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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Thursday 22 December 2022

Paul Tyson's A Christian Theology of Science


A Christian Theology of Science: Reimagining a theological vision of natural knowledge
Paul Tyson
Baker Academic £17.99

Tyson, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland, explores the role of science as the "first truth discourse" in "secular academic modernity." He suggests that science has replaced theology as a first truth discourse. However, this is not always the case - there is a distrust of theology but also a distrust of science - even though during the Covid pandemic we were told: “we are following the science”. Yet there is a distrust not only of scientists but also experts.
Tyson in this book attempts to understand science theologically. He “seeks to presuppose Christian theology as a first truth discourse when thinking about science; it seeks to recover and reimagine the theology of science.” 

We might well as the question: Why a theology of science? Why not a philosophy of science? Isn’t theology just as much an academic discipline as science? 

The book is written in an academic style as so won’t be accessible to the “layperson in the pew”. It presupposes some knowledge at least of philosophy.

There is much in this book that is good - for example, he shows how “modern science is the love child of Christian theology and a devotion to the Creator by means of understanding the wonders of creation.” He shows the false presuppositions that underlie much of the science and religion debate which sees them in conflict. He exposes the reliance of modern science on “three foundational philosophical and methodologically applied commitments: empiricism, rationalism, and physical reductionism”. And the absence of focus on specific scientific results or ideas is the book's most notable flaw. Instead, the book deals with how science affects our thinking. His development of a Christian theological epistemology is to be applauded.

There is a helpful glossary of key terms and a 9-page bibliography.

My thanks to Baker Academic for supplying an ARC.

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