Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Science & Theology

Before my entry into the arena of biblical studies, I was an aspiring Systematic Theology student. I hope that this neither offends nor saddens my current readers. I left the field because studying early Christianity and particularly the historical Jesus seemed more exciting and fun, again - no offence intended to those of this persuasion. Recently though, I've been reading over my old notes and came across these beautiful quotes by John Polkinghorne. You see, my interest was [and sometimes still is] the interface between Science and Theology. And in this respect, I have found no-one better than John Polkinghorne. To celebrate the re-release of his outstanding book: Science and Creation, I offer a few quotes to stir the imagination to further thoughts. Enjoy...

If it is true that theology is no mere speculative system but a response to what is, then surely it will always have been in need of cool appraisal of the world it seeks to understand. Natural theology – the search for God through the exercise of reason and the inspection of the world – is then not an optional extra, for indulgence by the scientifically inclined, but rather it is an indispensable part of theological inquiry.
- J. Polkinghorne, Science and Creation, pg. xii
For the theist, the rational beauty of the physical world is not just a brute fact, but a reflection of the mind of the creator. Aesthetic experience and ethical intuitions are not just psychological or social constructs, but intimations of God’s joy in creation and of his just will. Religious experiences is not illusory human projection, but encounter with the divine reality. There is an integrating wholeness in the theistic account which I find intellectually satisfying, even though it must wrestle with the mystery of ‘infinite Being.’
- J. Polkinghorne, Science and Christian Belief, pg. 70
Once again the theistic conclusion is not logically coercive, but it can claim serious consideration as an intellectually satisfying understanding of what would otherwise be unintelligible good fortune. It has certainly struck a number of authors in this way, including some who are innocent of any influence from a conventional religious agenda. Such a reading of the physical world as containing rumours of divine purpose, constitutes a new form of natural theology to which the insight about intelligibility can also be added.
- J. Polkinghorne, Belief in God in an Age of Science, pg. 10
Delightful, isn't it?

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