The latest communiqué from John Polkinghorne as he continues his survey of the frontier between science and religion
According to the physicist-priest Polkinghorne, "If the physicists seem to achieve their ends more successfully than the theologians, that is simply a reflection of how much easier science is than theology." Without abandoning his general standpoint as both a scientist and a theologian, Polkinghorne's essays pursue a wider set of interests, acknowledging terrain where theology becomes difficult and uncertain work. Reflections on issues of space-time, quantum mechanics and chaos theory-familiar from Polkinghorne's previous books-are joined by essays on human nature, the problem of evil, the historical Jesus and the relationship between Christianity and other faiths. Polkinghorne's basic approach remains consistent: he is a friend of science, but a foe of scientific reductionism, arguing that "nothing [science] can tell us requires us to deny our directly experienced human capacity" to act responsibly and seek meaning in the universe. Surveying human aptitudes for self-consciousness, language, rationality, creativity, moral awareness and the "slantedness" of human life that theologians call sin, Polkinghorne concludes, "how strange it is that many biologists... claim not to be able so see anything really distinctive about Homo sapiens." Balancing intellectual modesty with openness about his own Christian faith, Polkinghorne's reflections will engage both thoughtful believers and inquirers into issues of faith and reason. (Nov. 29) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.