October 1989
volume 1 (2)




Oliver R. Barclay
Pages: 98-98


A Still-bent World: Some Reflections on Current Environmental Problems

Ron Elsdon
Pages: 99-121


Long-standing and newly-emerging issues in environmental management continue to pose threats to the continued well-being of humanity and the rest of the created order. After a welter of secular and Christian publications in recent years, reflection suggests a number of particular questions requiring consideration in the context of a biblical theology which encompasses creation, fall and redemption. These questions include issues to do with the nature of the scientific process, the prediction of future trends, and the problems of risk analysis. This approach offers the opportunity for Christians to engage in dialogue with others involved in decision making at a time when governments are increasingly sensitive to public concern over environmental problems.


A Note on Chaotic Dynamics

John Polkinghorne
Pages: 123-127


The insights of chaotic dynamics are held to encourage a supple view of physical reality which is capable of accommodating human freedom within its world view. It is suggested that such a metaphysical scheme encourages a move beyond the God of deism to the God of theism, interacting with his creation and known through personal encounter.


The Argument from Design in Early Modern Theology

Norma Emerton
Pages: 129-147


This article traces the argument from design from its origins in pre-Christian Stoicism and its adoption by the early Church Fathers. It underwent a revival in the early modern period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the Scientific Revolution provided new knowledge of the world which could be used to demonstrate the God-given design in nature. Its popularity was greatest in England, where it was encouraged by the religious open-mindedness, the interest in natural history, the Baconian scientific empiricism and the Newtonian tradition in physics and cosmology. Although it incurred the opposition of some philosophers, it was taken up not only by Christians but also by Deists and by writers of the Romantic Movement. The freedom of thought encouraged by the Newtonian cosmologically-slanted natural theology alarmed orthodox Christian divines, and under their influence there was a move to restrict the argument from design to natural history in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a tendency which reached its peak with Paley’s Evidences of Christianity and Natural Theology.


Teleology and the Concept of Natural Law: an Historical Perspective

Jonathan R. Topham
Pages: 149-160


The paper considers the difficulty of retaining an active sense of divine providence when events are explained by scientific laws. Historical examples are used to illustrate how the advance of naturalistic explanation may reduce both the sense of wonder in creation, and the apologetic force of the argument from design. The God-of-the-gaps mentality is rejected in favour of a divine Iegislator conception of God: laws are seen as contingent on God’s will and therefore ‘miraculous’. Difficulties with this approach are discussed, and an agenda is proposed for the formulation of a theology of nature based upon it.


Arthur Peacocke’s New Biology: New Wine in Old Bottles

J. W. Haas, Jr.
Pages: 161-166


Dr. Arthur Peacocke’s book God and the New Biology is reviewed and its examination of reductionism as well as other features welcomed. His solution of the question of God’s relationship to the world in terms of panentheism and a sacramental model are criticized.


Old Theology and the New Biology

Alister E. McGrath
Pages: 167-171


The philosophical and theological aspects of Arthur Peacocke’s God and the New Biology are briefly examined. It is suggested that its more significant conclusions rest upon a questionable merging of two different understandings of the term ‘incarnation’, neither of which appears capable of justification within the framework which Peacocke proposes. Many of Peacocke’s conclusions it is argued lie on Hegelian, rather than biblical, foundations.


Book reviews

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The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler (Robert Boyd)
Pages: 173-175

God and the Processes of Reality: Foundations of a Credible Theism

David A. Pailin (Lawrence H. Osborn)
Pages: 175-177

Superstrings: A Theory of Everything?

Paul Davies and Julian Brown (eds) (Roland Dobbs)
Pages: 177-179

The Ages of Gaia: A biography of our living Earth

James Lovelock (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 179-181

Human Future?

Alan Jiggins (Richard Skinner)
Pages: 181-182

Glaube und Denken

Jahrbuch der Karl-Heim Gesellschaft (Russell Kleckley)
Pages: 182-186

‘An Urchin in the Storm’

S. J. Gould (P. C. Knox)
Pages: 186-187

A Passion for Science

Lewis Wolpert and Alison Richards (D. A. Burgess)
Pages: 187-188

Exploring Inner Space: Scientists and Religious Experience

David Hay (A. N. Triton)
Pages: 188-189

The Wonderful Mistake: Notes of a Biology Watcher

Lewis Thomas (Douglas C. Spanner)
Pages: 189-190

Philosophy of Biology Today

Michael Ruse (Douglas C. Spanner)
Pages: 189-190

Persons and Personality, A Contemporary Inquiry

Arthur Peacocke and Grant Gillett (ed) (James S. Nelson)
Pages: 190-191

The Genetic Jigsaw

Robin Mckie (Caroline Berry)
Pages: 191-192