Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

A Scientific Theology. Vol. 1: Nature

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

A Scientific Theology. Vol. 1: Nature

Article excerpt

A Scientific Theology. Vol. 1: Nature. By Allster E. McGrath. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001. xx + 325 pp. $50.00 (cloth).

This hook is the first of three volumes on a specific approach to theology, called scientific theology. McGraths debt to T. F. Torrance is obvious throughout. The jacket claims this to be a "groundbreaking work of systematic theology," and I agree. This is a combination of philosophical, historical, and systematic theology wrapped neatly into an extended apologetic for a particular method, scientific theology.

This is a unique approach. The book opens with a section entitled "Prolegomena" where McGrath outlines and defends the method to be used:

A positive working relationship between Christian theology and the natural sciences is demanded by the Christian understanding of the nature of reality itself-an understanding which is grounded in the doctrine of creation. If God made the world, which therefore has the status of being "creation" as well as "nature," it is to be expected that something of the character of God might be disclosed through that creation (p. 21).

McGrath unashamedly clings to orthodox Christian theological formulations and chastises other theologians who have relied too much on process theology for their "mediated" approach to natural science and theology, and in the process have alienated both scientists and orthodox Christian theologians.

McGrath favors an honest engagement between Christian theology and science, with neither asked to give way on basic principles. he states that "classic Christian formulations of faith are perfectly adequate to function as the basis of a scientific theology" (p. 42). Yet, these formulations are not mere window dressing for an archaic fundamentalism. McGrath does not pin his theological hopes on prevailing scientific wisdom, but instead on parallel "methods and working assumptions" which undergird science, namely, "a be lief in the regularity of the natural world, and the ability of the human mind to uncover and represent this regularity in a mathematical manner" (p. 50).

McGrath sees striking parallels between the historical development of scientific theories and Christian doctrine. he rejects the idea that science and theology have been engaged in a battle for centuries, instead casting society and science in the roles of internecine enemies. Finally, McGrath adopts a realist position, though his full defense of realism awaits the next volume. …

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