Harvard University Press
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We live in a universe with a very long history, a vast
cosmos where things are being worked out over unimaginably
long ages. Stars and galaxies have formed, and elements come
forth from great stellar cauldrons. The necessary elements
are present, the environment is fit for life, and slowly
life forms have populated the earth. Are the creative forces
purposeful, and in fact divine?
Owen Gingerich believes in a universe of intention and
purpose. We can at least conjecture that we are part of that
purpose and have just enough freedom that conscience and
responsibility may be part of the mix. They may even be the
reason that pain and suffering are present in the world. The
universe might actually be comprehensible.
Taking Johannes Kepler as his guide, Gingerich argues that
an individual can be both a creative scientist and a
believer in divine design--that indeed the very motivation
for scientific research can derive from a desire to trace
God's handiwork. The scientist with theistic metaphysics
will approach laboratory problems much the same as does his
atheistic colleague across the hall. Both are likely to view
the astonishing adaptations in nature with a sense of
surprise, wonder, and mystery.
In God's Universe Gingerich carves out "a theistic space"
from which it is possible to contemplate a universe where
God plays an interactive role, unnoticed yet not excluded by
Talk of the Nation - August 4, 2006
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