In contrast to Christian theology that has ignored science, this essay suggests that a credible doctrine of God as creator must take into account scientific understandings of the world. The introduction of the principle of inertia into seventeenth-century science and philosophy helped change the traditional idea of God as creator (which included divine conservation and governance) into a deist concept of God. To recapture the idea that God continually creates, it is important to affirm the contingency of the world as a whole and of all events in the world. Reflecting on the interrelationship of contingency and natural law provides a framework for relating scientific theories of a universal field, the concept of emergent evolution, and the theological concept of eternal divine spirit active in all creation.
contingency • creation • emergent evolution • field theory • God • spirit of God
Wolfhart Pannenberg is professor of systematic theology and director of the Ecumenical Institute at Universität München, Evangelisch-Theologische Facultät, Schellingstraße 3/III, 8000 München 40, Federal Republic of Germany.
Contingency in Physics and Cosmology: A Critique of the Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg by Robert John Russell
The concept of contingency serves to bridge the doctrine of creation and natural science in Wolfhart Pannenbergs theology. My paper first analyzes the relation of creatio ex nihilo and creatio continua. Next I suggest three categories of contingency: global, local, and nomological. Under each category I assess Pannenbergs use of physics, cosmology, and philosophy of science. Although I agree with Pannenbergs emphasis on continuous creation and on the role of science in renewing the doctrine of creation, I argue for a shift in the discussion from Pannenbergs topics to others, such as the anthropic principle, quantum physics, and thermodynamics.
anthropic principle • contingency • cosmology • creation • inertia
Robert John Russell is associate professor of theology and science in residence at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California 94709, and Founder and Director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), Berkeley.
Theology and Science in the Evolving Cosmos by Jeffrey S. Wicken
Theology and science are both essential to the process of making sense of the world. Yet their relationship over the centuries has been largely adversarial. The Darwinian revolution, in particular, has necessitated a radical reinterpretation of the traditional dogma concerning creation. In this paper I discuss two general issues that presently obstruct communication between scientists and theologians in this arena and that are brought into acute focus by Wolfhart Pannenberg. First, the need to exercise care in the use of such denotative concepts as field especially in understanding the Darwinian character of the evolutionary process is addressed. Second, the ontological room science necessarily leaves theology in this enterprise is considered.
evolution • field • scientism • theology
Jeffrey S. Wicken is associate professor of biochemistry at Pennsylvania State University, Behrend College, Erie, Pennsylvania 16563.
On Ian Barbours Issues in Science and Religion by David Ray Griffin
Although Ian Barbour endorses process organicism in Issues in Science and Religion, his rhetoric against vitalism and dualism makes his discussion of life, mind, and the part-whole relationship sound like relational emergentism and hence like a denial of process philosophys nondualistic interactionism. Also his rhetoric against a God of the gaps seems to exclude the God-shaped hole in Alfred North Whiteheads philosophy. A more consistent articulation of Whiteheads postmodern position would lead to greater adequacy and consistency on these issues, and perhaps also to a more radically postmodern view of science—a view which Whitehead himself only sometimes suggested.
emergence • God-world relation • mind-body relation • postmodern science • process philosophy • science and theology
David Ray Griffin is executive director of the Center for Process Studies and professor of philosophy of religion at the School of Theology at Claremont, California 91711, and founding president of the Center for a Post-Modern World in Santa Barbara. He is the editor of Physics and the Ultimate Significance of Time: Bohm, Prigogine, and Process Philosophy (SUNY Press, 1986) and The Reenchantment of Science: Postmodern Proposals (SUNY Press, 1988), and is general editor of the SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought.
This article reviews Issues in Science and Religion by Ian G. Barbour.
On Two Issues in Science and Religion: A Response to David Griffin by Ian G. Barbour
In responding to David Griffins critique of my book, Issues in Science and Religion, I suggest that most of the points which he initially presents as differences between us concerning reduction and emergence are resolved in the second half of his article. I spoke of the emergence of higher-level properties and activities, rather than entities, but my analysis of whole and parts is similar to his, although it was perhaps not always clearly articulated. We.agree also that Alfred North Whiteheads God is involved in every event in ways which avoid the problems of the supernaturalist God of the gaps, but we differ as to whether Gods action might be taken into account in a new post-modern science.
emergence • god-world relation • mind-body relation • process philosophy • science and theology
Ian G. Barbour is professor of religion and Bean professor of science, technology, and society, emeritus at Carleton College, One North College Street, Northfield, Minnesota 55057.
Evolution as Entropy by Daniel R. Brooks, reviewed by John Collier