natural theology

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Volume I: About

page 7


What is theology? Literally it means talk about God.To do meaningful theology, we need to know God. Here, we take God to mean the whole of reality. Jackson, 1

Theology is the traditional theory of everything. In recent years physicists have talked about establishing a theory of everything, but they are principally concerned only with the fundamental alphabet of particles in the Universe. They are less interested in the enormously complex systems that are constructed from these particles. This is the task for theology, the true theory of everything. Theology works to integrate the experiences of all sentient beings, not just fundamental particles. Davies

On our assumption that the Universe is divine, all the sciences are sciences of God. Traditionally theology occupies the top level in the hierarchy of the sciences, uniting them all in an integrated picture of ourselves and our environment. My God is a union of myself and my environment. Insofar as I interact successfully with my environment, I survive. If my environment goes outside my range of adaptability, I perish. So, as in ancient tradition, God is my judge. In evolutionary terms, creatures judged by their environment to be fit proper and reproduce, the unfit die without issue.

God is my guide. The ancient theologies are based on the words and actions of people who claim to have had special relationships with God, seers, prophets, evangelists and the like. It is common for such people to announce norms of behaviour which, they claim, are pleasing to God. Although their ideas may have practical foundations in contemporary life, many of them have subsequently be found wanting. Among these is the idea that some people, like the Pope, have a special, infallible relationship with God, the classification of people as saved and damned, the social inferiority of women and so on. A scientific theology is concerned to identify the real conditions for peace and prosperity based on verified knowledge of the divine world.

God is also my provider. We draw sustenance from our environment, matter, energy and information. Each of us lives as part of the whole. Our environment surrounds us like the layers of an onion, stretching from home and family to the whole Universe. So God = environment = whole = Universe. We each have a local view of God, seen from our own point of view within the divinity.

Every particle has its personal life, but we also have a lot in common. This community leads us from personal considerations out through the layers of the environmental onion to the things which are common to every particle in the Universe. Knowledge of these common properties is good because it serves as a concise guide to dealing with God, and so to survival.

This view of God may be brought into focus by comparing and contrasting it with the classical God of Christianity. The Christian God is immense, omniscient and omnipotent; the Christian God is also simple and eternal with no parts, spatial or temporal extension. Finally the Christian God has three personalities, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

This coalition of attributes was modelled by Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologia, left incomplete in 1273. The Summa is the starting point for natural theology. Aquinas

The first question for theology is does God exist? Aquinas argues that it does by showing that the world cannot explain itself and must therefore be explained by some other preexistent being which we call God. This proof is model dependent. On Aquinas' model, God and the Universe are absolutely distinct.

Here we develop a new model of God. This model allows us to consistently identify God and the Universe. Theology can thus become a science, based on individual and collective observation of God rather than the authority of ancient texts. The purpose of this site is to explain this model in detail and apply it to modern religious questions.

(revised 13 July 2014)


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Further reading


Click on the "Amazon" link below each book entry to see details of a book (and possibly buy it!)

