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Reconstructing Wonder

Chemistry Informing a Natural Theology


Timothy Weatherstone

The book uses scientific discipline of chemistry to inform a Natural Theology. While Natural Theology typically employs scientific analysis from Cosmology, Physics, Mathematics and at times Biology the author extends the subject. He refers to the perception of beauty to provide a conceptual framework linking aspects of Epistemology, Theology and Chemistry. The volume presents a working definition of Natural Theology and a new definition of Beauty that bridges the conceptual gaps between the humanities and the hard sciences.

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Chapter 5: On God and Beauty


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Chapter 5: On God and Beauty

5.1  Introduction

The argument of this book as stated in the introduction is that aspects of the natural science of chemistry as currently practiced, may inform a natural theology. In order to present a coherent argument it has been necessary to present the basis upon which knowledge may be justified in chapter 1, followed by discussions on the particular natural theology I am seeking to make use of, followed by characterisations of contemporary chemical research and concluding with examples taken from recent research papers in chapter 4. The required link between contemporary chemical research and the particular chosen form of natural theology has been the apprehension of beauty in both areas of study. The perception of beauty has been shown to be evident in aspects of contemporary chemical research.

The task in this section therefore is to review historically what has been said on ‘God and Beauty’ so as to be able to locate our present discussions within the overall Western historical tradition on this subject. I addressed this subject from a scriptural standpoint in chapter 2; here I propose to offer this brief analysis upon the dual bases of the Platonic and the Aristotelian systems.

Any discussion on God and beauty is distinct from reflections on, for example, what beauty is, whether it is objective or subjective, whether it belongs to the object being called beautiful or whether it is purely...

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