Creation and the World of Science: The Re-Shaping of Belief

Creation and the World of Science: The Re-Shaping of Belief

Creation and the World of Science: The Re-Shaping of Belief

Creation and the World of Science: The Re-Shaping of Belief

Synopsis

Arthur Peacocke's 1978 Bampton Lectures were published asCreation and the World of Science, a key work in initiating the explosion of interest in the relation of religion and theology to the sciences. This new reprinting, with a special supplement bringing up to date the references and the exposition of the author's current views, makes it available again both to a new generation of students and investigators and to the wider public, as an eminently readable and accessible account of contemporary issues in the relation of science and religion.
Arthur Peacocke's 1978 Bampton Lectures were published asCreation and the World of Science, a key work in initiating the explosion of interest in the relation of religion and theology to the sciences. This new reprinting, with a special supplement bringing up to date the references and the exposition of the author's current views, makes it available again both to a new generation of students and investigators and to the wider public, as an eminently readable and accessible account of contemporary issues in the relation of science and religion.

Excerpt

It is notable that, although the Bampton Lectures were intended by the testator to 'confirm and establish the Christian Faith' and although the world-view of mankind has in the twentieth century come to be increasingly dominated by that of the sciences, only two of these series of Lectures in this century have so far been at all concerned with the relation of Christian theology and the sciences—those of L. W. Grensted in 1930 (Psychology and God: a study of the implications of recent psychology for religious belief and practice, Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1930) and of E. L. Mascall in 1956 (Christian Theology and Natural Science: some questions on their relations, Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1956). The latter were magisterial in both the range of the sciences they surveyed and in the breadth of theological learning they brought to bear on these issues from what I am sure Professor Mascall would not mind my describing as a neo-Thomist and orthodox Christian viewpoint.

In the two decades or so since those Lectures, the development of molecular biology has further reinforced our view of living organisms as complex physico-chemical entities and has thereby filled, in principle, one of the major gaps in our understanding of the evolution of the cosmos—namely that between inorganic matter and living organisms. Life may now be regarded as a form of living matter and this crowning of the neo-Darwinian scheme, together with developments in cosmology, ecology, and our understanding of sub-atomic matter, have transformed the setting for discourse about the relation of God and man to nature to an extent which has still yet to be fully absorbed by Christian (or indeed any other) theology.

The universe described by science today is one which is in continual development from the most elusive sub-atomic particles to living organisms on the Earth (and perhaps elsewhere?) some of which appear to have conscious activities very like those predicated of man. Moreover biological, physiological, and psychological studies of man increasingly reveal features . . .

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