cover image SCIENCE AND THE TRINITY: The Christian Encounter with Reality

SCIENCE AND THE TRINITY: The Christian Encounter with Reality

John Polkinghorne, J. C. Polkinghorne, . . Yale, $24 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-300-10445-5

As a Cambridge physicist and Anglican priest, Polkinghorne is well qualified to address science-and-theology issues, but the depth and originality of his work amounts to much more than the sum of his credentials. Polkinghorne's theme here is "particularity," a summons to "bottom-up thinking" that engages theology, science and human experience in all their living detail—or what Polkinghorne calls their "thickness." Polkinghorne's love of thickness is reflected in his efforts to describe a Trinitarian—and not merely theistic—account of God's relationship to the universe, as well as his attempt to temper theological preferences for the eternal and spiritual with a greater appreciation for time and materiality. "The gift given by Love," Polkinghorne insists, "is that creatures should be allowed to be themselves" as reflected by the fact that "Christian salvific symbols are never merely free-floating, but always anchored in actual occurrence." Polkinghorne writes masterfully. He can be accurate without becoming technical, simple without becoming simplistic, orthodox without posturing as a defender of the faith. He challenges future theologians and church leaders to be "realistically modest" about what thinking can achieve, "while, on the other hand, we must not succumb to intellectual laziness." This volume provides a valuable introduction to Polkinghorne's interests and the theology-science dialogue in general, with references to other works where readers can research topics in more detail. (Sept.)