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Bridging the Gaps: Can Science and Theology Share a Common Vision of Nature, Life, and Personhood? - Index

Many would say that science and theology are like oil and water; perpetually incompatible. There have certainly been many points of conflict between them, but neither are static - both are evolving (to use a contentious word!) and so the relationship between science and theology will inevitably change too. What might the future hold for this complex relationship?

In these lectures I review how discoveries over the last few hundred years have led us to revise what we believe are correct 'scientific' conceptions of nature, life, and personhood. These descriptions are often very different from those we find in theology, and sometimes incompatible with its teachings. Examples of incompatible scientific views include: "humans are merely animals, or atoms in motion, or robots carrying out the bidding of their genes."

I then make two observations:

  • Some of the most theologically problematic conceptions of nature, life, and personhood, are oversimplifications that persist because they are easy to teach and grasp, but are no longer the current 'scientific' view.
  • In order to tackle longstanding problems such as the origin of life and consciousness, science may be evolving in a direction that will require it to revise these conceptions again, and in ways that will actually be more compatible with theology.

In part one I take a look at these issues in a historical context, and show how the popular, simplified conception of science fails to describe all natural processes equally well.

In part two I speculate on how science may evolve in the future to close more gaps in our understanding of the world, and consider the theological implications of a future where science can give a richer account of nature, life, and personhood.

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Adrian Wyard

Bridging the Gaps: Can Science and Theology Share a Common Vision of Nature, Life, and Personhood? - Index


Part 1: How We Got Here
Part 2: What Happens Next - Implications for Theology
Interview with Adrian Wyard
A Brief(er) Guide to How Emergence Will Change Science, and its relation to Religion


Presented at the Mercer University McAfee school of theology as the 2012 Ginn Lectures. Initially recorded for broadcast by AIBTV.

See also:

Physics and Cosmology
The Relation of Science & Religion
Purpose and Design
Was the Universe Designed?
Did the Universe Have a Beginning?
The Argument From Design
Cosmos and Creator
Books on Science and Religion