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Theology for a Scientific Age: Being and Becoming-Natural, Divine and Human (Theology and the Sciences) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   452
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.04" Height: 1.33"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1993
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800627598  
EAN  9780800627591  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
Templeton Book Prize winner: "A positive answer to Stephen Hawking's question, 'Does the universe need a creator?' Or, if we may so put it, 'Is there anything else apart from everything?'"---Book Reviews. Expanded to include the 1993 Gifford Lectures.

Publishers Description
This second, expanded edition of Arthur Peacocke's seminal work now includes the author's Gifford Lectures, as well as a new part three, in which he deals roundly with the central corpus of Christian belief for a scientific age. Distinctively theological commitments are being rethought in light of scientific apprehensions of nature.--Ted Peters, Zygon.

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More About Arthur Peacocke

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Dr. Arthur Peacocke, physical biochemist, Anglican priest, and the 2001 Templeton Prize Laureate died on Saturday, October 21, 2006, at age 81.

Peacocke began his adult life, in his words, as a "mild" agnostic, but slowly became an adherent of Christianity. Seeking an alternative to automatic acceptance of scriptural authority of the church, however, he began a thorough study of theology, with the encouragement of a professor, Geoffrey Lampe. In 1960, he received a Diploma in Theology and in 1971, a Bachelor of Divinity from Birmingham University.

It was at this time that his scientific and theological pursuits tangibly merged with the publication of Science and the Christian Experiment, which he wrote while still a full-time scientist. In 1973, the book won the prestigious Lecomte du Nouy Prize, the first global recognition of Peacocke as a leader in the new discipline of science and religion. That same year, he became Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, allowing him to pursue more fully his interdisciplinary vocation. In 1982 he received a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford and in 1985 became the founder and director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religious Beliefs in Relation to the Sciences, including Medicine, at Oxford.

Among his major publications in this area are Creation and the World of Science (1979), which established further his international reputation, Intimations of Reality: Critical Realism in Science and Religion (1984), Theology for a Scientific Age (1990, 2nd edition 1993, including his 1993 Gifford Lectures), God and the New Biology (1994), From DNA to DEAN: Reflections and Explorations of a Priest-Scientist (1996), God and Science: A Quest for Christianity Credibility (1996), and Paths from Science Towards God: The End of All Our Exploring (2001).

Peacocke had an international reputation for his succinct, no-nonsense method of challenging dominant religious orthodoxies in writing and speech. In an interview with England s Church Times, for example, he spoke of a large proportion of his countrymen who have good reason to be skeptical of traditional religious teachings and are wistful agnostics. "They are moral, idealistic people who just cannot believe some of the baggage we hear in church," he said. The images have gone dead on them or are affirming things they don t think are believable.

Because of Dr. Peacocke s extraordinary impact, he was selected as the winner of the 2001 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. At the Templeton Prize public ceremony at Guildhall, London, on May 9, 2001, Peacocke advised the scientific community to give religion its due. "The public image of the relation between science and religion has tended to be dominated by scientists who are not only gifted communicators of their respective sciences but who also, deeming science alone to be the source of knowledge and wisdom, seek to reduce human experience to purely scientific terms. This renders them antipathetic to the spiritual and religious experience of humanity and the name of the sport becomes science versus religion."


Arthur Peacocke currently resides in Oxford. Arthur Peacocke has an academic affiliation as follows - Oxford University.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Simply brilliant.  Dec 29, 2007
No amount of superlatives can do this book justice. The marvelous thing about it is that it addresses a huge range of topics - no stone is left unturned as Peacocke sticks very close to his purpose and analyzes what today's science means for theology. Topics discussed include sociobiology and morality, multiverses and imaginary time, philosophy of mind and science, theories of divine action, attributes of God, virgin birth, resurrection, Christology (incl. divinity of Christ), theories of atonement (he is sympathetic to Abelard's moral influence theory).

Let me reiterate that the strength of the book is that it leaves no stone unturned and provides a complete, coherent Christian worldview. I have read many books that only deal with, say, evolution or morality or philosophy of mind, but never all at the same time. As a result, my worldview was rather shaky, with some strong coherent parts but other views from traditional theology that are untenable in a scientific age. Peacocke addressed it all, from a basic argument for God to a precise analysis of the human problem (sin) and how Christ atones. It likely averted a crisis of faith.

One note: this same virtue means that many of your traditional beliefs will be challenged. I was very shocked and angry at times as *inter alia* (a favorite phrase of Peacocke, BTW; means "among other things") many miracles, the virgin birth, a literal adam and eve and thus a "paradisical" perfect state, an intrinsically immortal soul, and God's direct communication (not mediated by natural means) were all confronted head on, scientifically dismantled, and shown to be incoherent. However, Peacocke does not stop there but instead shows how science provides a new take on these and often enriches our views of such issues in a way that traditional theology is deficient.

I could go on and on about this book, but let me end with one thought: this is the book Christianity needs to stay intellectually relevant. There is so much antagonism directed toward Christianity because of some of its adherents' refusal to come to terms with science. Peacocke shows this need not be so; he accepts science fully and composes an intellectually rigorous and coherent worldview in this book. I have full confidence that this book would end the ridiculous "creation vs. evolution debate" and "science disproves god and religion (just a medieval fairy tale anyway)" movement going on right now if people would just read it.

