The Idea of Law in Science and Religion
For many, a central task of science is the discovery and formulation of the laws of nature. This characterisation of the scientific enterprise, although almost a commonplace today, is nevertheless of recent origin, more or less contemporary with the birth of modern science. It originated in the seventeenth century, when the leaders of the scientific revolution liked to describe their procedures as a break away from Greek science, as transmitted by the medieval scholastics. Laws of nature were introduced as a rival explanation of natural phenomena, which was meant to replace the Aristotelian categories. This article explores the characteristics of the modern concept of natural law, explains its possible biblical and theological roots and asks the extent to which this background can help us gain a renewed understanding of the scientific concept.
The Research Scientist’s Psalm
Psalm 111 links the works of God in creation with his works in history and salvation. Verse 2 (‘Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all those who delight in them’) is often taken as a mandate and challenge for scientific research. This is legitimate, but it should not be divorced from other emphases in the psalm, particularly God’s providential upholding throughout time. The psalmist also reminds us that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’. A research scientist is one who should properly humble him or herself before their data.
God’s story and the Earth’s story: grounding our concern for the environment in the biblical metanarrative
Christian concern for the environment and the Earth is often grounded in the notion of stewardship of God’s creation and so based primarily on the opening chapters of the Bible. Here the aim is to broaden the basis of Christian environmental ethics by considering the full sweep of the biblical metanarrative, and to develop a Christocentric approach that takes account of the whole Bible – both Old and New Testaments. By doing this we situate the Earth’s story within the context of God’s story and thereby provide motivation for our participation in God’s mission to redeem his creation.
Explanations in Science and Beyond
The nature and scope of explanation are central to our understanding of the significance of science, and are also important in providing intellectual reasons for belief in God. However issues of complexity versus simplicity in explanations have been raised in this connection – in particular by Richard Dawkins and others when considering the organised complexity of biological systems. To clarify these matters, we examine the ways in which explanations and proofs operate in mathematics and in science. In particular, distinctions are explored between proximate and ultimate explanations, and between formal and factual aspects of explanations. Simplicity is in fact not of primary importance, because what is actually sought is the correct explanation. It is argued that science cannot provide a truly ultimate explanation for the universe but that God is the appropriate recourse here. God’s complexity need not be greater than that of the universe, but is hard to assess and not very relevant because God is not a scientific explanation.
Response to Bussey
Response to Richmond
The Dawkins Delusion: Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine
Alister and Joanna McGrath (Michael Poole)
Darwin’s Angel – An Angelic Riposte to The God Delusion
John Cornwell (Patrick Richmond)
Darwin and Intelligent Design
Francisco J. Ayala (Denis Alexander)
Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion
Francisco J. Ayala (Denis Alexander)
God’s Undertaker – Has Science Buried God?
John C. Lennox (Denis Alexander)
Creation and Double Chaos: Science and Theology in Discussion
Sjoerd L. Bonting (Philip Luscombe)
Universe or Multiverse?
Bernard Carr (ed.) (Rodney Holder)
God’s Action in Nature’s World: Essays in Honour of Robert John Russell
Ted Peters and Nathan Hallanger (eds.)
(Christopher C. Knight)
Science and Religion in Schools Project
Environmental Stewardship: Critical Perspectives – Past and Present
R. J. Berry (ed.) (Jonathan Moo)
Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living
Nick Spencer and Robert White (Colin A. Russell)
Beauty and Science
Enzo Tiezzi (Colin Reeves)
Whose View of Life? Embryos, Cloning and Stem Cells
Jane Maienschein (Ken Mickleson)
The Big Questions in Science and Religion
Keith Ward (John Polkinghorne)
Original Selfishness: Original Sin and Evil in the Light of Evolution
Daryl P. Domning and Monica K. Hellwig