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Polkinghorne Quotes

Polkinghorne Quotes

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Published by steve martin
Some brief thoughts on the writings of John Polkinghorne.
Some brief thoughts on the writings of John Polkinghorne.

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Published by: steve martin on Mar 20, 2009
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Polkinghorne Quotes
Some brief thoughts on the writings of John PolkinghorneA Series of posts fromAn Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution Author:Steve Martin
Document Version: 1.5Last Updated: February 6, 2010
This document is a compilation of weblog posts; the individual articles remain the property of the author. You arefree to share, copy, or distribute this document in full within the limitations of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License. To view copies of these licenses, visithttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/.
 
Polkinghorne Quotes2
Table of Contents
I. Polkinghorne Quotes: Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 3
 
II. God the Fellow-Sufferer ...................................................................................................................................... 3
 
III. The Dangers of a Designer God ......................................................................................................................... 3
 
IV. Why is the Tea Kettle Boiling? .......................................................................................................................... 4
 
V. The Christian God: Not Limited to nor Restricted by Edges ............................................................................... 4
 
VI. Does the Math for Evolutionary Time even Work? ........................................................................................... 5
 
VII. The Mutually Enriching Relationship between Faith and Science.................................................................... 6
 
VIII. Rejecting Process Theology ............................................................................................................................. 6
 
IX. Persistence and Humility: Necessary Qualities for both Science and Theology ................................................ 7
 
X. Timid Theologians ............................................................................................................................................... 8
 
XI. The Creator as Author, Producer, Director, and Actor in the Cosmic Drama .................................................... 8
 
XII. Orthodoxy: Neither Inflexible nor Disconnected from the Past ........................................................................ 9
 
XIII. A Dangerous and Satisfying Truth ................................................................................................................ 10
 
XIV. Divine Action, Evil, and Slandering God ...................................................................................................... 10
 
 
Polkinghorne Quotes3
I.
 
Polkinghorne Quotes:Introduction
Published November 13, 2007 
John Polkinghorneis one of my favourite authors. Hiswriting is intellectually challenging, spirituallystimulating, constantly engrossing, and surprisinglyhumble for someone so obviously brilliant. He iscompletely unafraid of tackling the most difficultissues or stating his conclusions even if they risk alienting his target constituency. I find that most of hisworks must be reread two or three times to be fullyappreciated, but I consider this a bonus as I learnsomething new each time; it is like getting 2 or 3 booksfor the price of one.Along with Arthur Peacocke and Ian Barbour,Polkinghorne is acknowledged as one of the giants inthe science-faith dialogue. He also approaches thisdialogue from an evangelical perspective. Given therelative dearth of insightful evangelical thought on theinterface between science and faith, we should bethankful that one of the few evangelical voices is soincredibly good. Polkinghorne has earned accolades inboth of his careers, his first as a physicist and hissecond as an Anglican priest and theologian.Given his impact on my own thought, I will from time-to-time be posting selected quotes from Polkinghorneon the science / faith dialogue. For some I will add ashort comment of my own. For others I’ll simply letthe quote speak for itself.
II.
 
God the Fellow-Sufferer
Published November 14, 2007 “God is not a spectator, but a fellow-sufferer,who has himself absorbed the full force of evil. Inthe lonely figure hanging in the darkness and dereliction of Calvary the Christian believes that he sees God opening his arms to embrace thebitterness of the strange world he has made. TheGod revealed in the vulnerability of theincarnation and in the vulnerability of creationare one. He is the crucified God, whose paradoxical power is perfected in weakness,whose self-chosen symbol is the King reigning from the gallows”FromScience and Providence
 
 , page 68
Theodicy and the "Problem of Evil" are, I believe, themost difficult intellectual problems we face asfollowers of Christ. And it is more than just anintellectual problem since it has led many to abandonthe faith, and their trust in God. I certainly do not havegreat answers. However, when we finally do get asatisfactory answer, I believe that answer will includePolkinghorne’s point that God is a fellow-sufferer.Faith is not so much about belief but trust, trust in theliving God who is the foundation of our being.Questions and doubt are an integral part of faith, not itsopposite. As human parents, we encourage ourchildren to ask questions. A child that asks noquestions is disintrested or worse.So when faced with the problem of evil, in which typeof God do you wish to place your trust: A “DesignerGod” who designed all things in their intricate detail,including things that bring pain, suffering, death, anddestruction? A “Philosopher God” who answers allyour questions including why there is so much pain,suffering, death, and destruction? Or a suffering God, acrucified, resurrected God who has experienced pain,suffering, and death, and in so doing has destroyed thevery power of death? For me, the answer to thatquestion is easy.
III.
 
The Dangers of a DesignerGod
Published November 20, 2007Speaking of those who claim to have scientificallydetected intelligence behind the evolution of theuniverse, Polkinghorne states:
“Yet it is possible that they are being offered agift by the Greeks, as much to be feared as to bewelcomed. For the God so discerned seems but an austere and impersonal deity; the ground of acosmic process which rolls on without obviousconcern for the fate of individuals. He commandsour intellectual respect but not our love; we canwonder at his works but we are not moved to trust him in our personal lives.""The offering of a revived natural theology would have proved to be a Trojan horse for Christianityif it replaced the God and Father of our Lord  Jesus Christ by the Great Mathematician”From “Science and Providence”, page 4
As I mentioned inmy last post, I believe that the IDmovement is potentially dangerous to Christiantheology because of its focus on natural theology.

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