Quantum Physics and Theology by John Polkinghorne: A Review

There’s a reason why books like Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion become international “literary events”, while books like John Polkinghorne’s Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007) pass quietly into the literary canon.  Whereas Dawkins’ best-seller is full of the kind of bitter vitriol and “ne’er the twain shall meet” determinism which his fans and supporters no doubt find gratifying, (and which publishers know will generate the kind of controversy that will boost sales) Polkinghorne’s volume offers a modest, generous, and ultimately joyous exploration of what he describes as the “cousinly relationship” between quantum physics and Christian theology.  This is a learned, humble, and deeply humane book; little wonder, therefore, that it has passed under the media’s sensationalist radar. Continue reading “Quantum Physics and Theology by John Polkinghorne: A Review”

Luke 24: 36-48

There is, in quantum physics, a phenomenon known as the EPR effect.  Put very simply, this phenomenon  occurs when two sub-atomic particles interact with one another; even if the two particles are then separated by a large distance, if changes occur in one particle, the corresponding changes will occur in the other particle.  In effect, having interacted with one another, the two particles remain a single system, despite being separated by large distances.  It would not matter if one particle was here on earth and the other particle on the other side of the solar system; having interacted with each other, they remain entangled, so that what effects one effects the other. Continue reading “Luke 24: 36-48”

John 20: 19-29

PRESCRIPT: This sermon has been preached in the context of a Baptism service, hence the references to Baptism that are contained in the text.

I think it highly significant that on the day we celebrate the Baptism of a child into the Body of Christ, the lectionary presents us with a famous episode from John’s Gospel, the episode of “Doubting Thomas”.  It’s significant because it draws attention to the seriousness with which we must approach the teaching ministry of our faith, especially with respect to how we educate children into the deeper meanings of faith.  A significance all the more potent precisely because today’s reading is one of those well-known passages about which it’s too easy to make assumptions; assumptions which not only blind us to the deeper meaning of the text, but which result in our children receiving flawed – and even damaging – notions of what it means to be a “believer”. Continue reading “John 20: 19-29”

Cross or Crucifix? An Easter Reflection

There’s an old story, one I’m sure many of you are familiar with, concerning a woman whose daughter was making her confirmation.  The woman decided a gold cross on a necklace would make an appropriate gift for the occasion; so she went to the jewelers and explained her situation to the sales-assistant.  The sales-assistant smiled and said: “Oh, we’ve got lots of those! What kind do you want: plain, or one with the little man on it?” Continue reading “Cross or Crucifix? An Easter Reflection”