Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
43 (1), March 2008

Table of Contents


Religion-and-Science, the Third Community by Philip Hefner

The news is out that I will retire as editor of this journal in 2009, after nineteen exhilarating years in the position. Counting this issue, five more issues will bear my editorial mark. I intend, in the editorials of these five issues, to express my own personal assessment of the religion-and-science work to which I and this journal have been dedicated for more than forty years. All editorials reveal the personal positions of the author, but in these concluding pieces I will make in a more pronounced fashion my own insights and viewpoints. This is my way of offering a “salute” to Zygon and to the readers who have made it the journal it has become.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00893.x

Honoring Arthur Peacocke: 1924—2006

Evolutionary Theory and Theology: A Mutually Illuminative Dialogue by Gloria L. Schaab

Scientific perspectives often are perceived to challenge biblically based cosmologies and theologies. Arthur Peacocke, biochemist and theologian, recognized that this challenge actually represents an opportunity for Christian theology to reenvision and reinterpret its traditions in ways that take into account scientific theories of evolution. In the course of his career, Peacocke offered a new paradigm for the dialogue between theology and science. This paper explores his proposals, in particular his theories of language, the God-world relation, and the nature of God, and exemplifies the impact these proposals had on his theological insights.
analogy • creation • critical realism • divine nature • evolution • indeterminacy • panentheism • Arthur Peacocke • self-limitation • suffering
Gloria L. Schaab, SSJ is Assistant Professor of Theology in the Department of Theology and Philosophy and Director of the Master of Arts in Practical Theology, O’Laughlin Hall 220, Barry University, 11300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, FL 33161; e-mail: gschaab @ mail.barry.edu. She is a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00894.x

Some Correlations between Methods of Knowing and Theological Concepts in Arthur Peacocke’s Personalistic Panentheism and Nonpersonal Naturalistic Theism by Karl E. Peters

Differences in methods of knowing correlate with differences in concepts about what is known. This is an underlying issue in science and religion. It is seen, first, in Arthur Peacocke’s reasoning about God as transcendent and personal, is based on an assumption of correlative thinking that like causes like. This contrasts with a notion of causation in empirical science, which explains the emergence of new phenomena as originating from temporally prior phenomena quite unlike that which emerges. The scientific understanding of causation is compatible with a naturalistic theism that holds a nonpersonal model of God as the creative process. However, focusing on the immanence of God, there is a second correlation between methods of knowing and concepts of God. Classical empiricism, used by science, correlates with God understood nonpersonally as the creative process. Radical empiricism, in which feelings and not only sense perceptions have cognitive import, opens up the possibility that one can experience Peacocke’s personal, panentheistic God as pattern-forming influence. I illustrate this second method-concept correlation with a personal experience.
analogia entis • causation • classical empiricism • empirical theism • empiricism • epistemology • God • immanence • naturalistic theism • panentheism • Arthur Peacocke • radical empiricism • religious naturalism • transcendence
Karl E. Peters is professor emeritus of philosophy and religion, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, and adjunct professor of religion and science at Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, Illinois. He is coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science and president of the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science His mailing address is 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035; e-mail: kpeters396 @ cox.net.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00895.x

Hierarchies: The Core Argument for a Naturalistic Christian Faith by Philip Clayton

This article takes on a perhaps impossible task: not only to reconstruct the core argument of Arthur Peacocke’s program in science and religion but also to evaluate it in two major areas where it would seem to be vulnerable, namely, more recent developments in systems biology and the philosophy of mind. If his theory of hierarchies is to be successful, it must stand up to developments in these two areas and then be able to apply the results in a productive way to Christian theological reflection. Peacocke recognized that one’s model of the mind-body relation is crucial for one’s position on the God-world relation and divine action. Of the three models that he constructed, it turns out that only the third can serve as a viable model for theology if it is to be more than purely deistic or metaphorical.
complexity theory • divine action • emergence theory • God-world relation • hierarchies • levels of the natural world and of explanation • mathematical biology • mind-body problem • Arthur Peacocke • philosophy of mind • reaction stoichiometry • systems biology
Philip Clayton is Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the Claremont Graduate University, 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00896.x

