One World introduces issues in science and religion that John Polkinghorne subsequently continues in Science and Providence and Science and Creation.
Both science and religion explore aspects of reality, providing “a basis for their mutual interaction as they present their different perspectives onto the one world of existent reality,” Polkinghorne argues. In One World he develops his thesis through an examination of the nature of science, the nature of the physical world, the character of theology, and the modes of thought in science and theology. He identifies “points of interaction” and points of potential conflict between science and religion. Along the way, he discusses creation, determinism, prayer, miracles, and future life, and he explains his rejection of scientific reductionism and his defense of natural theology.
Science does not have an absolute superiority over other forms of knowledge, nor does religion have all the answers. Both are searching for “the truth.” Both explore the universe as it is and submit to the evidence before them. And both must be open to continual correction. We live in one world. Polkinghorne’s insights continue to illuminate it as a world in which science and religion can stimulate and benefit each other.
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Why do I regard this book as so important? Primarily because it makes sense of the scientific enterprise and the pursuit of theology, and in doing so it makes sense of the universe. . . . For arguing this so persuasively and with clarity and caution we owe him grateful thanks.
—The Expository Times
John Polkinghorne is past president and now fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge. Former professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University, he is a priest and canon theologian of Liverpool Cathedral. He won the Templeton Prize for Science and Religion in 2002. His books have been translated into 18 languages so far.