Science and Creation

The Search for Understanding

John C. Polkinghorne (1930–2021)

John C. Polkinghorne, internationally renowned priest-scientist, addresses fundamental questions about how scientific and theological worldviews relate to each other in this, the second volume (originally published in 1988) of his trilogy, which also included Science and Providence and One World.

Dr. Polkinghorne illustrates how a scientifically minded person approaches the task of theological inquiry, postulating that there exists a close analogy between theory and experiment in science and belief and understanding in theology. He offers a fresh perspective on such questions as: Are we witnessing today a revival a natural theology—the search for God through the exercise of reason and the study of nature? How do the insights of modern physics into the interlacing of order and disorder relate to the Christian doctrine of Creation? What is the relationship between mind and matter?

Polkinghorne states that the "remarkable insights that science affords us into the intelligible workings of the world cry out for an explanation more profound than that which it itself can provide. Religion, if it is to take seriously its claim that the world is the creation of God, must be humble enough to learn from science what that world is actually like.The dialogue between them can only be mutually enriching."

Preface to the 2006 Edition / ix

Acknowledgments / xv

Introduction / 3

1. Natural Theology / 7

2. Insightful Inquiry / 25

3. Order and Disorder / 44

4. Creation and Creator / 63

5. The Nature of Reality / 83

6. Theological Science / 101

Notes / 119

Bibliography / 129

Index / 133

For far too long the science-religion debate has been dominated—even clouded—by questions of biological evolution thrown up in the nineteenth century, while the transformation of the physical world in the twentieth has often seemed strangely irrelevant. This book epitomizes a welcome trend to redress the balance. . . . [It] is to be warmly recommended to all who seek to enrich the dialogue between science and theology.

C. A. Russell, Science & Christian Belief