The Beginning of All Things: Science and Religion

The Beginning of All Things: Science and Religion

The Beginning of All Things: Science and Religion

The Beginning of All Things: Science and Religion

Synopsis

Translated by John Bowden

In an age when faith and science seem constantly to clash, can theologians and scientists come to a meeting of minds? Yes, maintains the intrepid Hans Küng, as he brilliantly argues here that religion and science are not mutually exclusive but complementary.

Focusing on beginnings -- beginnings of time, of the world, of man, of human will -- Küng deals with an array of scientific precepts and teachings. From a unified field theory to quantum physics to the Big Bang to the theory of relativity -- even superstring and chaos theories -- he examines all of the theories regarding the beginning of the universe and life (of all kinds) in that universe.

Küng seeks to reconcile theology with the latest scientific insights, holding that "a confrontational model for the relationship between science and theology is out of date, whether put forward by fundamentalist believers and theologians or by rationalistic scientists and philosophers." While accepting evolution as scientists generally describe it, he still maintains a role for God in founding the laws of nature by which life evolved and in facilitating the adventure of creation.

Exhibiting little patience for scientists who do not see beyond the limits of their discipline or for believers who try to tell experts how things must have been, Küng challenges readers to think more deeply about the beginnings in order to facilitate a new beginning in dialogue and understanding.

Excerpt

Physicists can be proud of all the results of their research that have been discovered, reflected on, and confirmed by experiments. in fact, all scientists have to keep returning to this basic science, which investigates and analyzes the elementary particles and basic forces of material reality. So we can understand that on the basis of the indisputable triumphant successes that have been achieved, some physicists expect that one day it will be possible to decipher our universe. How? By finding a theory for “all things,” for all the natural forces, for everything that is: a formula for the world that could solve the deepest riddles of our cosmos, our universe, and explain the whole of reality by physics.

1. the Riddle of Reality

The Greek word cosmos has a long history. Originally it meant “order”; the earliest mention in Homer in the eighth century B.C.E. refers to the army drawn up in order. Then it meant “decoration”; this meaning is attested for the first time by Pythagoras in the sixth century B.C.E. Finally, at the beginning of our era, it meant “harmony,” related to the universe, and later was used in the same way as we use “world order” and “universe” today. So “cosmos” denotes the world as an ordered whole, cosmos as opposed to chaos.

The word “universe” means “turned into one,” from the Latin unus . . .

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