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Sunday, August 19, 2018

John Polkinghorne and divine reality


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Jack1956

Photo license: CC BY-SA 3.0


John Polkinghorne (1930-now) is an English physicist and theologian best known for his analysis of free will, God and metaphysics. Wikipedia says,


"[Polkinghorne] suggests that the mechanistic explanations of the world that have continued from Laplace to Richard Dawkins should be replaced by an understanding that most of nature is cloud-like rather than clock-like. He regards the mind, soul and body as different aspects of the same underlying reality - 'dual aspect monism'..." (Wikipedia: John Polkinghorne, 8.17.21 UTC 18:35)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Polkinghorne.


Theology and science


"If the physicists seem to achieve their ends more successfully than the theologians, that is simply a reflection of how much easier science is than theology." (


"Theology differs from science in many respects, because of its different subject matter, a personal God who cannot be put to the test in the way that the impersonal physical world can be subjected to experimental enquiry (


"Theologians have a great problem because they're seeking to speak about God. Since God is the ground of everything that is, there's a sense in which every human inquiry is grist to the teleological mill." (


God's creation


"God didn't produce a ready made world. The Creator has done something cleverer than this, making a world able to make itself." (Quarks, Chaos and Christianity, 1995)


"There is much cloudy unpredictable process throughout the whole of the physical world. It is a coherent possibility that God interacts with the history of creation by means of 'information input' into its open physical process. The causal net of the universe is not drawn so tight as to exclude this possibility. Mere mechanism is dead..." (Quarks, Chaos and Christianity, 1995)