Science and Providence - God's Interaction with the World
Polkinghorne (John)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Synopsis

  1. Internationally renowned priest-scientist Dr. John C. Polkinghorne examines whether a personal, interacting God is a credible concept in today's scientific age. Encouraging the belief that there is a compatibility between the insights of science and the insights of religion, this book focuses on the viewpoint that the world is one in which both human beings and God have the freedom to act.
  2. A modern understanding of the physical world is applied to questions of prayer and providence, such as:
    • Do miracles happen?
    • Can prayer change anything?
    • Why does evil exist?
    • Why does God allow suffering?
    • Why does God need us to ask him?
    God's involvement in time is considered, from both a temporal and an eternal perspective.
  3. The roles of incarnation and sacrament are discussed in terms of whether or not they have a credible place in today's worldview. And the Final Anthropic Principle (FAP) is presented, with its attempt at a physical eschatology, showing it to be an inadequate basis for hope. Real hope can reside only with God, Polkinghorne concludes.
  4. "We do not have to choose between the God of the "Bible" and the God revealed in the pattern and structure of the physical world. A clockwork world of mere mechanism could only be the endlessly spinning system kept in place by the God of deism. The world discerned by modern science has an openness in its becoming which is consonant not only with its being a world of which we are actually inhabitants, but also a world which is the creation of the true and living God, continually at work within its process".

Amazon Customer1 Review
  1. The third in this trilogy of books is more theological than its predecessors - "Polkinghorne (John) - One World - The Interaction of Science and Theology", and "Polkinghorne (John) - Science and Creation - The Search for Understanding" - with chapters on Providence, Miracle, Evil, Prayer, Time, Hope and Incarnation and Sacrament.
  2. The author was formerly a professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University where his students included Brian Josephson and Martin Rees. Josephson is now a leading advocate of the interpretation of mystical and psychic phenomena in terms of quantum theory2.
  3. Since 1982, John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, has been an Anglican priest. What distinguishes this book from the previous volumes of the trilogy is that the God of which it speaks is the interactive God of theism, especially, of Christianity. In the two previous volumes, as the author himself says, the God of which he writes could just as well have been the God of deism.
  4. If you believe in the God of Judaism and Christianity, this short book is highly recommendable. If however your beliefs centre on the God of deism or the cosmic spirit or Universal Mind of eastern mystical philosophy, then the two previous books are more in tune with your beliefs.
  5. As before, the book concludes with a few pages of reference Notes, a Bibliography for further reading, and an Index.



In-Page Footnotes ("Polkinghorne (John) - Science and Providence - God's Interaction with the World")

Footnote 1: Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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