God for the 21st Century

Edited by Russell Stannard

Just as modern science has revolutionized our understanding of the natural world, so can it expand our understanding of the Divine. In topics as varied as astronomy and cosmology, evolution, genetic engineering, extraterrestrial life, psychology and religious experience, spirituality and medicine, and artificial intelligence, fifty key thinkers discuss the interrelationship between science and religion.

Contributors include Robert Jastrow, first chairman of NASA's Lunar Exploration Committee and currently director of the Mount Wilson Institute; Rod Davies, former director of the Jodrell Bank Radio Astronomy Laboratories, U.K.; Owen Gingerich, senior astronomer, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; Paul Davies, recipient of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion; Sir John Haughton, former director general of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office; Lord Habgood, former archbishop of York; and science writers Kitty Ferguson and Gregg Easterbrook.

The writers are drawn from eight countries and represent the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu traditions. Most are scientists by profession, but also included are philosophers, theologians, and psychologists. Each chapter of this innovative, accessible book helps to expand our thinking in light of what is known at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Taken as a whole, this book presents a challenging understanding of God and of God's interaction with the world and with ourselves.

Topics covered include:

  • Creation and evolution
  • Life on other planets
  • Genetic engineering
  • Faith and medicine
  • The mind and the soul
  • Quantum physics

Preface / ix

Part One - Origins / 1

A Creation Story for Our Times / 3
Ted Burge  

The Alpha and the Omega of Space and Time / 6
Rod Davies

What Happened before the Big Bang?  10
Paul Davies

Part Two - The Universe as a Home for Life            13

Big and Old and Dark and Cold / 15
Michael Poole

Ingredients for Life / 18
Owen Gingerich

An Icon for the Millennium   22
Bruno Guiderdoni

Why Does the Universe Work? / 26
Howard Van Till

A Revealed but Hidden God / 29
Carl Feit  

Meaning Makes a Comeback / 32
Gregg Easterbrook

Part Three - Evolutionary Biology / 37
Did Darwin Kill God? / 39

Sam Berry

The Disguised Friend: Darwinism and Divinity / 43
Arthur Peacocke

Evolution: The Key to Knowledge of God? / 47
Wentzel Van Huyssteen

The Evolutionary Past and Future of God / 51
Barbara Smith-Moran

Part Four - Life in the Universe / 55
Are We Alone? / 57

Christopher Kaiser

A Cosmic Perspective on Human Existence / 60
Robert Jastrow

What Are Extraterrestrials Really Like? / 64
Robert Russell

Bethlehem: Center of the Universe? / 67
Willem B. Drees

Jesus in Islam / 71
Zaki Badawi

Part Five - Genes and Genetic Engineering / 75

Gene Wars / 77
Keith Ward

After the Human Genome Project / 80
Elving Anderson

All in the Genes / 83
John Habgood  

Our Genetic Future / 86
Ted Peters

Genetic Engineering: Foe or Friend? / 89
Celia Deane-Drummond

Cloning: Promise of Immortality or Threat? / 92
Michael Northcott  

Part Six - Faith, Medicine, and Well-being / 97
Wealth and Well-being / 99

David Myers

Is Religion Good for Your Health? / 103
Dale Matthews  

The Healing Power of Faith / 107
Harold Koenig  

Medical Aspects of Belief / 111
Herbert Benson and Patricia Myers

Part Seven - The Mind / 115

Freud Works with God? Unlikely Allies / 117
Daniel Blazer

Brain Science and Religious Experience / 121
Fraser Watts  

The Science of Art / 124
Vilayanur Ramachandran

Part Eight - Personhood and the Soul / 129
Whatever Became of the Soul? / 131

Malcolm Jeeves  

More Than a Body? / 134
John Polkinghorne  

Anne Foerst 137 Robot: Child of God

Computers and Morality / 141
Henry Thompson  

Part Nine - Quantum Physics and Relativity / 145
God or Chance? / 147
David Bartholomew  

Paradoxes in Science and Theology / 150
Russell Stannard  

Einstein’s View of God / 153
Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack

Where Is God? Thinking in More Than Three Dimensions / 157
John Houghton  

Part Ten - Limitations to Science / 161

Are There Limitations to Science? / 163
George Ellis  

Can God Really Act in Our World and in Our Lives? / 166
William Stoeger  

Science and Religion: Converging Paths to Truth / 169
Robert Herrmann

Part Eleven - Science/Religion Dialogue / 173

What I Want My Teenager to Know about the God/Science Debate / 175
Kitty Ferguson  

God or Science: Do I Have to Choose? / 178
Martinez Hewlett  

Science and Religion: Heading for Partnership? / 182
Cyril Domb  

The Need for Wonder / 186
Mary Midgley  

Science and Religion: What Is It All For? / 189
Pauline Rudd  

Theistic Science / 192

Mehdi Golshani