These are some of the themes the class will explore:
- Just what is science and what does it achieve? What are its limitations?
- Scientists agree that the sciences do not tell us what is right and wrong or how to behave. Science does not give us ethics.
- Science has discovered a world that is remarkably ordered and comprehensible to the human mind. Albert Einstein commented, “The most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible.” Why should this be so?
- The ultimate question–to science and to each of us–was long ago posed by the Psalmist:
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4
- What we think about the world, God, and human beings profoundly affects how we live, how we order our everyday life. Who or what do we trust? What do we mean by faith?
- Both science and Christian faith are practiced in communities with normative practices that bear more similarities than commonly appreciated. Both involve personal commitment and engagement with their subject.
- The early Christian teachers (the “Fathers of the Church”) practiced “liturgy-assisted reasoning”. They did not separate head and heart, but loved that which they worshiped and sought to understand the Scripture and the world in the light of the story of Jesus as entrusted to the apostolic witness of the church. Over centuries, they were driven to articulate an understanding of Jesus as fully God and fully human (the Nicene Creed), and God as a Trinity of Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Sir John Polkinghorne, in his book Science and the Trinity, says the following: “I shall make what some of my scientific colleagues might think was an over-audacious claim, that a deeply intellectually satisfying candidate for the title of a true ‘Theory of Everything’ is in fact provided by Trinitarian Theology.”
- In his bestselling book, A Brief History of Time, Steven Hawking asks the following question “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?” Indeed, we live in well-ordered mathematical universe that is, as the Book of Genesis tells us, a living Creation in which we participate according to the image and likeness of God? Indeed, how do figures like Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and contemporary Anglican thinkers help us understand the relation between God and the world that we know as Creation?
- What is important to us in everyday living is not abstruse knowledge, but the practical questions of life. Can we ask the Holy Spirit of God to breath fire into us so that we can rightly order our loves and passions? What practices can we put into place to enable us to live well as followers of Jesus? How does the Anglican way offer guidance in this?