Figures & Themes
Themes for Week 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Themes for Week 2: Science and Theology
in the Enlightenment
1. The growth of the scientific method, particularly after Bacon, the
contrast with the previously regnant Aristotelian science, and the exemplary successes
and/or controversies associated with the names of Galileo, Kepler, and Newton.
2. The effect of Newtonian mechanics and causal determinism on conceptions of divine
action; the meaning of deism vs. theism.
3. The origins and development of the so-called "Enlightenment Religion of
Reason" and Christian theological reactions against it.
4. The origins and development of modern atheism in this context.
5. The powerful religious convictions of Enlightenment scientists (especially Newton).
6. The collapse of the religion of reason under the force of both romanticism and
philosophical critique (especially Hume).
7. The accelerating advance of the natural sciences into every aspect of nature.
Themes for Week 3: Science and Theology
in the Nineteenth Century
Themes for Week 4: Science and Theology
in the Contemporary Period
Themes for Week 5: Ways of Relating
Science and Theology
Themes for Week 6: A Debate on
Comparative Method of Science and Theology
Themes for Week 7: Similarities and Differences between Science and
Themes for Week 8: Cosmology and
Big Bang cosmology:
1. Basic account of Big Bang cosmology, including key events in the first three minutes.
2. Steady state theory-both the 18th century (Newton) and 20th century (Hoyle et al.)
versions of it-and the decisive significance of the cosmic background radiation.
3. The dependence of the future fate of the cosmos upon the mass of the universe.
4. Reception of the Big Bang as religiously significant by both scientists and
5. The various ways of understanding the theological significance of Big Bang cosmology.
6. The variety of quantum theories of the origin of the universe.
7. The theological significance of Big Bang cosmology in the context of quantum gravity
(attending especially to Hawking).
8. The Cosmological Anthropic Principle, and its philosophical and theological import.
9. The magnitude (size, age, complexity) of the universe, and theological implications.
10. The possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, and theological implications.
11. The nature of time in physics and human experience, and theological implications.
12. The laws of nature, contingency and determinateness, and theological implications.
Themes for Week 9: Chaos Theory and
Themes for Week 10: Quantum
Complementarity and Christology
Themes for Week 11: Information Theory
and Special Revelation
Themes for Week 12: Molecular Biology
and Human Freedom
Themes for Week 13: Social Genetics and
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