Theologian Harry Lee Poe and chemist Jimmy H. Davis argue that God's interaction with our world is a possibility affirmed equally by the Bible and the contemporary scientific record. In Part One, the authors conduct a comparative study of the Christian model with other religious and philosophical depictions to show that the biblical God interacts with the physical universeTheologian Harry Lee Poe and chemist Jimmy H. Davis argue that God's interaction with our world is a possibility affirmed equally by the Bible and the contemporary scientific record. In Part One, the authors conduct a comparative study of the Christian model with other religious and philosophical depictions to show that the biblical God interacts with the physical universe in a truly novel way. Part Two turns to scientific research to identify many ways that the universe, including human history itself, is constituted to allow for divine interaction with it. Rather than confirming that the cosmos is closed to the actions of the divine, advancing scientific knowledge seems to indicate that the nature of the universe is actually open to the unique type of divine activity portrayed in the Bible....
|Title||:||God and the Cosmos: Divine Activity in Space, Time and History|
|Number of Pages||:||303 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
God and the Cosmos: Divine Activity in Space, Time and History Reviews
The book is organized around two questions: (1) What kind of God interacts with the world?, and (2) What kind of world allows God to interact? Quoting the authors, "It is not the purpose of this book to prove that God exists. In fact, one of the presuppositions of this book is that God exists. The book merely suggests avenues God has available for interacting with the physical world . . . without violating its physical laws."Part 1 includes concise descriptions of the various Hindu and Buddhist sects & their relationship to science, in addition to the views of traditional Christianity and process theology. The authors conclude that process theology does not make a helpful contribution to the science-Christian faith dialog. Their discussion of the advent of modern science briefly describes the progression from Francis Bacon to Galileo to Descartes to Newton to Laplace to Ray to Linnaeus to Darwin.The authors suggest that "we live in a universe that appears to be perfectly suited for interaction. If this were not so, science would be impossible. Without the openness to interaction, observation of the universe at all levels would not be possible. But the universe is not only open to observation, it is also open to interruption and alteration. The 'laws of nature' do not bar intervention, interruption and alteration; they permit it and make it possible."They further suggest that "God has the same freedom of interaction with the universe as every other sentient being. John Polkinghorne has fairly reasoned that 'if creatures can act as agents in the world, it would not seem reasonable to deny the possibility of some analogous capacity in the Creator.'"In Part 2, the authors note that "the pioneers of science in the seventeenth century understood the laws of nature differs dramatically from how scientists understand the world after Einstein and Niels Bohr. . . . In light of the way we now understand the universe to operate and behave, we must reconsider in what sense the laws of nature keep God out and the extent to which the laws of nature create corridors through which God may actively and continually participate in the world."They examine three areas of possible room for God's activity in the emerging universe: quantum mechanics, chaos, and genetics, particularly epigenetics.The authors mention another interesting feature of our universe is that at every major level of complexity we have seen a sudden inflationary stage that then levels off, including: (1) the early expansion of the universe, (2) the increase in the number of elements as the first generation of stars exploded as supernovas, (3) the increase in diversity of body forms during the Cambrian explosion, and (4) the diversity of cultural artifacts during the explosion of innovation and creativity in human culture. "In each case, the universe makes dramatic leaps and does things that have never been done before. The universe is full of one-time occurrences, from the singularity known as the big bang to the Cambrian explosion. We have the kind of universe that allows one-time events of an unexpected nature. Repeatability is a necessary aspect of valid scientific experimentation, but non-repeatable events are also a feature of our universe. Rather than no place for God to be involved, the universe seems designed for involvement. It has ready accessibility at every level of organization. Quantum mechanics has demonstrated that action at a distance is the everyday norm in our universe. If humans are free to intervene in nature, it would seem that God would have at least as much freedom and ability as us."And of course, being an indirect descendent of Edgar Allan Poe, co-author Harry Lee Poe mentioned "Eureka" (1848), the treatise in which Edgar Allan Poe first proposed the big bang theory and the basic ideas of relativity, and remarked that science is poetry, in that all discovery of new knowledge comes from the imagination in analogical models, like poetry.I appreciated this book mostly for the number of new (to me) ways of thinking about the possibilities of divine action, including the impact that William Perkins' book "The Golden Chain" (1590) had on scientific thinking through the years.I recommend it for anyone interested in the topic of divine action.
This book provides a remarkable overview of modern science, and explains how God works throughout the universe, given what we know today. However, while I found this book to be interesting, I fail to see much of an audience for it. Its scientific depth is admirable, and much greater than I suspected going into it, but that may very well turn away casual readers. More scientific-minded individuals will find the book's contents largely review while adding only passing commentary about how God works throughout all of it. It is neither religious enough nor scientific enough to garner much readership. I could see this being a good text for college students to read and discuss. I feel the writers leave a lot of openings for debate while providing sufficient background knowledge to insure that such debate is informed. It's a typical 3.5 star book - solid, but with noticeable weaknesses. A better book on this topic is Francis Collins' "The Language of God." It covers a lot of the same material but is much more engaging. I do have to give the "God and the Cosmos" writers credit, though, for tackling a difficult topic with serious rigor. All too often books about science and God do injustice to one side or the other.
The scope of this book is surprising. If you are interested in the history of philosophy, science, and theology you can't go wrong here.
Best, most important book I've read in years. Must read. Full review to come.