An Intellectually Honest Theology by Antje Jackelén

A hallmark of Arthur Peacocke’s work is his aim of writing theology that is intellectually honest. He believed that intelligibility and meaning are foremost on theology’s agenda. Consequently, he focused on ultimate meanings, but he did so by taking into account the scientific knowledge of the world. He faced head-on the challenge to accept the Christian tradition, at the same time subjecting that tradition to critique and reforming its images and modes of thinking. I survey Peacocke’s agenda, his methodology, and the sources of his theological thinking, and how this contributes to understanding the relationship between science and theology. A major result of his approach is the abolition of dualisms, specifically that of the natural and the supernatural. Peacocke’s approach to theology has exemplary potential for the debate between those who espouse a radical Enlightenment with its claim to universal principles of reason and radical postmodernists who may appear to fall prey to a relativism that equals nihilism.
dualism • emergence • intellectually honest theology • intelligibility • meaning • Arthur Peacocke • science-and-religion
Antje Jackelén is Bishop of Lund, Sweden, and former director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science. Her address is Box 32, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden; e-mail: antje.jackelen @ svenskakyrkan.se.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00897.x

The Centrality of Incarnation by Ann Milliken Pederson

What we urgently need at the beginning of the twenty-first century is a christological vision that can shape and inform a new and powerful way of helping humankind to interpret their place within the universe. A christological vision that is unintelligible and uninteresting can have a profoundly deleterious soteriological implication: the orbit of God’s saving grace will not be wide enough to encompass the universal place of humankind. Arthur Peacocke’s move is clear and to the point: Only when the foundations and universal scope of God’s grace are fully established for all of creation, only then can the importance of God’s specific work in Jesus the Christ be established.
boundaries • christological vision • human and divine • nature • soteriology
Ann Milliken Pederson is Professor of Religion at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD 57197, and Adjunct Professor of Ethics and Humanities at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00898.x

Arthur Peacocke’s Naturalistic Christian Faith for the Twenty-First Century: A Brief Introduction by Nancey Murphy

This article is a brief overview and positive assessment of Arthur Peacocke’s essay “A Naturalistic Christian Faith for the Twenty-First Century.” Here Peacocke further develops his panentheist account of God and provides significant reinterpretations of a number of Christian doctrines using the concept of emergent levels of complex reality with downward efficacy on their constituents.
emergence • naturalism • panentheism • Arthur Peacocke
Nancey Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary, 135 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, CA 91182.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00899.x

Chance and Necessity in Arthur Peacocke’s Scientific Work by Gayle E. Woloschak

Arthur Peacocke was one of the most important scholars to contribute to the modern dialogue on science and religion, and for this he is remembered in the science-religion community. Many people, however, are unaware of his exceptional career as a biochemist prior to his decision to pursue a life working as a clergyman in the Church of England. His contributions to studies of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) structure, effects of radiation damage on DNA, and on the interactions of DNA and proteins are among the most important in the field at the time and have had a lasting scientific impact that is still felt today. Peacocke’s arguments with Jacques Monod over stochastic (chance) and deterministic (necessity) processes driving evolution became important independently for both the science and the religion communities and appear to have contributed significantly to his decision to become involved in science-religion dialogue rather than continuing his work exclusively in the field of science. Nevertheless, although Peacocke took on an active church life and ceased his experimental work, he never left science but continued to read the scientific literature and published a scientific review on different approaches in defining DNA structure as recently as 2005.
deterministic processes • DNA—deoxyribonucleic acid • evolution • RNA—ribonucleic acid • stochastic processes
Gayle E. Woloschak is a professor in the Departments of Radiation Oncology, Radiology, and Cell and Molecular Biology, Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, 303 E. Chicago Ave., Ward-13-002, Chicago, IL 60611, and Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science in Chicago; e-mail: g-woloschak @ northwestern.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00900.x

Remembering Arthur Peacocke: A Personal Reflection by Ian G. Barbour

I join others who have expressed profound gratitude for the life and thought of Arthur Peacocke. I recall some high points in my interaction with him during a period of forty years as an intellectual companion and personal friend. Some similarities in our thinking about evolution, emergence, top-down causality, and continuing creation are indicated. Four points of difference are then discussed: (1) Emergent monism or two-aspect process events? (2) Panentheism or process theism? (3) Creation ex nihilo and/or continuing creation? (4) Voluntary or necessary limitation of God’s power? Even when we differed I have benefited immensely from our ongoing interaction.
creation • emergence • evolution • Charles Hartshorne • kenosis • panentheism • Arthur Peacocke • John Polkinghorne • process philosophy • top-down causality • Alfred North Whitehead
Ian G. Barbour has been Professor of Physics and Professor of Religion at Carleton College, 1 North College St., Northfield, MN 55057; e-mail: ibarbour @ carleton.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00901.x


