recently...

Greg Cootsona: Do You Mind? Loving God with All Your Mind

Tuesday May 03, 2022
I was recently asked to preach on the final phrase of the Greatest Commandment according to Jesus: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with… with all your mind.’” (Matthew 22:37). Afterward, a neuroscientist in the congregation told me he rarely cries in church, but these words hit home. I hope the message will also resonate with you.

Greg Cootsona: “But I Still Love Technology…” (An Easter Meditation)

Wednesday April 13, 2022
Our resurrection hope is both personal and cosmic: God will “transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory” (Phil. 3:21) and “create new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17).

Greg Cootsona: Meditating on the Two Books

Wednesday February 23, 2022
We live in a world defined by science and technology, and sometimes it’s hard to see how and where our faith fits. The amazing discovery we’ve made at Science for the Church is that science and technology can dramatically enhance our faith.

Greg Cootsona: Devotional: Beauty Is God-Deep

Wednesday February 02, 2022
I’m currently teaching a Bible study called “On a Crash Course with the Old Testament.” It began at Genesis 1 and thus with faith and science. What was immediately intuitive to my students?

Greg Cootsona: Activated: A Conversation with Technologist Matt York

Wednesday January 26, 2022
Pretty much every day, I rack my brain to find examples for how churches can connect with science and technology to enhance their ministries. On one such day, I thought of my friend Matt York, Executive Director of illuminAid...

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: Joseph--No Ordinary Joe

Tuesday November 30, 2021
I’m fascinated by the connections between science and Christian faith. In fact, I believe science-informed faith is vital in our scientifically and technologically saturated world. But some conclude that they can’t believe in the Virgin Birth (or as I was taught, the “virginal conception” of Jesus) because of science.

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: Grateful for Gratitude

Tuesday November 09, 2021
While writing this article, I got up from my desk and walked outside. Even in the midst of a lingering pandemic, the autumn leaves seemed to wave and greet me. Before I knew it, I was filled with gratitude.

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: Losing Your Religion… Over Science?

Wednesday October 20, 2021
At its best, true Christian spirituality is finding, not a hallway, but a home. And, as far as I can tell, science and Scripture can help us arrive there.

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: Spirituality, Meet Science

Tuesday October 05, 2021
Here’s what I’d like to hear when I tell friends and others that I bring science to church—“Wow! That’s amazing.” And yet—to be honest—here is what I often hear—“What? Hmm… I’m not sure what that means.”

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: Flourish Through Your Work - An Interview with Luke Bobo

Tuesday September 21, 2021
Luke Bobo is Vice President of Networks at Made to Flourish (MTF), an organization that seeks to empower pastors “to better engage, equip, and encourage each other as they integrate a more robust theology of faith, work, and economics into their churches.”

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: C. S. Lewis on Prayer in a Scientific Age

Tuesday September 07, 2021
Last week Drew launched this series on the “scientific study of prayer.” Here’s another challenge. The picture of the world that emerged from modern science was hostile to prayer, particularly the kind that makes “petitions” (i.e., requests) of God....

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: Unforced Rhythms of Grace: Finding rest as summer comes to a close

Wednesday August 04, 2021
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” --The Message, Matthew 11:28-30

Greg Cootsona/Science for the Church: Following the Sunbeam Back to the Sun

Wednesday July 07, 2021
Why is our relationship with nature so broken, and can it be fixed?

Greg Cootsona: Talking with Mako Fujimura about Art, Science, Beauty, and Justice - Science for the Church

Friday June 11, 2021
I met world renowned painter Mako Fujimura sometime in the late 1990s when I was a pastor at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. That’s when I began to realize he is a gifted and unique artist and a profoundly thoughtful Christian theologian. Here are highlights from our hour-long conversation.

Greg Cootsona: The Benefits of a Messy Christianity - Science for the Church

Wednesday May 19, 2021
We can bring the questions and insights of science to church and admit that sometimes, yes, the interaction is messy. But the payoff is great.

Greg Cootsona: Why I Bring Science to Church - Science for the Church

Wednesday May 05, 2021
Having served as ordained clergy for 25 years, I’ve learned that science can present either roadblocks to belief or roadways to a deeper engagement with God. Ultimately, I took that second option.

Greg Cootsona: In Praise of John Polkinghorne - Science for the Church

Wednesday April 07, 2021
The Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, an internationally recognized mathematical physicist who stepped down in his late forties from a Cambridge University professorship to become an Anglican priest, will undoubtedly remain a preeminent voice in faith and science. He died March 9th at age 90.

Greg Cootsona: When the Body Can Gather Again

Tuesday March 16, 2021
When the effects of the pandemic subside—and when we can safely do so—should we go back to church? What do science and Scripture say?

Greg Cootsona: Scientists, Your Work Matters to God

Wednesday February 10, 2021
In preparation for this newsletter, I emailed a good friend who’s a scientist. I posed a fairly simple question, but he poured out his heart in a long email: “How was I treated in the church as a scientist? Man, that’s a trigger question for me. The simple answer is, not very well. Sadly, our long history of often experiencing rejection or simply being ignored is disillusioning for me.”

