Science and Providence

God’s Interaction with the World

John C. Polkinghorne

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, previously published in the United Kingdom, focuses on the viewpoint that the world is one in which both human beings and God have the freedom to act.

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. 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.

Preface / ix

Acknowledgments / xv

Introduction / 3

1. The Problem / 7

2. Embodiment and Action / 23

3. Providence / 43

4. Miracle / 53

5. Evil / 69

6. Prayer / 80

7. Time / 88

8. Incarnation and Sacrament / 97

9. Hope / 108

Notes / 113

Bibliography / 123

Index / 127