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
- 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.