Independent Science, Integrated Theology: How Process Theology Can Inform Christian Orthodox Theodicy
9 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2015
Date Written: October 22, 2013
Independence and integration are two models for the proper relationship between theology and science. Each model has a context in which it is well-suited, defined by the presuppositions and goals of each discipline. The independence thesis functions well in science. This is because science is largely a functional enterprise: critical realism indicates that scientific theories rise and fall based on observations about the real world. Science’s criteria for truth are self-contained. Orthodox theology concurs that science is functionally autonomous, positing a law-governed universe that the human mind is made to explore through reason.
Theologians have tried to posit independence for their own discipline too, but such efforts tend to end in relativism. If it is to avoid being a mere subjective construct and form of therapy—if it is to posit a real God as the Creator of the entire universe—then it must integrate the findings of science into its understanding of its own doctrines. Theology is either concerned with the whole of reality, or it is unsuccessful.
The problem of theodicy can illustrate a way in which modern science can be integrated into orthodox Christian theology. Drawing on attitudes and interpretations of reality informed by science and contextualized by process theology, this paper will show how fruitful internalizing science is for theology.
Keywords: science, religion, Christian theology, process theology, nature, Creator, theodicy, evil
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