- Series: Theology & the Sciences
- Paperback: 452 pages
- Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Publishers; Enl Sub edition (December 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0800627598
- ISBN-13: 978-0800627591
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Theology for a Scientific Age: Being and Becoming-Natural, Divine and Human (Theology and the Sciences) (Theology & the Sciences) Paperback – December 1, 1993
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Peacocke's basic premise is that theology, for it to remain alive and relevant, cannot ignore the knowledge generated by science and must find ways to embrace it and incorporate it into its concepts of God and its understanding of the meaning of the life of Jesus Christ. Peacocke's approach requires that the integrity of scientific knowledge be preserved in theology. He sees the orderliness of how the physical universe operates as a characteristic of God that is to be revered. This also, however, makes it necessary to be careful in understanding miracles and not to accept the breaking of normal physical laws naïvely or literally. He calls his approach "critical realism".
Peacocke accepts evolution as God's way of creating life and very meaningfully depicts the ongoing nature of this process as God's continuing interaction with creation. He calls this divine "becoming", as contrasted with God's nature or "being". He conceives God's interaction with the world as a top-down causation, but this does not interfere with the orderly functioning of physical processes or with human free will.Read more ›
Peacocke--trained scientist and theologian--shows the limitations of reductive scientism [scientific imperialism] and its inability to answer questions which arise at the limiting edges of legitimate scientific inquiry [e.g.: What was going on before the "Big Bang"? How do minds influence brains and bodies?] He suggests the clue to the nature of God's causal relation to the World is the mind-body relation in human persons. In both we have "top-down [rather than "bottom-up"] causation at work. More complex wholes exercise constraints upon simpler parts. He illuminates, but does not quite explain, what he calls the 'causal joint' between minds and bodies, and between God and the World. He finds panentheism helpful, but not altogether convincing. The fulfillment of human life is to participate with God in our sacramental universe [pp.342-45]. See Ian Barbour, Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues, and his later When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?
Let me reiterate that the strength of the book is that it leaves no stone unturned and provides a complete, coherent Christian worldview. I have read many books that only deal with, say, evolution or morality or philosophy of mind, but never all at the same time. As a result, my worldview was rather shaky, with some strong coherent parts but other views from traditional theology that are untenable in a scientific age. Peacocke addressed it all, from a basic argument for God to a precise analysis of the human problem (sin) and how Christ atones. It likely averted a crisis of faith.
One note: this same virtue means that many of your traditional beliefs will be challenged. I was very shocked and angry at times as *inter alia* (a favorite phrase of Peacocke, BTW; means "among other things") many miracles, the virgin birth, a literal adam and eve and thus a "paradisical" perfect state, an intrinsically immortal soul, and God's direct communication (not mediated by natural means) were all confronted head on, scientifically dismantled, and shown to be incoherent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arthur Robert Peacocke (1924 –2006) was an Anglican priest, theologian, and biochemist. He wrote many other books, such as Paths From Science Towards God: The End of all Our... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Steven H Propp