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a) Christology and Quantum Complementarity

Some scholars have found that specific theories in science can illuminate particular theological concerns related to redemption. A clear example comes from the use of quantum mechanical ‘complementarity’ in discussing christology.Complementarity has been used in a wide variety of theological issues, and not just in christology. Niels Bohr has used it even more generally in discussing ‘the unity of the sciences’ as well...In a lengthy study published in 1966, John McIntyre compared the traditional ‘two-natures’ model with ‘psychological’ and ‘revelation’ models of Christ.John McIntyre, The Shape of Christology (SCM Press and Westminster Press, 1966).In 1967, William Austin specifically described the humanity and the divinity of Christ as complementary, but noted problems with this idea. He then suggested that Messiah and Logos form a better example of complementarity.William Austin, "Waves, Particles and Paradoxes," Rice University Studies 53 (1967): 85 ff.In 1974, Barbour reviewed these two proposals.Barbour, Myths, Models, and Paradigms, Ch. 8, Section 2, "Christological Models".He was critical of McIntyre’s view that models are independent of each other, but he agreed with McIntyre’s assessment of the function and status of the models. Barbour also stressed that if complementarity is to be invoked, such models should be on the “same logical level”: in physics, particle and wave are, but in theology, divinity and humanity are not.

In 1976, Christopher B. Kaiser compared Chalcedonian christology and Bohr’s own version of complementarity,Kaiser rightly points out that, given the variety of interpretations on both sides, one must specify which form of christology and which version of complementarity are to be compared. finding eleven points in common. For example, both wave and particle point to the same object, an electron, and both God and human, pertain to the same person, Jesus Christ. Two models are necessary as well as sufficient in both cases, and in both cases they are dynamically related to each other. He concluded by exploring the implications of the comparison. More recently, James E. Loder and W. Jim Neidhardt returned to these ideas, drawing again on Bohr and discussing complementarity in relation to the work of Sren Kierkegaard and Paul Møller;James Edwin Loder and Jim W. Neidhardt, The Knight's Move: The Relational Logic of the Spirit in Theology and Science (Colorado Springs: Helmers & Howard, 1992). their proposal has been evaluated recently by Kaiser.W. Mark Richardson and Wesley J. Wildman, eds., Religion and Science: History, Method, Dialogue (New York: Routledge, 1996), Case Study III.

Contributed by: Dr. Robert Russell

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