Alister McGrath on Natural Science and Natural Theology

November 10, 2016
Posted by Administrator

In October 2016, SPCK released Enriching our Vision of Reality: Theology and the Natural Sciences in Dialogue, by theologian Alister McGrath. From the publisher’s description:

In this exceptional volume, Alister McGrath writes for scientists with an interest in theology, and Christians and theologians who are aware of the importance of the natural sciences. A scene-setting chapter explores the importance of the human quest for intelligibility. The focus then moves to three leading figures who have stimulated discussion about the relationship between science and theology in recent years: Charles Coulson, an Oxford professor of theoretical chemistry who was also a prominent Methodist lay preacher; Thomas F. Torrance, perhaps the finest British theologian of the twentieth century; and John Polkinghorne, a theoretical physicist, theologian and Anglican priest. The latter part of the book features six parallel ‘conversations’ between science and theology, which lay the groundwork for the kind of enriched vision of reality the author hopes to encourage. Here, we are inspired to enjoy individual aspects of nature while seeking to interpret them in the light of deeper revelations about our gloriously strange universe.

Back in August, Wiley-Blackwell released McGrath’s Re-Imagining Nature: The Promise of a Christian Natural Theology. From the publisher’s description:

Reimagining Nature is a new introduction to the fast developing area of natural theology, written by one of the world’s leading theologians. The text engages in serious theological dialogue whilst looking at how past developments might illuminate and inform theory and practice in the present.

  • This text sets out to explore what a properly Christian approach to natural theology might look like and how this relates to alternative interpretations of our experience of the natural world
  • Alister McGrath is ideally placed to write the book  as one of the world’s best known theologians and a chief proponent of natural theology
  • This new work offers an account of the development of natural theology throughout history and informs of its likely contribution in the present
  • This feeds in current debates about the relationship between science and religion, and religion and the humanities
  • Engages in serious theological dialogue, primarily with Augustine, Aquinas, Barth and Brunner, and includes the work of natural scientists, philosophers of science, and poets

Readers may also be interested in the EPS’s work on “Ramified Natural Theology” and its contributions to philosophical theology, philosophy of religion, and Christian apologetics.