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The Measure of God, now in paperback, is a lively historical narrative offering the reader a sense for what has taken place in the God and science debate over the past century.

Modern science came of age at the cusp of the twentieth century. It was a period marked by discovery of radio waves and x rays, use of the first skyscraper, automobile, cinema, and vaccine, and rise of the quantum theory of the atom. This was the close of the Victorian age, and the beginning of the first great wave of scientific challenges to the religious beliefs of the Christian world.

Religious thinkers were having to brace themselves. Some raced to show that science did not undermine religious belief. Others tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the tools of science, facts and reason, could support knowledge of God. In the English speaking world, many had espoused such a project, but one figure stands out. Before his death in 1887, the Scottish judge Adam Gifford endowed the Gifford Lectures to keep this debate going, a science haunted debate on "all questions about man's conception of God or the Infinite." The list of Gifford lecturers is a veritable Who's Who of modern scientists, philosophers and theologians: from William James to Karl Barth, Albert Schweitzer to Reinhold Niebuhr, Niels Bohr to Iris Murdoch, from John Dewey to Mary Douglas.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061747519
List price: $11.99
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In 1887 Adam Lord Gifford, native of Scotland, died. His will would make him famous. He willed almost half of his person fortune—80,000 pounds—to set up a perpetual lecture series at Scotland's four historic universities: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews. The purpose of the lecture series is to explore natural theology: the idea that God can be known outside of special revelation.I was introduced to the Gifford Lectures when I read Stanley Hauerwas' With the Grain of the Universe. In his lectures, he follows Karl Barth's lead in undermining the very presuppositions of the lecture series. For Barth and Hauerwas, there is no revelation not centred on Jesus Christ. Whether you believe that or not, that has not stopped people from trying. In The Measure of God, Larry Witham highlights all the brightest lights of the lecture series from William James to Alfred North Whitehead, Reinhold Niebuhr to Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich to Carl Sagan.Witham breaks the lecture series down in to "four acts"—four approaches to determining a natural theology:1. Psychology2. Material Science (anthropology, psychology, physics, sociology, and historical criticism)3. Subjectivism4. PluralismWitham's book is very readable. I bought the book because I was interested in the topic and I knew that the knowledge would be good for me. I was surprised by the ease at which it went down. I was fascinated by the way in which discoveries in physics and quantum mechanics influenced natural theology. (Did you know that Niels Bohr, a colleague of Einstein, gave the Gifford Lectures?) I enjoyed reading about the relationships between different theologians and scholars who were previously all intellectual islands in my mind.The Measure of God covers a lot of theological, scientific, philosophical, and historical ground in about 300 readable pages!more

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In 1887 Adam Lord Gifford, native of Scotland, died. His will would make him famous. He willed almost half of his person fortune—80,000 pounds—to set up a perpetual lecture series at Scotland's four historic universities: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews. The purpose of the lecture series is to explore natural theology: the idea that God can be known outside of special revelation.I was introduced to the Gifford Lectures when I read Stanley Hauerwas' With the Grain of the Universe. In his lectures, he follows Karl Barth's lead in undermining the very presuppositions of the lecture series. For Barth and Hauerwas, there is no revelation not centred on Jesus Christ. Whether you believe that or not, that has not stopped people from trying. In The Measure of God, Larry Witham highlights all the brightest lights of the lecture series from William James to Alfred North Whitehead, Reinhold Niebuhr to Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich to Carl Sagan.Witham breaks the lecture series down in to "four acts"—four approaches to determining a natural theology:1. Psychology2. Material Science (anthropology, psychology, physics, sociology, and historical criticism)3. Subjectivism4. PluralismWitham's book is very readable. I bought the book because I was interested in the topic and I knew that the knowledge would be good for me. I was surprised by the ease at which it went down. I was fascinated by the way in which discoveries in physics and quantum mechanics influenced natural theology. (Did you know that Niels Bohr, a colleague of Einstein, gave the Gifford Lectures?) I enjoyed reading about the relationships between different theologians and scholars who were previously all intellectual islands in my mind.The Measure of God covers a lot of theological, scientific, philosophical, and historical ground in about 300 readable pages!more
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