Theology and Modern Physics
The new discoveries in physics during the twentieth century have stimulated intense debate about their relevance to age-old theological questions. Views range from those holding that modern physics provides a surer road to God than traditional religions, to those who say that physics and theology are incommensurable and so do not relate. At the very least, physics has stimulated renewed theological discussions. In this critical introduction to the science-theology debate, Peter E. Hodgson draws on his experience as a physicist to present the results of modern physics and the theological implications. Written for those with little or no scientific background, Hodgson describes connections between physics, philosophy and theology and then explains Newtonian physics and Victorian physics, the theories of relativity, astronomy and quantum mechanics, and distinguishes the actual results of modern physics from speculations. The connections with theology are explored throughout. The concluding section draws discussions together and makes an important new contribution to the debate.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Theology, philosophy and physics; The Judeo-Christian contribution to the development of modern science; The Muslim centuries; The Renaissance; Classical physics; Space, time and relativity; Quantum theory; Quantum mechanics; Deterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics; Cosmology; Chaos and symmetry; Science and non-Christian religions; Epilogue; Bibliography; Indexes.
Peter E. Hodgson is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, UK. He has lectured on physics and mathematics at Oxford for over thirty years and his main research interest is the theory of nuclear structure and reactions.
'... extremely insightful, balanced and humble...' Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith' 'A distinguished physicist who is well acquainted with theology, Peter Hodgson brings together in this book the result of a lifelong interest in the relations between science and religion. Writing for a non specialized audience, he offers a clear and comprehensive survey of the development of physics from the time of the Greeks to our own day, and he explores the contribution of different religious traditions to the development of our modern worldview.... This is a well-documented and well-balanced book. It makes excellent reading and should be recommended to anyone who wants to know more about science and religion.' Bulletin of the Science Secretariat of Pax Romana, no. 66 'This is an interesting and contentious book. Peter E. Hodgson is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, who has lectured on physics and mathematics for more than 30 years. Therefore he is well placed to give a critical and knowledgeable description of modern discoveries in physics and their theological implications.' Church Times 'The reader will learn a great deal from this book. Hodgson has provided a nuanced study of the relation between theology and science that goes beyond the often simplistic and polarised attitudes that bedevil the religion-science debate.' Theological Book Review 'What makes this book a valuable contribution is that Hodgson is clearly qualified to write on the physics (he is a physicist at Oxford University) and this is matched by a competent grasp of the historical literature on the interaction of science and theology.' Themelios ’I would recommend this book as an important contribution to the vibrant ongoing dialogue between science and faith...’ The Gospel and Our Culture ’I would recommend this as an interesting [...] addition to the vibrant science-faith dialogue going on at the present time.’ Journal of Theological Studies ’This is an interestin