Greg Cootsona: A Recipe for Enduring Success - Science for the Church

Thursday January 28, 2021
What’s the recipe for lasting change in discussing thorny topics in general, but especially those in faith and science—whether human origins, climate change, or racism? The recipe, we’ve found at Science for the Church, includes endorsers, translators, and storytellers.

Greg Cootsona: Keeping the Change - Science for the Church

Wednesday January 20, 2021
This is the problem of persistence and change: We tend to go back to old patterns unless we keep working at change.

Greg Cootsona: Hope to Lighten a COVID Christmastime

Thursday December 24, 2020
When we look at 2020, when we look at this world—a year marked by the exposure of racism in America, political division, and the deadly COVID pandemic—can we have either optimism or hope?

Greg Cootsona: Open Eyes, Open Hands

Wednesday November 18, 2020
At the center of Thanksgiving—both the holiday and the practice—is generosity. When we’re thankful for what we have, we become content, and we tend to open our eyes and our hands. We give to others. Scripture and science are both clear about this.

Greg Cootsona: A Conversation with John Lennox

Wednesday November 11, 2020
Last Friday, I interviewed Dr. John Lennox, Oxford University mathematician and Christian apologist. He’s authored several books, such as Can Science Explain Everything? and most recently, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. The upcoming film Against the Tide features Doctor Lennox’s thought. What follows is an excerpt of our delightful conversation.

Greg Cootsona: It's Only Natural - More on Natural Theology from Science for the Church

Tuesday October 20, 2020
I actually love what natural theology wants to do. I appreciate the way it leads us to look at “nature and nature’s God” (to quote the Declaration of Independence). The problem is, strictly speaking, natural theology doesn’t work. We cannot move directly from nature to the existence and character of the Creator of nature in order to answer the question, What kind of God?

Greg Cootsona: And Now a Word from the Devil’s Advocate - Science for the Church

Tuesday October 13, 2020
Teamwork often leads to groupthink, and one of the glories of science is its capacity to combat this tendency, by setting up rigorous methods to root it out. Put simply, scientists know we need colleagues from within the fold to question our statements. We can do the same in our congregations as we seek out God’s truth.

Greg Cootsona: Cognitive Science And Calvin’s ”˜Sensus Divinitatis’

Wednesday October 05, 2016
When it comes to God and science, we’d like there to be definitive proof. A knock-down argument for the Deity would be nice.

Greg Cootsona: Adam, Eve 'n' History?

Thursday September 22, 2016
My previous post highlighted mere Christians like C.S. Lewis, who understood Adam and Eve as typological (or paradigmatic), but not historical. I’ll call this Position A. I realize many reject this position. And some vehemently! So I now come to Position, B, those who say Yes to Adam and Eve as both typological and historical while engaging the consensus of modern science. They accomplish all this in some surprising ways.

Greg Cootsona: Adam, Eve, and the Amazing Clarity of C. S. Lewis

Friday September 16, 2016
According to a 2012 Pew Report, many Christians do not believe that human beings evolved. One reason seems to be for those who take the Bible seriously as a divine revelation, human evolution is hard to square with a literal Adam and Eve (By the way, too many discussions leave out the Eve part here, but I think she’s important.) So a lot of people would rather chuck evolution than the first two humans.

Greg Cootsona: Creation ≠ 6 x 24

Tuesday September 13, 2016
Ken Ham and the Answers in Genesis $100 million ark notwithstanding, if we take the great consensus of modern science seriously, it’s impossible to sustain belief that God created the universe in six twenty-four hour days. And, given the way the Almighty views time, it seems a bit presumptuous to believe we could precisely specify God’s timing of creation. It might possibly involve figurative language.

Greg Cootsona: On a Crash Course With Hermeneutics

Saturday September 03, 2016
After three months without posts, I’m now returning and offering snippets of the book I’ve been writing on emerging adults, mainstream science, and mere Christianity.

Greg Cootsona: Fresh Insights from Kierkegaard on Technology

Tuesday May 17, 2016
A considerable number of key thinkers are addressing the positive and negative effects of technology. The number is so considerable that I can only mention a few in this post. And, in order to limit myself further, I’ll start with the those who want us to stop racing after techie toys.

Greg Cootsona: The Endorser

Thursday May 05, 2016
I believed that the truth of an argument ought to be enough to convince us. I wanted human beings to be the thinking machines that evaluate opinions purely on their merits, not on who presents them. You see, I’ve heard the ad hominem fallacy””we can’t disregard an idea based on (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining””like their education, their clothing, their political affiliation... or their halitosis.

Greg Cootsona: New Directions in Religion and Science

Thursday April 14, 2016
When we talk about 'religion and science,' it sounds like two things. But that’s changing in at least one way. The contemporary conversation, especially with 18-30 year old, increasingly includes technology. Which emerging adults identify as a component of””or even a more important substitute for””science.