Distinguished physicist-turned-theologian John Polkinghorne offers his personal apologia for the Christian faith. This brief and highly accessible book for general readers presents a reasoned account of the Christian view of the world as seen by one of the world’s leading interpreters of the interface between science and religion. Drawn from his experiences as a scientist and a theologian, Polkinghorne argues that Christianity presents a credible and compelling worldview that can be taken seriously even while fully recognizing the importance of science.
Polkinghorne begins by exploring three views of the world. He summarizes the scientific view, which highlights the perception by scientists of the world as intelligible and characterized by the interplay of chance and necessity and reflecting a delicate and intricate balance in its structure that makes life possible. Then he comments on the personal view of the world, in which experiences of wonder, beauty, and moral obligation demand some explanation. Polkinghorne takes seriously the religious view of the world, particularly the human experience of an Other and transcendent Power with whom we have to deal. He carefully demonstrates how New Testament scholarship is similar to observational science in that it, like science, can be understood only by interpreting available evidence in ways that are sensible and consistent. In addition, he moves beyond a merely theistic worldview to examine the portrayal of Jesus’ deeds and words in the New Testament, paying special attention to his death and resurrection.
This work, which convincingly explores how science and religion both address aspects of the same reality, includes a glossary of key ideas and persons in the worlds of science and theology, making it an ideal introduction to the Christian faith for thoughtful persons.