Sunday, Oct 23, 2005: “Science and Religion: Session 6”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Faith, Science, and Understanding by John Polkinghorne
Discussion Led By Prof. George John
Sunday, October 23, 2005




I. Brief comments about Chap 3 on Revelation

II. Chap 5: Second Thoughts

A. 5.l – Critical Realism

1. Science, via its methodology, progressively refines its observations and theories to obtain a more accurate representation of a rich and multi-leveled reality

> “Scientists are map makers of the physical world. No map tells us all that could be said about a particular terrain, but it can faithfully represent the structure present on a certain scale. In the sense of an increasing verisimilitude, of ever better approximations to the truth of the matter, science offers us a tightening grasp of physical reality.”

2. Examples:

a) Atomic and nuclear models

b) Classical Physics vice Modem Physics .c) Quantum Theory and General Relativity

d) Inability to reconciling Quantum theory and General Relativity. Is it critical realism’s Achilles heel?

e) Mathematical elegance and simplicity — beauty

>  Description of an Ellipse as an example

>  Matrix vice wave mechanics ==>Dirac

>  Inverse square law/curved space ==>
Schwartzchild solution

f) Metaphor vice Model

B. 5.2 Quantum Cosmology and the Anthropic Principle

1. Religious interpretation

2. non-theistic interpretation.

C. 5.3 Panentheism

1. JCP has difficulty reconciling panentheism’s “detached and distant deity” with Christianities fundamental belief that ‘God is Love.’

2. JCP:- p- 90 “I do, however, acknowledge that the ultimate destiny of creation, prefigured in the resurrection of Christ, understood as the seed from which God’s new creation has begun to grow through the redeeming transformation of the old
..creation, will indeed be a state in which God is ‘all in all'(l Cor.15:28), so I believe that panentheism will prove to be an eschatological reality. “

3. I’m reminded of Teilhard de Chardin’s comment that we contain the totality of the universe in part, from which I think of a parallel that God contains the totality of the universe in whole.

4. Clayton and Moltman

D. 5.4 Dual Aspect Monism

1. Matter-energy

2. matter-energy-information

E. 5.5 Chaos Theory

1. Brief description

2. Implications

III. Chapter Six: God in Relation to Nature: Kenotic Creation and Divine Action

A. Can we reconcile science’s account of the regularity of natural processes with “Christian theology’s claim to speak of the God who acts in history?

B. Divine kenosis: p 111 -“The Creator self-limits divine power in allowing the created-other to be truly itself, in the God-given freedom of being”