Beyond the Big Bang: Quantum Cosmologies and God

Beyond the Big Bang: Quantum Cosmologies and God

Beyond the Big Bang: Quantum Cosmologies and God

Beyond the Big Bang: Quantum Cosmologies and God

Synopsis

Is belief in God a reasonable option in the light of modern cosmology? Or have religious beliefs been ruled out by science? Or should we rethink the connection between these two human enterprises - perhaps even considering them as unrelated?

Excerpt

Is it possible to take religion seriously in an age of science? I intend to do so, especially by affirming humbly that “we are given to understand little and only within a conceptual model accessible solely to our culture” (Heller 1986b, 36). Many popular books on the Universe combine science with opinions on religious issues. This book criticizes religious abuse of science; it also criticizes the simple dismissal of religious questions, as if science would unambiguously supply all the answers. 1 hope to convey something of the meaningfulness and fun of religious and philosophical questions.

This study continues discussions exemplified by the European conferences on Science and Religion f Andersen and Pcacocke 1987: Fennema and Paul 1990), some exchanges in the United States (for example, in Zygon), and at the Vatican (Russell, Stoeger, and Coyne 1988). But I consider some of the assumptions underlying many of these contributions dubious. Authors as different as Pannenberg, Torrance, and Peacocke, including many in the New Age movement, seem to argue for methodological parallels between science and theology or to look for harmony between theology and the results of science. Examples of such a descriptive consonance, for exampie between the Big Bang as a beginning and creatio ex nihilo, I find inadequate. More importantly, the assumption of harmony might easily lead to a theology which neglects the critical distance between theology and science.

I therefore develop an outline of a theology which lakes science seriously, but does not restrict itself to the quest for a fit with the results of science. I hold that an adequate theology should deal with experiences of imperfection and injustice, and hence has to maintain a 'prophetic' dimension, a judgment of disparity between the way things are and the way they should be. This brings me closer to the dominant position among Protestant theologians on the European continent. In accepting a distance from realism in theology I side with those who defend the impossibility of a doctrine of God based upon natural knowledge. The emphasis on the critical distance is intended to avoid the conservative implications of a natural theology . . .

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