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Scientific Theology: Volume 1: Nature Hardcover – 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802839258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802839251
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,727,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"as an exercise in opening up Evangelical theology to a more Christologically based search...the book is warmly welcomed." -- Church Times, 5 April 2002

About the Author

Alister E. McGrath is professor of historical theology at Oxford University, principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and director of the John Templeton Oxford Seminars on Science and Christianity. He is the author of more than forty books, including In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By wolvie05 VINE VOICE on September 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the book I have been waiting to read ever since I got interested in science-and-religion issues: a detailed, comprehensive, erudite discussion of the science-religion dialogue which does not water down orthodox Christian belief. Finally, evangelicals have their 'Bible' in dealing with modern science. There are too many important issues which McGrath tackles to even begin to do it justice (the best thing to do is just read the book!), but among the highlights are: 1) a critique of transitory 'fads' in theology in an attempt to make theological language scientifically respectable, but which do not, in the end, do justice either to science or to orthodox Christian belief, such as Ian Barbour's process theology, 2)the promise of Christian theology, in dialogue with the sciences, to overcome the 'two-cultures' dichotomy between science and humanities in contemporary thinking and present an integrated, intellectually and spiritually satisfying account of our human experience, 3)a demonstration of the social construction of the concept of 'nature', making the valid point that it is not a neutral, uninterpreted standing point for dialogue, 4) a brief but effective preliminary (carried on in Volume 2, which I have yet to read) critique of scientific naturalism, in part based on the analysis of the concept of nature, 5)the implications of the doctrine of Creation for science-religion dialogue, including an account of the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics, human rationality, beauty in scientific theories, etc. validating C.S.Read more ›
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on January 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Alister McGrath is a moderately conservative Anglican theologian who has written a large number of works on Christian theology. He is also trained in the physical sciences as well (he is also a real smart guy, as he loves to tell you in the preface). A SCIENTIFIC THEOLOGY: NATURE is the first volume of a three-volume work which relates theology to the natural sciences. It is explicitly designed to follow the insights of the neo-Barthian theologian, Thomas Torrance.
I can't say I didn't learn a fair amount from this work. There are many interesting background studies on various topics. It is fascinating to read how Plato, Aristotle, the Romantics and the post-Modernists define nature. The same is true with the doctrine of creation, in which we learn that the doctrine of creation out of nothing isn't a part of the Jewish heritage as is often suggested.
McGrath also makes a number of interesting observations. For example, there is an interesting discussion what is meant by the term "nature." Many things that we consider "natural," such as nature parks, are a result of considerable human control. After all, many would have been destroyed long ago by fire if they were permitted run their "natural" course. Nature must in some sense then be a "mediated" and "socially constructed" concept. For this reason, a Christian cannot accept it as a neutral starting point for understanding the sciences.
So this book contains lots of background studies with occasional analysis by McGrath. I guess that's my problem with this book. I'm at a loss to see how this approach constitutes a "sustained engagement" of the relationship between science and theology as it's billed. If the next two volumes follow this approach, the work will be one large introduction. There's nothing wrong with that, but we have seen numerous introductory works in this field lately. Volume 2 is out now, so I'll let you know after I finish it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
McGrath has certainly distinguished himself as one of the more erudite theologians around. Characteristic of his previous writings is thorough acquaintance with the history of the theology at hand before engagement. This certainly typifies this work as well, a prologemena to a forthcoming work on scientific theology.

In this first of three volumes constituting this intro material, McGrath tackles the tough issue of "nature." Often talked about, but in very nebulous modes. Mother Nature, laws of nature, et al. Besides defining and debunking this definitional obstacle, McGrath also tackles the intellectual obstacles of Barthian response to natural theology as well as liberal elements as well.

His goal is establish a credible, apologetical response in dialogue with the natural sciences outside Christianity regarding the order of the created world as well as the regularity of such.

One quickly surmises that the author is easily at home on this turf of science and philosophy, as well as Reformed theology.

Not sure I will continue the other two volumes. Likely wait for his promised work on scientific theology.

Nice read, somewhat short of his own sustained ideas. More a sweep of the historical past to present, with his own reaction to such as he goes. Always an engaging author.
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10 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John D. MCPEAK on March 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. McGrath has finally constructed the stake that needs to be driven into the heart of the vampire of 'Enlightenment' thinking. This profound and thoroughly well thought out work clearly outlines the problems faced by those who wish to see the world, not as it is, but as they wish it to be. There is a true Nature and correspondingly a true Nature's God. Both may be known by honest intellectual and spiritually discerning research. And both are disturbingly real or confortingly so, depending on your outlook.
I loved it!
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