Belief in God in an Age of Science (The Terry Lectures by John Polkinghorne F.R.S. K.B.E.

By John Polkinghorne F.R.S. K.B.E.

An inquiry into the chances of believing in God in an age of technology. the writer makes a speciality of the collegiality among technological know-how and theology, contending that those "intellectual cousins" are either fascinated with interpreted event and with the hunt for fact approximately truth.

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Extra resources for Belief in God in an Age of Science (The Terry Lectures Series)

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C. Polkinghorne, Rochester Roundabout (Longman/W. H. Freeman, 1989), chap. 21 ; for what follows, see also Polkinghorne, Beyond Science, chaps. 2, 8. Page 17 curves to data points. From the point of view of the working scientist, whose thought is consciously or unconsciously controlled by the canons of scientific value, the problem is exactly the reversenot of selecting from a plethora of possible explanations but of finding one which is adequate to a large swathe of experimental knowledge and which possesses the form of a good scientific theory.

It was a fitting affirmation by one whose fundamental discoveries had all come from his dedicated pursuit of mathematical beauty. This use of abstract mathematics as a technique of physical discovery points to a very deep fact about the nature of the universe that we inhabit, and to the remarkable conformity of our human minds to its patterning. We live in a world whose physical fabric is endowed with transparent rational beauty. Attempts have been made to explain away this fact. No one would deny, of course, that evolutionary necessity will have moulded our ability for thinking in ways that will ensure its adequacy for understanding the world around us, at least to the extent that is demanded by pressures for survival.

In the second, we have an extract from the well-known prologue to John's gospel, the mature reflection of a profound Christian thinker writing towards the end of the first century. The third is part of the definition issued by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, bringing into play the full resources of Greek philosophy Page 31 in an effort to articulate orthodox understanding of the status of Christ. There are clearly immense contrasts between these three statements. The first is a raw response to the resurrection of Jesus.

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