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 You're here » Christian Books Index » Books » Theology » When Science Meets Religion

When Science Meets Religion

Author: Ian G. Barbour
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       Ian Barbour is the winner of the 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, as well as a professor emeritus of pyhsics and religion at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. In When Science Meets Religion he offers a wonderful illumination of the critical encounter between the spiritual and quantitative dimensions of life. He focuses on six foundational questions which have arisen in the interaction between science and religion.

Question one concerns the overall relationship between science and religion. Are science and religion enemies? Or are they two equally valid but divergent ways of viewing life? Can one combine the materialistic insights of science with the moral insights of religion?

Question two concerns the interpretation of cosmic history. What does the Big Bang signify, if it is an actual event? Does a specific beginning point to the presence of a creator?

Question three focuses on how quantum physics has changed the way we look at time, causality, and the nature of reality. Quantum physics is inherently uncertain and, to some extent, unquantifiable. How does this relate to the knowability of the future? Does God answer the questions raised in quantum physics?

Question four centers on Darwinism and evolution. Did God create the universe as it is, or did he create it through the process of evolution? God transcends nature; is he also immanent in it? Is the idea of continual creation viable?

Question five looks at genetics and issues related to human nature. Can the traditional view of a dualism between body and soul or matter and mind stand up to genetic analysis? What is the connection between being a biological organism and a responsible self?

Question six investigates whether predestination (a divine blueprint) is consistent with what we know about how the world works and what we know about evil. Does God have to limit himself in his dealings with creation, particularly with humans? When God is said to act in the world is it a violation of the laws of science?

You may not agree with all of Barbour's answers, but the questions will certainly stimulate thought. A fascinating and illuminating book.

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