October 2007
volume 19 (2)

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Guest Editorial: Theoretical and practical knowledge in science and faith

Keith Fox
Pages: 98-98


Richard Dawkins’ Darwinian Objection to Unexplained Complexity in God

Patrick Richmond
Pages: 99-116


Richard Dawkins has popularised the argument that Darwinism leaves God looking unnecessary and extremely improbable. God would have to be even more complicated than his creatures and so even more in need of explanation than they are, but no explanation is appropriate. This paper attempts to clarify the argument and examine responses to it. It investigates claims that Darwinism does not explain everything, that no explanation of God’s complexity is needed, that God’s complexity is explained in terms of factual or logical necessity, and that God is simple, not complex. None of these responses seems completely convincing. Finally it argues that God’s knowledge of the actual world can be explained in terms of his irreducible ability to choose among alternatives based on their value, and his unlimited awareness of alternatives needs no complex specification and need not be organised, statistically improbable or composed of parts.


Robert Boyle’s Religious Life, Attitudes, and Vocation

Edward B. Davis
Pages: 117-138


Robert Boyle is an outstanding example of a Christian scientist whose faith interacted fundamentally with his science. His remarkable piety was the driving force behind his interest in science and his Christian character shaped the ways in which he conducted his scientific life. A deep love for scripture, coupled ironically with a lifelong struggle with religious doubt, led him to write several important books relating scientific and religious knowledge. Ultimately, he was attracted to the mechanical philosophy because he thought it was theologically superior to traditional Aristotelian natural philosophy: by denying the existence of a quasi-divine ‘Nature’ that functioned as an intermediary between God and the world, it more clearly preserved God’s sovereignty and more powerfully motivated people to worship their creator.


All Things New

John Turl
Pages: 139-160


It is common for Christians to associate Christ’s Return with a catastrophic end of the world, the universe and/or space-time.Cosmology describes the future of the universe, and even of individual stars, in time-scales of billions1 of years. Does this mean that Christians should view cosmology as a vast ‘might-have-been’? Will the Second Coming be a cosmic guillotine? Does it matter anyway? The purpose of this study is to examine the claims of scripture and science concerning the end times and to see if either has anything to say to the other.


Hydrotheology: towards a natural theology for water

Colin A. Russell
Pages: 161-184


This paper is a historical preamble to a fully developed natural theology based on a single substance, water. It origins are traced to a book, Hydrotheologie, by a Hamburg author, J.-A. Fabricius, in 1734. This turns out to be but one of a number of similar specialised works on natural theology in the early eighteenth century. The theme was developed by many others, especially by three of the authors of the Bridgewater Treatises in the next century. Following Darwin, natural theology was transformed but not annihilated. A Harvard chemist, J. P. Cooke, wrote a book Religion and Chemistry which devoted one chapter to water, and other authors dealt with fitness of the environment in general, with water as an important constituent. Its remarkable anomalies have been dealt with most recently by M. J. Denton. To conclude, hydrotheology is placed within the wider context of natural theology as a whole, and its implications for environmental concern are suggested.



Emergence and Time

Percy Hammond
Pages: 185-185


A ‘Good’ Creation

ErnesT Lucas
Pages: 185-186


Book reviews

View book reviews

The God Delusion

Richard Dawkins (Patrick Richmond)
Pages: 187-188

Science and the Trinity: The Christian Encounter with Reality

John Polkinghorne (Lydia Jaeger)
Pages: 188-190

The Evolution-Creation Struggle

Michael Ruse (R. J. (Sam) Berry)
Pages: 190-191

Fifty Years in Science and Religion: Ian G. Barbour and his legacy

Robert John Russell (ed.) (David Watts)
Pages: 191-192

The Language of God. A scientist presents evidence for belief

Francis S Collins (Ken Mickleson)
Pages: 193-196

The Order of Things: Explorations in Scientific Theology

Alister E McGrath (Philip Bligh)
Pages: 194-196

The Ethics of Nature

Celia E. Deane-Drummond (Caroline Berry)
Pages: 196-197

DARWIN discovering the tree of life

Niles Eldredge (Owen Thurtle)
Pages: 197-198

In Search of the Soul: Four Views of the Mind-Body Problem

Joel B. Green and Stuart L. Palmer (eds.) (Peter McCarthy)
Pages: 198-199

Natural Theology

William Paley (edited by Matthew Eddy and David Knight) (Michael Roberts)
Pages: 199-200

Creation and the world of science – The reshaping of belief

Arthur Peacocke (Andrew Halestrap)
Pages: 200-201

God, Life, and the Cosmos

Ted Peters, Muzaffar Iqbal and Syed Nomanul Haq (eds.) (Denis Alexander)
Pages: 201-203

The Music of Life – Biology Beyond the Genome

Denis Noble (John Bryant)
Pages: 203-205

Can you believe in God and evolution?: a guide for the perplexed

Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett (John Bausor)
Pages: 205-207

From Human to Posthuman: Christian Theology and Technology in a Postmodern World

Brent Waters (Alan Jiggins)
Pages: 207-208