So, in closing:
For believers: "There's no need to go out and buy another sensational "you can beweeve da Biible and evowution too!!!" book. Peacocke integrates science and theology in a logically coherent whole.

For the unbeliever: Take a look at this book. It's a thought-provoking read that shows that Christianity doesn't require checking your brains at the door and can be an intellectually honest, scientifically rigorous view of the world.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
A theology that embraces science  Nov 13, 2007
I found this book to be very engaging and full of ideas that either confirmed many things I had been thinking for years or stretched me further along. I highly recommend it to those interested in an intellectually compelling development of a scientifically-informed theology. My only criticism of the book is that I found it a bit laborious to read, as Peacocke's writing style is, to me, overly wordy, and the language is somewhat stilted. Nevertheless, it is definitely a volume worth reading and thinking about.

Peacocke's basic premise is that theology, for it to remain alive and relevant, cannot ignore the knowledge generated by science and must find ways to embrace it and incorporate it into its concepts of God and its understanding of the meaning of the life of Jesus Christ. Peacocke's approach requires that the integrity of scientific knowledge be preserved in theology. He sees the orderliness of how the physical universe operates as a characteristic of God that is to be revered. This also, however, makes it necessary to be careful in understanding miracles and not to accept the breaking of normal physical laws naïvely or literally. He calls his approach "critical realism".

Peacocke accepts evolution as God's way of creating life and very meaningfully depicts the ongoing nature of this process as God's continuing interaction with creation. He calls this divine "becoming", as contrasted with God's nature or "being". He conceives God's interaction with the world as a top-down causation, but this does not interfere with the orderly functioning of physical processes or with human free will.

In light of this, the biblical story of the Garden of Eden and The Fall can no longer be regarded as literally true (which is not to denigrate its metaphorical meaningfulness). That is, most pertinently, there never was an original state of moral perfection from which humanity fell, that introduced sin into human character, and that initiated biological death. Peacocke rather conceptualizes what is typically called sin as a sense of alienation or being a misfit, and biological death is an integral part of the creative evolutionary process.

Without The Fall, atonement theories regarding the significance of the life of Jesus Christ that are based on the idea of redemptive sacrifice no longer can be supported. Instead, he embraces the theory of Abelard and expands on it -- that the life of Jesus was an act of love, Jesus is an embodiment of God, and Jesus is our model for lifestyle.

There are many more intriguing ideas throughout the book. As a scientist myself, I found Peacocke's approach to be both scientifically and intellectually honest as well as morally inspiring. His high regard for Jesus Christ as a model for our lives is a lesson for us all, whether one is a Christian or not.
Beyond the Genesis vs. Geology dispute  Mar 15, 2006
Genesis vs. Geology? Creationism vs. Darwinism? Religious ["spiritual'] people who accept Evolution do not have a dog in this fight. The ultimate encompassing Mystery beyond the reach of strict scientific tools seems to be using the chance and selection of evolution to progress to more desirable forms of being. [Rather be pig, paramecium, or person?] If you are interested is seeing how someone who rejects both dogmatic fundamentalisms--Biblical Literalism and Materialist metaphysics masquerading as pure science--can relate science and religion in what Ian Barbour calls creative dialogue and integration, this is a book for you.

Peacocke--trained scientist and theologian--shows the limitations of reductive scientism [scientific imperialism] and its inability to answer questions which arise at the limiting edges of legitimate scientific inquiry [e.g.: What was going on before the "Big Bang"? How do minds influence brains and bodies?] He suggests the clue to the nature of God's causal relation to the World is the mind-body relation in human persons. In both we have "top-down [rather than "bottom-up"] causation at work. More complex wholes exercise constraints upon simpler parts. He illuminates, but does not quite explain, what he calls the 'causal joint' between minds and bodies, and between God and the World. He finds panentheism helpful, but not altogether convincing. The fulfillment of human life is to participate with God in our sacramental universe [pp.342-45].
Highly Recommended  Aug 1, 2000
_Theology for a Scientific Age_ is easily one of the most rigorous, thorough, and wide-ranging attempts to engage historic Christian theology in light of recent advances in the sciences. As the subtitle suggests, the major thread which runs throughout the entire work is the transition from a static to a dynamic ontology -- substance vs. process, Being vs. Becoming. This fundamental philosophical shift has impacted every corner of theological thinking, and Peacocke takes great pains to elucidate the changes with rigor and detail.

Of particular note are the discussions regarding cognitive science and information theory. He suggests a model of top-down information input to describe God's activity in the physical universe -- not capriciously intervening and breaking the laws of nature, but respecting those laws and working within them to accomplish his purposes. The relationship between mind and brain is thoroughly explored, and applied by analogy to this model of divine action in the world. Even the thorny issue of the divinity of Christ is illuminated in a way that is deeply respectful of historic Christianity, while moving beyond the superstitions of popular piety. The discussion of St. John's logos as Meaning and Person is truly profound, deeply challenging to biblical literalists and scientific materialists alike.

Highly recommended.


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