Past and Future
Science and Redemption: The Future of Creation
At the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) in Berkeley, California, we look for both consonance and dissonance between scientific claims and theological claims. My colleague and friend, Robert John Russell, has on repeated occasions demonstrated the consonance between Big Bang cosmology and the biblical account of creation; and he has shown the dissonance between the biblical prophecy of a new creation and physical cosmology.1 On the one hand, what natural science tells us about the origin of the universe seems consonant with Christian and Jewish theologies of creation, even creation out of nothing, creatio ex nihilo. On the other hand, scientific prognostications of the future of the universe which ends in either a freeze or fry scenario – either a collapse to a hot center or an everlasting expansion into frozen equilibrium – flatly contradict the New Testament promise of a renewal of all things in the new creation. We must take on board both consonance and dissonance when pressing our agenda: creative mutual interaction between science and theology, or CMI for short.
In what follows we will give our attention to the dissonance: the future of creation. The dissonance in this case is not due to what Ian Barbour calls the “Independence” model of the relationship between science and religion,2 or due to what I call the “Two Language” model.3 The dissonance regarding the future of the universe is not due to a model, according to which science and theology speak different languages...
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