BELIEF IN GOD IN AN AGE OF SCIENCE by John Polkinghorne. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998. 130 pages, index. Hardcover; price not shown.
John Polkinghorne, now the past president and now fellow of Queens College, Cambridge, the only ordained member of the Royal Society, continues his series of "short books with a lot of depth" with yet another gem, one which belongs on the bookshelf of every ASA member. Those who may have found some of Polkinghorne's earlier books heavy going (I am one of these) will be delighted to find this newest terser, clearer and more understandable. Like C. S. Lewis, the more he writes, the better it gets.
The author asserts that there have been five principle concerns which characterize recent (since 1970) science/theology activity. These are:
1. A rejection of reductionism.
2. Understanding of evolution as compatible with theology.
3. A revival of a form of natural theology.
4. A methodological comparison of science and theology.
5. Speculations on how physical processes are open to divine agency.
He has little to say on the first two of these; much to discuss on the last three. Chapter 3, which is titled "Does God Act in the Physical World," is, perhaps the most challenging.
Read it. It will enrich your life. Give it as a gift to someone. It will similarly enrich theirs.
John W. Burgeson
Durango, Colorado August 1998
Submitted to PERSPECTIVES, the quarterly journal of the ASA.
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