Sunday, October 3, 2010

A fuzzy boundary between science and theology

I delayed writing this post because the underlying ideas are somewhat vague and poorly articulated. But, I think there is a profound and important idea and observation that should be made. Hence, I particularly welcome comments.

Some related ideas are in an earlier post, The end of science is the beginning of theology. At the Polkinghorne 80th Birthday Conference, Quantum Theory and the Nature of Reality, last week I observed something fascinating. The density of Oxbridge Professors was high (no pun intended!) with a  wide range of philosophical and theological commitments, present. Yet, it was fascinating to observe how quickly discussions of concrete experiments in quantum physics could quickly move to discussions of profound philosophical questions about epistemology (how do we know what we know? what can we know?), ontology (what is real?), consciousness, free will and determinism, and the uniqueness of humanity and our universe, and the mystery of existence.
One speaker began his talk and another ended his with John 1:1
"In the beginning was the Word"
My modest point is perhaps that God intentionally created a universe with a "veiled" reality that it should force humanity towards such questions. It would interesting to explore how such a view engages with the role and limitations of natural theology, and particularly with passages such as Acts 17:22-31 and Romans 1:16-25 which contains texts such as:

What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25....he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind .... 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him.

19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

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