Newton, Einstein and Scientific Theology


Thomas F. Torrance, "Newton, Einstein and Scientific Theology," Religious Studies 8 (1972): 233-250; #1972-302


Torrance, Thomas F. "Newton, Einstein and Scientific Theology." Religious Studies 8, no. 3 (1972): 233-250; #1972-302

Publication life cycle / General notes

8th annual Keese Lecture, delivered at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, April 26, 1971.

Reprinted in Transformation and Convergence in the Frame of Knowledge.

Revision status

Date 1972 (as in BG), not 1971 (IT, AM).


Everything about us today tells us that we live in a world which will be increasingly dominated by empirical and theoretic science. This is the world in which the Church lives and proclaims its message about Jesus Christ. It is not an alien world, for it is in this world of space and time that God has planted us. He made the universe and endowed man with gifts to investigate and understand it. Just as he made life to produce itself, so he has made the universe with man as an essential constituent in it, that it may bring forth and articulate knowledge of itself. Regarded in this light the pursuit of science is one of the ways in which man exercises the dominion in the earth which he was given at his creation. That is how, for example, Francis Bacon understood the work of human science, as man's obedience to God. Science is a religious duty, while man as scientist can be spoken of as the priest of creation, whose task it is to interpret the books of nature, to understand the universe in its wonderful structures and harmonies, and to bring it all into orderly articulation, so that it fulfils its proper end as the vast theatre of glory in which the creator is worshipped and praised. Nature itself is dumb, but it is man's part to bring it to word, to be its mouth through which the whole universe gives voice to the glory and majesty of the living God.

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