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Science and Theology in the Twenty-First Century

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Abstract:

The current interaction of science and theology is surveyed. Modern physics describes a world of intrinsic unpredictability and deep relationality. Theology provides answers to the metaquestions of why that world is rationally transparent and rationally beautiful and why it is so finely tuned for carbon-based life. Biology's fundamental insight of evolutionary process is to be understood theologically as creation “making itself.” In the twenty-first century, biology may be expected to move beyond the merely mechanical. Neuroscience will not have much useful interaction with theology until it attains theories of wide explanatory scope. Computer models of the brain do not meet this requirement. A theological style of bottom-up thinking comes closest to scientific habits of thought. Complexity theory suggests that information will prove to be an increasingly important scientific concept, encouraging theology to revive the Thomistic notion of the soul as the form of the body. Another gift of science to theology will lie in providing a meeting point for the encounter of the world faith traditions.

Keywords: EPR effect; John Searle; Stuart Kauffman metaquestions; bottom-up thinking; chaos theory; creation; dualism; evolution; natural theology; quantum theory; relativity; soul; world faiths

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9744.00324

Affiliations: Cambridge University

Publication date: 2000-12-01

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