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Einstein, Polanyi, and the Laws of Nature

Lydia Jaeger

What is the relationship between religious belief and the study of nature, between theology and science? This is the fundamental preoccupation of the three different studies brought together in Einstein, Polanyi, and the Laws of Nature.

By exploring the highly original yet little known thought of Michael Polanyi, Jaeger highlights the inherent personal investment in any quest for knowledge, including the scientific enterprise, thus raising the question of the objectivity of human knowledge. Considered to be the greatest mind of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein saw scientific research as the fruit of the “cosmic religion.” His response to the question of the relationship between faith and science also receives the close analysis it deserves. Finally, Jaeger is interested in science's propensity to use the concept of laws of nature, a concept also found in the Bible. By examining the similarities and differences, she paves the way for interdisciplinary dialogue.

The synthesis of these three complimentary studies brings out the complicity between belief and knowledge, thus establishing a bridge between two noble human activities: faith and scientific research. It will be of interest to all serious followers of the ongoing science and religion dialogue.

Preface / ix

Part 1: Michael Polanyi: Personal Knowledge without Relativism / 1

Introduction / 3

Chapter 1: Michael Polanyi’s Theory of Knowledge / 9

Chapter 2: The Realism of the Polanyian Program / 23

Chapter 3: Paths of Exploration / 39

Conclusion / 45

Part 2: Albert Einstein: From the Exclusively Personal to Cosmic Religion / 47

Introduction / 49

Chapter 1: The Man and His Work / 55

Chapter 2: Einstein’s Scientific Program / 71

Chapter 3: The Cosmic Religion / 83

Conclusion / 131

Part 3: The Concept of the Law of Nature in the Bible and in Science / 133

Introduction / 135

Chapter 1: The Biblical Record / 139

Chapter 2: The Historical Record / 171

Chapter 3: The Philosophical Record / 189

Conclusion / 213

At the End … / 215

Afterword by Henri Blocher / 217

Appendix: The Natural Order in the Bible / 231

Notes / 235

Index / 307