Book

Incarnation and Physics

Tapio Luoma

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195151893
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834419 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195151895.001.0001

Series: An American Academy of Religion Book

Incarnation and Physics

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Thomas Torrance's original contribution to the dialog between theology and the natural sciences arises from two interrelated features in his thought: first, his adherence to the theology of Karl Barth and, second, his insistence on the centrality of Christology, especially the doctrine of the Incarnation and the concept of the homoousion. He has succeeded in having brought into the dialog not only his own Reformed tradition (Calvinism and Barthianism) but also the central viewpoints of patristic theology of the Early Church. His claim that the empirical natural sciences, both in their epistemological and ontological aspects, as well as the modern relational view of space and time, are actually an outcome of the patristic incarnational theology needs a firmer evidential ground to be convincing. Realism proves to be essential for Torrance's discussion, but, at the same time, his view of realism does not open fully through philosophy of science but rather, through his understanding of God's compulsive power as revealed, especially in the election, a central Reformed doctrine. The most serious threat to realism and its proper function in theology and science is, according to Torrance, the phenomenon he calls dualism, a deep‐seated way of perceiving reality through two opposing principles with no genuine interaction between them. Torrance's interpretation of Arius and Arianism as well as Isaac Newton and his science proves that the main reason for Torrance's criticism of dualism lies in its inability to take seriously the true humanity and true divinity of Christ. Torrance holds that the modern natural sciences, having begun to free themselves of dualistic habits of thought, now have something important to remind theology of, especially regarding the ontological and epistemological grounds of theological science. Torrance's view of the doctrines of Christology, involving the Incarnation and the homoousion, and Trinity as the correct basis with which to begin theological reflection is an ambitious effort to redirect modern theology to follow the example of theoretical novelties in physics back toward its ontological and epistemological basis. Both the freshness and the strength, and the restrictions and the weaknesses, of Torrance's contribution to theology–science dialog can be seen to lie in his determinate adherence to the Incarnation and to the concept of homoousion.

Keywords: Barth; Christology; compulsive power; dualism; Early Church; philosophy; realism; Reformed; science; theology

Book.  240 pages. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Incarnation and Physics

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Torrance's Thought in Outline in Incarnation and Physics

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The Power of Reality in Incarnation and Physics

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Conclusion in Incarnation and Physics

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