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Chaos, Complexity, and God: Divine Action and Scientism

Authors:  Smedes T.A.
Year: 2004
ISBN: 978-90-429-1521-3
Pages: XII-288 p.
Price: 30 EURO

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In Christian theology, the belief that God is actively involved in earthly affairs is fundamental. Yet it is challenged by the contemporary scientific worldview. The author of this study argues that the current problems with divine action are a consequence of a culturally embedded and tacit scientism according to which science is authoritative in many areas of everyday life, including theology. This study focuses on theological models that use chaos theory (John Polkinghorne) and theories of self-organizing systems (Arthur Peacocke) to speak about divine action. These models are analyzed and critically assessed. The author concludes that they are problematic, since they do not take sufficiently into account that there is a difference between scientific and religious language. Speaking about divine action in scientific terms rests on a category mistake resulting from scientistic presuppositions. The author also points to alternative possibilities of talking about divine action that take serious the logic of religious language.

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