Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xvi

“God does not play dice.” This oft-quoted statement in religion and science is actually a paraphrase of what Albert Einstein wrote in a letter to fellow physicist Max Born on December 4, 1926: “Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not bring us any closer to the secret of the ‘old one.’ I, at any rate, am convinced that He [God] is not playing at dice.”1 Einstein’s opposition...

Part One: Philosophical Cosmology / Natural Theology from an Evolutionary Perspective

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Chapter One: Is There a Reason for Everything, or Do Some Things Just Happen?

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pp. 3-13

In his widely read book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Rabbi Harold Kushner proposes that very often bad things happen to good people for no reason at all.1 As a result, one should not blame other people for what happened, nor blame God, nor most of all blame oneself.2 One should instead ask God for assistance in deciding what to do next by way of making the best out of a bad situation.3 This is excellent pastoral advice to people...

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Chapter Two: Value and Creativity

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pp. 15-29

Before one makes value judgments about specific lines of research in science and particular applications of scientific research to technology, one should have some preunderstanding of what is meant generically by the term “value.” For example, is value ultimately based on broad consensus with respect to subjective desires and purposes or on something objective in the natural order to which appeal can be made in evaluating the merit of various value...

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Chapter Three: Intelligent Design and the Self-Organization of Nature

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pp. 31-45

Jozef Zycinski, Archbishop of Lublin, Poland, with a double doctorate in theology and the philosophy of nature, is the author of a recent book on religion and science that has been translated into English as God and Evolution.1 In the introduction he makes the following programmatic statement:

In the still-popular attempts to find a Christian evolutionism, we most often find either appeal to St. Augustine’s concept of rationes seminales or indications of the moments...

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Chapter Four: Rethinking Primary and Secondary Causality

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pp. 47-58

Without a doubt the notion of evolution has captured the imagination of intelligent people around the world in the years since the publication of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1859. Not only in the field of biology but in all the other natural and social sciences, even in the traditional humanities, the notion of ongoing change and historical development is now more or less taken for granted. There are, to be sure, many contemporary theologians...

Part Two: Systems Thinking in the Social Sciences

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Chapter Five: From Platonic Forms to Open-Ended Systems: The Search for Truth and Objectivity

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pp. 61-74

Philosophers and theologians in Western civilization have always sought to determine what is objective and true in the world around them. One sees this passion for objective certitude, for example, in Plato’s celebrated analogy of the cave in the Republic in which he asserts the priority of the Forms or transcendental Ideas over the confusing data of common sense experience.1 Truth and objectivity are to be found in the unchanging world of ideas, not in the...

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Chapter Six: Whiteheadian Societies as Self-Unifying Systems

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pp. 75-89

In the introduction to his book Darwin’s Cathedral, David Sloan Wilson asks, “What is the nature of human society? Is it a collection of self-seeking individuals, or can it be regarded as an organism in its own right?”1 Noting that the understanding of groups as akin to organisms has in recent years been called into question by evolutionary biologists such as Richard Dawkins,2 Wilson claims that recent advances in evolutionary biology using a methodology...

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Chapter Seven: Subjectivity and Objectivity within Open-Ended Systems

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pp. 91-109

Many contemporary philosophers and theologians have a deep distrust of classical metaphysics with its strong focus on logical analysis and organized thought systems purporting to give a comprehensive view of the God-world relationship or some other all-embracing topic. This attitude may partly be traced to the impact on the academy of Totality and Infinity by Emmanuel Levinas, in which he laid bare the contrast between “totalizing” rational modes...

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Chapter Eight: The Democratic Process as an Open-Ended System in Political Life

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pp. 111-124

In Western Europe and North America, democracy has become in recent centuries the most common form of political government because in principle it guarantees the rights of individual citizens against various forms of tyranny and oppression. Likewise, when in various parts of the world a totalitarian regime is overthrown, the notion of a democratic system of government is regularly set forth by reformers as the ideal toward which to aspire in setting up a new regime. One need only think of the overthrow of totalitarian regimes...

Part Three: Christian Doctrinal Questions

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Chapter Nine: Incarnation and Redemption within the Cosmic Process

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pp. 127-138

At the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, the church fathers declared that Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God was “of one substance” with the Father and thus divine as well as human.1 But only at the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon in 431 and 451 CE, respectively, was it made clear that Jesus as the incarnate Son of God is a divine person with two natures, one divine and the other human. The divine nature does...

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Chapter Ten: A New Look at the Resurrection of the Body

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pp. 139-153

In a recent book on the relation between modern science and traditional religious beliefs, English philosopher/theologian Keith Ward takes note of the fact that in the view of some scientists human thoughts and memories may someday be “downloaded” into supercomputers that would far outlast the possibility of physical human survival on this earth.1 In this way human beings could achieve a type of natural (as opposed to supernaturally...

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Chapter Eleven: Church and Sacraments from a Process Perspective

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pp. 155-166

While classical Thomistic metaphysics and transcendental Thomism have different starting points, the one in cosmology or metaphysics, the other in the theory of knowledge or epistemology, both implicitly affirm one and the same understanding of the relation between the One and the Many. That is, both presuppose the priority of the nonempirical One over the empirical Many, as initially proposed by Plato. This classical Platonic approach to the problem...

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Chapter Twelve: Inclusivity and Exclusivity in a Religious Context

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pp. 167-176

In the preceding chapters of this book, I have argued that a new paradigm for the relation between the One and the Many is slowly gaining ground in Western culture under the impact of an evolutionary / systems- oriented approach to reality, namely, an understanding of the One as emergent out of the ongoing dynamic interplay of the Many with one another.1 The One, accordingly, is no longer a transcendent entity but a structured field of activity...

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Conclusion

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pp. 177-183

Granville Henry notes in an early chapter of his book Christiainity and the Images of Science that Pythagoras and his school were not acquainted with the possibility of fractions as multiple ways to subdivide the number one without losing the sense of “one” as the first prime number. For them, “one” was the only number that was simple and undifferentiated; all other numbers like “two” were composed of parts—for example, two “ones.”1 According to Henry, this...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 185-190

Index

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pp. 191-196