Is a Complete Biocognitive Account of Religion Feasible? by Lluís Oviedo

The biological and cognitive approach to religion has matured somewhat and reveals interesting results. Nevertheless, some questions arise about its foundation and development. The essay offers a review of current research in the cognitive field, focusing on its conclusions, the internal discussions, and the problems that need more study or correction. Emphasis is placed on a more intricate account of the factors involved in religious experience, discussing the proper use of the discoveries of biocognitive research and the limits that should be placed on said conclusions.
biology of religion • cognitive science • limits of science • religion and science • religious mind • religious studies
Lluís Oviedo is Professor of Theological Anthropology, The Pontifical University, Antonianum, Rome, Via Merulana 124, 00185 Rome, Italy, and invited Professor of Theology and Culture, The Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; e-mail: loviedo @ antonianum.eu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00902.x

The New Sciences of Religion by William Grassie

In this essay I examine the new sciences of religion, spanning the traditional fields such as the psychology, sociology, and anthropology of religion to new fields such as the economics, neurosciences, epidemiology, and evolutionary psychology of religion. The purpose is to welcome these approaches but also delineate some of their philosophical and theological limitations. I argue for pluralistic methodologies in the scientific study of religious and spiritual phenomena. I argue that religious persons and institutions should welcome these investigations, because science affects only interpretative strategies and does not present a fundamental challenge to core religious commitments. Indeed, the new sciences of religion can help religions in becoming more effective and wholesome. I am critical of confusing the scientific study of religion with scientism and trace this ideological project back to August Comte. In the end I deconstruct the metaphoric boundary that places religion on the inside as the object and science as the subject on the outside looking in.
anthropology of religion • economics of religion • epidemiology of religion • evolutionary psychology • neurosciences of religion • neurotheology • psychology of religion • sociology of religion
William Grassie is the founder of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science, 28 Garrett Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, and currently serves as a Senior Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Buddhist Studies at the University of Peradeniya in Kandy, Sri Lanka; e-mail: grassie @ metanexus.net.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00903.x

Pantheism Reconstructed: Ecotheology as a Successor to the Judeo-Christian, Enlightenment, and Postmodernist Paradigms by John W. Grula

The Judeo-Christian, Enlightenment, and postmodernist paradigms have become intellectually and ethically exhausted. They are obviously failing to provide a conceptual framework conducive to eliminating some of humanity’s worst scourges, including war and environmental destruction. This raises the issue of a successor, which necessitates a reexamination of first principles, starting with our concept of God. Pantheism, which is differentiated from panentheism, denies the existence of a transcendent, supernatural creator and instead asserts that God and the universe are one and the same. Understood via intuition, modern cosmology, and other natural sciences, it offers an alternative worldview that posits the divine and sacred nature of the universe/creation. By asserting the fallacy of the creator/creation dichotomy and any attempts to anthropomorphize or personalize God, pantheism precludes hubris stemming from erroneous notions of divine favoritism. The links between Judeo-Christianity and the Enlightenment are traced and a case made that the latter has resulted in the equally erroneous and hubristic notion of human ascendancy to a Godlike status, with the concept of progress providing a secular version of the Christian belief in salvation. By reestablishing the natural sciences’ metanarrative, even as it asserts the divinity of the material universe, pantheism simultaneously demotes postmodernism and reconciles science with religion. Pantheism provides a theological foundation for deep ecology and also stakes out a viable third position in relation to the ongoing dispute between advocates of intelligent design and the scientific establishment.
Anthropic Principle • anthropomorphism • constants of nature • cosmic evolution • cosmology • creator/creation dichotomy • deep ecology • Enlightenment • environmental crisis • God • hubris • infinite monkey theorem • intelligent design • Judeo-Christianity • multiverse • panentheism • pantheism • postmodernism • progress • science and religion • science and theology • string theory • technology • universe • war and peace • worldviews
John W. Grula is the Astronomy Librarian at The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 813 Santa Barbara St., Pasadena, CA 91101; e-mail: jgrula @ ociw.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00904.x