Davies, Paul, The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning, Penguin Books 1992  
Haight, Roger, Jesus Symbol of God, Orbis Books 1999 Jacket: 'This book is the flagship of the fleet of late twentieth century works that show American Catholic theology has indeed come of age. Deeply thoghtful in its exposition, lucid in its method, and by turns challenging and inspiring in its conclusions, this christology gives a new articulation of the saving "point" of it all. ... Highly recommended for all who think about and study theology.' Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, Fordham University. 
Jackson, Roger, and Roger Makransky (editors), Buddhist Theology: Critical reflections by contemporary Buddhist Scholars, Curzon Press 1999 Jacket: 'This volume is the expression of a new development in the academic study of Buddhism: scholars of Buddhism, themselves Buddhist, who seek to apply the critical tools of the academy to reassess the truth and transformative value of their tradition in its relevance to the modern world.' 
Lonergan, Bernard J F, Method in Theology, University of Toronto Press for Lonergan Research Institute 1996 Introduction: 'A theology mediates between a cultural matrix and the signifcance and role of religion in that matrix. ... When the classicist notion of culture prevails, theology is conceived as a permanent achievement, and then one discourses on its nature. When culture is conceived empirically, theology is known to be an ongoing process, and then one writes on its method. Method ... is a framework for collaborative creativity.' 
McGrath, Alister E, The Science of God: An Introduction to Scientific Theology, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 2004 Jacket: 'This book is a clear, concise guide to Alistair McGrath's groundbreaking three-volume work A Scientific Theology, today's most talked about new approach to systematic theology. In those recently published and already acclaimed volumes, McGrath exploits the theological potential of the natural sciences as dialogue partners for Christian thought. The Sceince of God offers an ideal starting point for anyone wishing to engage in this new vision for theology: McGrath himself here summarizes his major project and sketches out its implications for many aspects of Christian doctrine. He then explores in an accessible manner all of the major themes of his three-volume work, including the legitmacy of a scientific theology, the purpose and place of natural theology, the foundations of theological realism, the failure of classic foundationalism, the nature of revelation, and the place of metaphysics in theology.' 
Miles, Jack, God : A Biography, Vintage Books 1996 Jacket: 'Jack Miles's remarkable work examines the hero of the Old Testament ... from his first appearance as Creator to his last as Ancient of Days. ... We see God torn by conflicting urges. To his own sorrow, he is by turns destructive and creative, vain and modest, subtle and naive, ruthless and tender, lawful and lawless, powerful yet powerless, omniscient and blind.' 
Reese, William L, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion: Eastern and Western Thought, Humanities Press/Harvester Press 1996 'The present volume ... has many encyclopedic features, including analyses of the thought of all major philosophers and religious leaders. ... One of the key features of the volume is the extent of its cross references. ... The reader is thus encouraged to undertake his own explorations of the themes, movements and thinkers important in philosophy and religion.'  
Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro, Studies in Zen, Rider and Co, for the Buddhist Society 1953 Studies in Zen is the eigth volume of the collected works of DT Suzuki. Jacket: 'These studies, packed with the jewels of Zen wisdom, and written with unrivalled knowledge, will appeal to all who seek a deeper understanding of Eastern ways of thought and spiritual achievement. For Zen is unique in the whole range of human understanding, and Dr. Suzuki is accepted as its greatest exponent. 
Nature Editorial, Nature Editorial, "Eppur si non muove", Nature, 360, 6399, 5 November 1992, page 2. Opinion: 'The Vatican's half-hearted rehabilitation of Galileo will not prevent the recurrence of errors of the same kind.'. back
Aquinas 13 Summa: I 2 3: Whether God exists? I answer that the existence of God can be proved in five ways. The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. . . . The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. . . . The third way is taken from possibility and necessity . . . The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. . . . The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. back
Claude Shannon Communication in the Presence of Noise 'A method is developed for representing any communication system geometrically. Messages and the corresponding signals are points in two “function spaces,” and the modulation process is a mapping of one space into the other. Using this representation, a number of results in communication theory are deduced concerning expansion and compression of bandwidth and the threshold effect. Formulas are found for the maximum rate of transmission of binary digits over a system when the signal is perturbed by various types of noise. Some of the properties of “ideal” systems which transmit at this maximum rate are discussed. The equivalent number of binary digits per second for certain information sources is calculated.' back
CTNS The Center for Theology & the Natural Sciences (CTNS) 'The mission of CTNS is to promote the creative mutual interaction between theology and the natural sciences. The CTNS mission is carried out through three program areas: research, teaching and public service. The central scientific focus of these programs is on physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, and genetics, with additional topics in the neurosciences, technology, the environmental sciences, and mathematics. The central theological focus is on Christian theology, ethics and spirituality, with additional attention to the theological issues arising from the engagement between the sciences and world religions.' back
I Am that I Am - Wikipedia I Am that I Am - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'I Am that I Am (Hebrew: אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה‎, pronounced Ehyeh asher ehyeh [ʔehˈje ʔaˈʃer ʔehˈje]) is a common English translation (JPS among others) of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for His name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means "existed" or "was" in Hebrew; "ehyeh" is the first person singular imperfect form. Ehyeh asher ehyeh is generally interpreted to mean I am that I am, though it can also be translated as "I-shall-be that I-shall-be."' back
Theological Studies Theological Studies Inc, a Jesuit-sponsored jurnal of Theology Theological Studies is a quarterly journal of theology, published under the auspices of the Jesuits in the USA. Located at Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it is under the general editorship of David G. Schultenover, SJ, in concert with its editorial consultants: back
Theology - Wikipedia Theology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'Augustine of Hippo defined the Latin equivalent, theologia, as "reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity"; Richard Hooker defined "theology" in English as "the science of things divine". The term can, however, be used for a variety of different disciplines or forms of discourse. Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument (philosophical, ethnographic, historical, spiritual and others) to help understand, explain, test, critique, defend or promote any of myriad religious topics.' back
Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica Thomas Aquinas: The medieval theological classic online : 'Because the doctor of Catholic truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but also to instruct beginners (according to the Apostle: As unto little ones in Christ, I gave you milk to drink, not meat -- 1 Cor. 3:1-2), we purpose in this book to treat of whatever belongs to the Christian religion, in such a way as may tend to the instruction of beginners. We have considered that students in this doctrine have not seldom been hampered by what they have found written by other authors, partly on account of the multiplication of useless questions, articles, and arguments, partly also because those things that are needful for them to know are not taught according to the order of the subject matter, but according as the plan of the book might require, or the occasion of the argument offer, partly, too, because frequent repetition brought weariness and confusion to the minds of readers.' back
University of Cambridge Theology and Religious Studies, Faculty of Divinity, 'Theological and Religious Studies has been studied in Cambridge since the mid-thirteenth century, and in every century since then Cambridge figures have been prominent in meeting the theological challenges of contemporary society. You may wish to read more about the history of the Faculty of Divinity. Between three and four billion of the world's population are directly involved in the major religions. The fostering of religious understanding, therefore, has immense implications, not only for the convictions, values and world-views of people throughout the world, but also for the flourishing of communities, institutions, and whole social systems. The Cambridge Faculty of Divinity is at the forefront of response to this complex situation: Theological and Religious Studies in Cambridge today is about pursuing questions of meaning, truth and practice in relation to the religions of the world. It has responsibilities to a wide range of academic disciplines, as well as to religious communities and modern societies which are deeply concerned about the massive transformations occurring around us.' back
University of Oxford Theology at Oxford 'One of the first courses of lectures given at Oxford was in Theology, over 800 years ago.   Alexander Neckham, from St Albans, is recorded as giving  biblical and moral lectures as early as 1193, on The Psalms of David and the Wisdom of Solomon. One of the first major University buildings was the Divinity School, which was begun in 1423 to cater for theology  lectures. So we claim a long history — we are one of the oldest faculties in the University. Nevertheless, we are very much aware that present success cannot rest on past achievements. We have a very large Faculty — well over 100 tutors — and whilst some are still teaching biblical studies and ethics,  others are engaged in topics as diverse as science and religion, philosophy, psychology and sociology of religion, modern theology, church history, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christian spirituality.' back is maintained by The Theology Company Proprietary Limited ACN 097 887 075 ABN 74 097 887 075 Copyright 2000-2014 © Jeffrey Nicholls