Sunday, 21 October 2012

creatio continuo, and comments re Islam?

I want to thank John Polkinghorne and yourself for running this marvellous and informative website. For me it is unquestionably one of the finest online resources for the science and religion debate. Certainly, it is a very helpful resource for those of us who want to combat the shockingly naive attacks on religious put forward by the so-called "new atheists", Dawkins and Hitchens, etcetera.

If you don't mind, I have a couple of unrelated questions. In his published work, Prof Polkinghorne seems to hold the theological view known as "creatio continuo", or continuous creation. As far as I am aware there are certain recent christian philosophers who would deny this doctrine (Richard Swinburne comes to mind). My question, then, is this: what reasons does Prof Polkinghorne have for believing in continuous creation? And why does he think it important to affirm?

My other question is briefer: I'm wondering if Prof Polkinghorne has made any comments regarding Islam, especially the Qur'anic conception of God (Allah)?

Response from JCP: The long evolutionary history of the universe and of life on Earth, show us that the past was very different from the present in many respects and that God did not bring into being a ready-made world, but one whose potentiality has been explored and brought to birth over long periods of time. Hence the concept of continuous creation in which the Creator acts through the unfolding of the divinely ordained processes of nature. I have written about this in (e.g.) Theology and Science in Quest of Truth and there is much discussion in the writings of Arthur Peacocke.

All three Abrahamic faiths see God’s Mind and Will behind the order and fruitfulness of the world and so share much in common in their understanding of how scientific and religious insights relate to each other.

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