Space and Religion: An Interweaving of Influences by Jacques Arnould

Since the earliest ages of humanity, the contemplation of the starry sky has invited the human being to ask: “Who am I? Where is my origin? What is my destiny?” The revolution introduced by modem astronomy has affected how humankind understands itself, and the development of aeronautical and then astronautical techniques introduced a new experiment for humanity—that of being citizen of the sky. By carrying out the dream of Icarus, has humanity realized the attempt of Prometheus? Would we take the place of the gods or God? Do religions have to fear the conquest of space? Despite modern science and the knowledge we have accumulated, space still holds its share of mystery, nurtured by its vast dimensions and startling beauty. Space continues to raise the issue of meaning.
anthropocentrism • astronautics and religion • popes • space conquest
Jacques Arnould is a Dominican priest in charge of ethics in the French Space Agency, CNES. His address is Couvent Saint-Jacques, 20 rue des Tanneries, 75013 Paris, France; e-mail: jacques.arnould @ cnes.fr.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00905.x

Review Articles

Divining “Divine Action” in Theology-and-Science: A Review Essay by Amos Yong

The topic of divine action has been central to the theology-and-science discussion over the last twenty years. Some tentative conclusions are currently being drawn in light of research initiatives that have been engaged on this topic. I review three recent books that have responded in some way to the ongoing discussion. These responses show that, notwithstanding the advances made in the conversation, much work remains to be done before a plausible theory of divine action emerges at the interface of theology and science.
causal joint • Divine Action Project • interventionism • quantum cosmology • theology of nature
Amos Yong is Professor of Theology at Regent University School of Divinity, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464; e-mail: ayong @ regent.edu.

This article reviews Divine Action and Modern Science by Helaine Seline; Chaos, Complexity, and God: Divine Action and Scientism by Taede A. Smedes; and Divine Action in the Framework of Scientific Thinking: From Quantum Theory to Divine Action by Christoph Lameter.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00906.x

Engaging Science in the Mode of Trust: Hans Küng’s The Beginning of All Things by Chris Tilling

In 2006 Swiss theologian Hans Küng added his distinctive and important voice to the science/theology discussion in his work Der Anfang aller Dinge. I summarize here the general contours of Küng’s argumentation and briefly evaluate his proposals, especially in relation to his earlier publications. English translations are provided for German citations. After summarizing Küng’s response to the question of the search for a unified theory of everything, I present his answer to the question of how theology and science should be related. This leads to a summary of his extensive meditation on science and the question of God’s existence from a theological-philosophical perspective. After examining his thesis concerning creation and evolution, I discuss matters more anthropological and trace the final elements of Küng’s argument as they relate to eschatology and science. Finally, I evaluate the general thrust of his argumentation with special reference to his previous publications.
anthropic principle • biogenesis • chance and necessity • cosmic organizing principles • creation • eschatology • evolution • GUT • intelligent design • Hans Küng • miracles • neuroscience • panentheism • Pascal’s wager • the problem of freedom • psyche • relation between theology and science
Chris Tilling is completing his New Testament doctorate at London School of Theology. His address is Schillerstraße 32, Gomaringen 72810, Germany; e-mail: chris @ christilling.de.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00907.x

The Agenda for Religion-and-Science

A Biologist’s Perspective on the Future of the Science-Religion Dialogue in the Twenty-First Century by John J. Carvalho IV

In recent issues of Zygon, numerous reflections have been published commenting on where the field of science-and-religion has been, where it presently stands, and where it should move in the future. These reflections touch on the importance of the dialogue and raise questions as to what audience the dialogue addresses and whom it should address. Some scholars see the dialogue as prospering, while others point out that much work needs to be done to make the dialogue more accessible to a larger audience and more successful at tackling the provocative questions before us. Other academics view the questions themselves as needing further consideration and focus before answers to them can even be explored. In this article I provide a general overview of these essays by outlining some general categories of thought that seem to emerge from the contributors. I then present some of my own opinions concerning the future of the science-religion field and emphasize that the dialogue, in addition to its traditional roles, must further the philosophical framework that can aid humanity in resolving the most pressing global concerns of our time.
evolutionary biology • global warming • human rights • philosophy • religion • science-religion • technology • theology • third world poverty • world health
John J. Carvalho IV is Assistant Professor of Biology and winner of the United States National Research Service Award in the Biology Department at California State University Dominguez Hills. His mailing address is Biology Department NSM A-135, California State University Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson, CA 90747; e-mail: jcarvalho @ csudh.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00908.x

