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Expanding Humanity's Vision of God

New Thoughts on Science and Religion

Edited by Robert L. Herrmann

How has our understanding of our world and our place in the universe changed in recent decades through the momentous discoveries of science? Do recent developments in the philosophy of science, which place limitations on scientific knowing, provide a more level playing field? This collection of essays and sermons, which have not been readily available before, address these thought-provoking questions.

The John Templeton Foundation sponsored an essay and sermon contest to convey an expanded vision of God, one that is informed by recent discoveries of science on the nature of the universe and the place we have in the world. These selections are the winners of that competition.

The book is divided into three sections: “Contemporary Science Raising Theological Questions,” “New Visions of Theology,” and “Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on the Science-Religion Dialogue.” The essays cover such areas as physics, theology, cosmology, origins, and artificial intelligence.

“There is another way to conceive our life together. There is another way to conceive of our life in God, but it requires a different worldview—not a clockwork universe in which individuals function as discrete springs and gears, but one that looks more like a luminous web, in which the whole is far more than the parts. In this universe, there is no such thing as an individual apart from his or her relationships. Every interaction—between people and people, between people and things, between things and things—changes the face of history. Life on earth cannot be reduced to four sure-fire rules. It is an ever-unfolding mystery that defies precise prediction. Meanwhile, in this universe, there is no such thing as 'parts‚' The whole is the fundamental unit of reality.” —Barbara Brown Taylor, “Physics and Faith,”

Preface

PART I CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE RAISING THEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS / 1

Knowledge of the Unseen: A New Vision for Science and Religion Dialogue / 3
Hyung S. Choi 

The Strangely Relational World of Quantum Mechanics / 15
Catherine H. Crouch

Physics and Faith: The Luminous Web / 23
Barbara Brown Taylor 

From Physics to Metaphysics: The Changing Face of Scientific Imagination / 41
Avihu Zakai and Ayvai Ramati 

Complexity in Systematic Theology: The Case of the Christian Concept of “New Creation” in the Dialogue with Science / 53
Günter Thomas 

Leaving Behind the God-of-the-Gaps: Towards a Theological Response to Scientific Limit Questions / 87
Christian Berg 

Cosmic Endgame: Theological Reflections on Recent Scientific Speculations on the Ultimate Fate of the Universe / 117
John Jefferson Davis

A Brief Note on the Problem of the Beginning: From the Modern Cosmology and “Transcendental Hikmah” Perspectives / 135
Pirooz Fatoorchi

Three Views of Creation and Evolution / 163
Richard H. Bube

10 The Scientist as Believer Richard Rice / 171
Richard Rice

11 A New Immortality? / 191
Brian G. Edgar

12 God Among Immortal Humans! / 215
Kuruvilla Pandikattu

13 Divine and Artificial Life: A Theological Exploration / 225
Peter G. Heltzel

PART II NEW VISIONS OF THEOLOGY 237

14 Toward a Kenotic Pneumatology: Quantum Field Theory and the Theology of the Cross / 239
Ernest L. Simmons

15 A Pantheist Vision of God: The Divine Universe / 251
Paul Harrison

16 God, Science, and Jnani: A New Framework / 267
Michael R. King

17 A Theology for the Millennium: Exploratory, Creative, Humble / 275
Isaac Padinjarekuttu

18 Science and Religion: A Marriage Made in Heaven? / 285
Rami M. Shapiro

 

19 Light of Science in Our Eyes: Envisioning a New Spiritual Epic / 293
Edward Searl

Part III HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE SCIENCE-RELIGION DIALOGUE / 299

20 The Mystery of the Self and the Enigma of Nature / 301
Roger L. Shinn

21 Thomas Aquinas and the New Cosmology: Faith Encounters Science Anew / 325
Adrian M. Hofstetter, O.P.

22 Reformation Sunday Sermon: Matthew 23:1–12 / 335
David E. Mehl

23 The Odd Couple: Can Science and Religion Live Together without Driving Each Other Crazy? /343
Margaret Wertheim

24 What a Piece of Work Is Man: Humanism, Religion, and the New Cosmology / 353
Theodore Roszak