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Science and Providence: God's Interaction with the World [Paperback]

By John C. Polkinghorne (Author)
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Item description for Science and Providence: God's Interaction with the World by John C. Polkinghorne...

Internationally renowned priest-scientist Dr. John C. Polkinghorne examines whether a personal, interacting God is a credible concept in today's scientific age. Encouraging the belief that there is a compatibility between the insights of science and the insights of religion, this book, previously published in the United Kingdom, focuses on the viewpoint that the world is one in which both human beings and God have the freedom to act.

A modern understanding of the physical world is applied to questions of prayer and providence, such as: Do miracles happen? Can prayer change anything? Why does evil exist? Why does God allow suffering? Why does God need us to ask him?

God's involvement in time is considered, from both a temporal and an eternal perspective. The roles of incarnation and sacrament are discussed in terms of whether or not they have a credible place in today's worldview. And the Final Anthropic Principle (FAP) is presented, with its attempt at a physical eschatology, showing it to be an inadequate basis for hope. Real hope can reside only with God, Polkinghorne concludes.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Science and Providence: God's Interaction with the World by John C. Polkinghorne has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Library Journal - 08/08/2005

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Templeton Press
Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.44"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2005
Publisher   Templeton Foundation Press
ISBN  1932031928  
ISBN13  9781932031928  

Availability  4 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2017 04:54.
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More About John C. Polkinghorne

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John C. Polkinghorne is an Anglican priest, a fellow of the Royal Academy past president of Queens College, Cambridge University, and former professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge. Polkinghorne resigned his chair in physics to study for the Anglican priesthood. After completing his theological studies and serving at parishes, he returned to Cambridge. In 1997, Dr. Polkinghorne was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for distinguished service to science, religion, learning, and medical ethics. He was the recipient of the 2002 Templeton Prize. He lives in Cambridge, United Kingdom.


John C. Polkinghorne was born in 1930.

John C. Polkinghorne has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Theology & the Sciences
  2. Theology and the Sciences

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Language Studies
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Science, Faith & Evolution

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Reviews - What do customers think about Science and Providence: God's Interaction with the World?

Rationalizing a preexisting belief, rather than justifying it  Aug 30, 2007
The author, a noted scientist, is a devout Christian and correspondingly accepts no other explanation of reality than the Christian one. This, of course, is a severe handicap in any investigation of reality, not expected in particular of a scientist. Scientists, however, can be dogmatic in other ways, and the author may perhaps be excused on that ground. The issue accordingly is how sound is the author's argumentation.

The usual arguments for the existence of God engage in what is known as natural theology, the seeking of answers to the questions through the study of nature. The author rejects this approach early in the book. He says (p.8), "natural only capable of affording limited insight...The new physics may encourage belief in some sort of deity, but will he prove to be just a deistic Absentee Landlord?" and, quoting another author (The God of Jesus Christ), "The God who no longer plays an active role in the world is in the final analysis a dead God."

But this is not the only outcome allowed in natural theology. Among its traditional classifications are teleological arguments, ones concerned with purpose in nature as evidence of an active God. The author repeatedly speaks (e.g. pp.33-4) of God's "purposive will", or of God's "purposive action" in the world, as the requirement. But he doesn't find evidence of such purpose in the world other than our own action in our bodies, and proposes an analogy between that action and God's action in the world (p.19). To this end he adduces the recent findings in science of unpredictability, in quantum theory and at other levels, saying, "God's purposive will may be...hidden within the unpredictability" (p.41).

It isn't necessary, however, to invoke these scientific findings, in order to then fit the purposefulness of the Christian God into these gaps of uncertainty (although the author denies depending on a God of "gaps", familiar regarding evolution). One can indeed have recourse to natural theology in finding the looked-for purposefulness amidst the most familiar phenomena. I have been trying unheeded to point this out in other reviews, and have dealt with the broader issues, including other subjects, in depth in my book On Proof for Existence of God, and Other Reflective Inquiries. This try then has to be another. The evidence of purpose other than that of humans, or animals, is right in front of us, in every living organism. Similarly to our own, or the animal's, purposes aimed at our well-being or survival, every organism likewise functions toward its self-preservation and preservation of the species, as is a commonplace but somehow totally overlooked in the search for purpose in nature.

The author, like so many others (many cited in his book), accordingly needlessly searches for purpose in every scientific, or non-scientific, nook and cranny, not cognizant of the purpose writ large in the very activities of life.

A New and interesting approach  Jul 28, 2007
Polkinghorne fans will love this book. It is challenging for the reader without a science background, but intelligible nonetheless. Polkinghorne continues to write on the interface of science and religion. There are very few who match him.
Recommended for academicians, scientists, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in science and religion  Mar 14, 2006
Science And Province: God's Interaction With The World, written by internationally renowned Anglican priest and former professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University. John C. Polkinghorne, examines whether a personal, interacting God is a credible concept in today's secular, scientific age. Father Polkinghorne also considers some of the perplexities and complications regarding such issues as Miracles, Evil, and Prayer. Science And Providence is most especially recommended reading for academicians, scientists, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in science and religion.
Scientist view of Religion  Apr 16, 2001
Polkinghorn in this short essay studies the Religion as a scientist. He discusses the embodiment of God, Miracle, Good and Evil. It is short but extensive study.It discusses the idea of determinism and somewhat quantum physics.

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