Is There a Future for the Dialogue? by Sjoerd L. Bonting

The title question was raised by Philip Hefner in an editorial in the March 2007 issue of Zygon, and answered in various ways in sixteen guest editorials in the June, September, and December 2007 issues. In this article, after defining some pertinent concepts, I comment on these essays. I review critical statements made by the guest editorialists and survey their proposals for further dialogue topics. I conclude with my own views on the future of the dialogue and the role of Zygon therein.
dialogue • dialogue topics • human science • natural sciences • religion • theology • worldviews
Sjoerd L. Bonting is Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and a priest-theologian in the Anglican Diocese in Europe. His address is Specreyse 12, 7471 TH Goor, the Netherlands; e-mail: s.l.bonting @ wxs.nl.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00909.x

Beyond Barbour or Back to Basics? The Future of Science-and-Religion and the Quest for Unity by Taede A. Smedes

Reflecting on the future of the field of science-and-religion, I focus on three aspects. First, I describe the history of the religion-and-science dialogue and argue that the emergence of the field was largely contingent on social-cultural factors in Western theology, especially in the United States. Next, I focus on the enormous influence of science on Western society and on what I call cultural scientism, which influences discussions in science-and-religion, especially how theological notions are taken up. I illustrate by sketching the way divine action has been studied in science-and-religion. The divine-action debates may seem irrelevant to theologians because the way divine action is dealt with in science-and-religion is theologically problematic. Finally, I analyze the quest for integration and unity of science and religion that underlies much of the contemporary field of science-and-religion and was stimulated particularly by the efforts of Ian Barbour. I argue that his quest echoes the logical positivist vision of unification and has a strong bias toward science as the sole source of rationality, which does not take theology fully seriously.
Ian Barbour • divine action • logical positivism • science and religion • scientism
Taede A. Smedes is Junior Fellow at the Faculty of Theology of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. His address is Lodewijk van Deyssellaan 51, 2182 VN, Hillegom, the Netherlands; e-mail: tasmedes @ tasmedes.nl.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00910.x

Taking Science Seriously without Scientism: A Response to Taede Smedes by Ian G. Barbour

In responding to Taede Smedes, I first examine his thesis that the recent dialogue between science and religion has been dominated by scientism and does not take theology seriously. I then consider his views on divine action, free will and determinism, and process philosophy. Finally I use the fourfold typology of Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integration to discuss his proposal for the future of science and religion.
Karl Barth • creationism • determinism • divine action • free will • linguistic philosophy • logical positivism • Arthur Peacocke • John Polkinghorne • process philosophy • scientism • Taede Smedes • Alfred North Whitehead
Ian G. Barbour has been Professor of Physics and Professor of Religion at Carleton College, 1 North College St., Northfield, MN 55057; e-mail: ibarbour @ carleton.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00911.x

Taking Theology and Science Seriously without Category Mistakes: A Response to Ian Barbour by Taede A. Smedes

In my response to Ian Barbour’s criticisms, I first argue for the anthropological dimensions and contextuality of any theology. Next I examine and criticize Barbour’s thesis that I am an incompatibilist about divine action. Finally I illustrate the fact that I see genuine opportunities for a dialogue between theologians and scientists without apologetics, category mistakes, or relegating theology to the fringes of science, by pointing to evolutionary explanations of religion.
Ian Barbour • Justin Barrett • Paul Bloom • compatibilism • divine action • evolutionary explanations of religion • primary and secondary causality • theology
Taede A. Smedes is Junior Fellow at the Faculty of Theology of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. His address is Lodewijk van Deyssellaan 51, 2182 VN, Hillegom, the Netherlands; e-mail: tasmedes @ tasmedes.nl.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00912.x


Jesus and Creativity by Gordon D. Kaufman, reviewed by Karl E. Peters

Karl E. Peters, Professor Emeritus, Rollins College, 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00913.x

The Ethical Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga, reviewed by James W. Haag

James W. Haag, Graduate Theological Union, 5824 College Ave. #4, Oakland, CA 94618
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00914.x

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts