At BioLogos, historian Ted Davis offers:
Perhaps the greatest irony about the contemporary religion-science dialogue is the fact that, despite their own strongly articulated denials, many thinkers implicitly accept the “warfare” thesis of A. D. White—that is, they agree with White that traditional theology has proved unable to engage science in fruitful conversation. More than most others, John Polkinghorne understands just how badly White misread the history of Christianity and science, and how much theology has been impoverished by its failure to challenge this core assumption of modernity.
Nothing was more important to many modernists than the God they found within the evolutionary process itself, rather than in putative explanatory gaps in that process. What might be missed, however, is the degree to which some pitted divine immanence against divine transcendence—not as two crucial poles in an ongoing dialectic, but as a stark choice to be made with finality, in which the transcendent God was effectively discarded entirely.
A pertinent example comes from Samuel Christian Schmucker, frequently a featured speaker at Mathews’ beloved Chautauqua Institution and one of the most successful popularizers of evolution and eugenics in the early twentieth century. Schmucker all but equated his immanent God with the evolutionary process itself. “The laws of nature,” he stated, “are not the decisions of any man or group of men; not even–I say it reverently–of God. The laws of nature are eternal even as God is eternal.” They are “not the fiat of almighty God, they are the manifestation in nature of the presence of the indwelling God” (quoting his 1926 pamphlet, Through Science to God). His diffusively conceived God was co-eternal with the world and virtually indistinguishable from the laws of nature. The evolutionary progress those laws had produced was the ultimate source of his hope. I cannot escape the impression that White would have loved this, had he lived to see it. More.
Doubtless. And meanwhile, back at the shop, science has developed an infatuation with non-falsifiable ideas, comfort with post-fact thinking, and the growing conviction that we did not evolve so as to be able to understand reality.
If things continue in this direction, almost any version of Christianity will be a road to reality, to whatever extent it is a place where facts matter again.
See also: Islamic view of multiverse: “Against the philosophy of science as we understand it”? Actually, any group that stays clear of the multiverse morass stands to inherit science for future generations.
Cosmologist: In an infinite multiverse, physics loses its ability to make predictions. And that’s okay.
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