As of January 2015 I hold the University Research Chair for Theology & Science at the Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. After holding earlier posts in Groningen, Utrecht and Leiden, I became an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the “Free” in 2007. My academic background is in the philosophy of religion as practiced in the analytical tradition. I graduated in 1993 at Utrecht University with a PhD-dissertation on divine omnipotence (Almighty God, Kampen 1993; supervisor: Prof. dr. Vincent Brümmer). Next to my academic work, from 1994-2001 I served part-time as an ordained minister in two Reformed parishes. My scholarly interest in the natural sciences started when I was invited to lecture philosophy of science courses to theology students at Utrecht University at the turn of the millennium. This eventually resulted in a second scholarly monograph, Philosophy of Science for Theologians (Frankfurt 2009; earlier Dutch edition Zoetermeer 2004). In 2010-2011, I spent the academic year as John Witherspoon Fellow on Theology & Science at the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI), Princeton NJ. Having returned to the Netherlands, I started to focus on systematic theology in general (and the doctrine of the Trinity in particular). This led to a new handbook of systematic theology, co-authored with my colleague Cornelius van der Kooi (Christelijke dogmatiek, Zoetermeer 2012; an English translation is currently on its way with Eerdmans, Grand Rapids). My hometown is Woerden, where I live with my wife Gerie-Anne and three teenage children.
Areas of expertise
Christian systematic theology; theology, science and religion; history of Reformed theology; analytic philosophy of religion.
My current research focuses on the theological reception of evolutionary theory, particularly in the Reformed tradition. More precisely, I attempt to establish how various classical loci in the traditional dogmatic scheme are affected by taking evolutionary theory seriously. Suppose the various sensitive parts of evolutionary theory are more or less true, then what does that mean for the doctrines of revelation and Scripture, for theological anthropology, for divine providence and the problem of evil, for the notions of the Fall and original sin, etcetera? Amazingly, a book that just takes stack on these issues in such a way is still lacking. In my prospected Reformed Theology and Evolutionary Theory (Eerdmans 2018) I will fill this gap, and I will attempt to demonstrate that accepting evolutionary theory can go hand in hand with endorsing a theology that continues to be robustly Reformed in line with the faith of the church catholic.
In the new AKC research project on the epistemic responsibilities of the university I will examine whether, and if so how, Christian systematic theology can legitimately be practiced as an academic discipline at a public university in a post-secular age.
- Reformed Theology and Evolutionary Theory (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018).
- “Through Adam’s Fall. Recontextualizing Original Sin in an Evolutionary History”, in: Benno van den Toren & Michael Burrett (eds.), Reconfiguring Adam and Eve (Farnham: Ashgate, 2016), forthcoming.
- “Is It Natural for Humans to Believe in God? Religion, Science and General Revelation,” in: Markus Mühling (ed.), Rationality in Conversation. Philosophical and Theological Perspectives (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2016), 347-359.
- “Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species: Icoon van het atheïsme?,” Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift 70 (2016), 151-162.
- “Evolúció és keresztyén hit: izgalmas terület”,Teológiai Fórum 10 (2016), 27-45.
- “The Reformed Stance: Distinctive Commitments and Concerns,” Journal of Reformed Theology 9 (2015), 325-347 (co-authored with Johan Smits).
- “The Reformation, Rationality and the Rise of Modern Science”, in: Herman Selderhuis & Volker Leppin (eds.),Reformation und Rationalität (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015), 193-205.
- “Social Trinitarianism: A Discussion of Some Recent Theological Criticisms,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 62 (2014), 331-350.
- “What’s Wrong with Revelation? Herman Philipse on the Priority of Natural Theology,” Philo. Journal of Philosophy 16 (2013) , 24-41.
A more complete list of my publications can be found here.