Science, Theology and the Power of the Ring
Greg Cootsona, "Science, Theology and the Power of the Ring," Participatio 7, Science, Epistemology, and Natural Theology (2017): 17-26. Download PDF
Cootsona, Greg. "Science, Theology and the Power of the Ring." Participatio 7, Science, Epistemology, and Natural Theology (2017): 17-26
A response to Alister E. McGrath, "A Manifesto for Intellectual Engagement: Reflections on Thomas F. Torrance's Theological Science (1969)," #2017-AEM-2; originally delivered at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the T. F. Torrance Theological Fellowship.
This paper for the 18 November 2016 meeting of the T. F. Torrance Fellowship in San Antonio, Texas responds to Alister McGrath’s reflections on Thomas Torrance’s 1968 book, Theological Science. It begins by offering an analogy from the character of Tom Bombadil in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of Rings—that theologians rightly respect and learn from the sciences, but should not become enamored by their power. It then builds on Torrance’s reminder that there is no singular Science, but that the objectivity of a science is best constructed on a sustained attention to the particular object of study, a method that is then applied to the task of a theological science. Next, utilizing a rubric for studying Karl Barth learned from the late Timothy Lull, the paper argues that Torrance—like his mentor Barth—is convinced that theology must continually focus on Jesus Christ as its critical source of knowledge. The final sections present an assessment of Torrance’s approach to natural theology and the rationality of theological science, and conclude with appreciation for Torrance as a Christian theologian.