The Sense of the Universe deals with existential and phenomenological reflection upon modern cosmology, revealing hidden theological commitments in cosmology related to the mystery of human existence. Alexei Nesteruk sets forth a new approach to the dialogue between science and theology, based on philosophical analysis of the subjectivity involved in the study of the world and in religious experience. Nesteruk uses recent advances in phenomenological philosophy and philosophical theology in order to accentuate the existential meaning of cosmology as the discourse that ultimately explicates the human condition.
The objective of the book is not to compare the cosmological scientific narrative and biblical narrative, but to reveal the presence of a hidden theological dimension in cosmology, originating in the God-given ability of humanity to discern and disclose the sense of creation. The book contributes to the synthesis of appropriation and incorporation of modern philosophical ideas in Christian theology, in particular its Eastern Orthodox form.
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Looking for more from Alexei Nesteruk? See The Universe as Communion: Towards a Neo-Patristic Synthesis of Theology and Science.
Nesteruk demonstrates astonishing learning in science, philosophy, and theology in this new approach to an old subject. . . . Using the tools of phenomenology and existentialism, he uncovers what is too often hidden: the open, questing being that is human, created in God’s image. I recommend this outstanding study to anyone who seeks to think deeply in new ways about faith and the meaning of our scientific quest.
—Alan G. Padgett, professor of systematic theology, Luther Seminary
The publication of Alexei Nesteruk’s The Sense of the Universe is an exciting event. It has all the brilliance of his first two books on cosmology and theology, but it is much more accessible to the general reader. He also adds to his solid grasp of ‘classic’ phenomenological philosophy, with further research into the work of more recent French thinkers such as Marion, Chrétien, and M. Henry. Those unfamiliar with Eastern Orthodox philosophy and theology will find here a stimulating and perhaps dazzling introduction to a mode of thinking that has always taken its bearings from lived experience, giving it not only an affinity with contemporary phenomenology but also (under the tutelage of a master physicist and mathematician such as Nesteruk) an impressive ability to illumine sacred elements within the very heart of scientific experience itself.
—Bruce Foltz, professor of philosophy, Eckerd College
Nesteruk’s central tenet is that a phenomenological analysis of the foundations of physics reveals that in doing physics we also reveal the nature of our humanity. . . . Nesteruk interprets ideas concerning the universe as a whole, and its origin, existentially as reflecting the basic anxieties of human existence in the vast cosmos. In this view, the study of cosmological is interpreted as an inevitable part of the teleology pertaining to all human acts. The universe as a whole, which is the inexhaustible context of the living experience, is then seen as ‘the infinite created unknowable’ which, from an epistemological point of view, is similar to that of the Divine. Nesteruk unfolds, through the analysis of ideas of the universe, a hidden theological commitment in cosmology related to the metaphysical and theological mystery of the human existence.
—Chris Dewdney, University of Portsmouth
Alexei V. Nesteruk is senior research lecturer in mathematics at the University of Portsmouth and a visiting professor in theology and science at St. Andrew’s Biblical and Theological Institute in Moscow. He is a deacon of the Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He has also written Light from the East: Theology, Science, and the Eastern Orthodox Tradition and The Universe as Communion: Towards a Neo-Patristic Synthesis of Theology and Science.