Trinitarian Perspectives on Science

On this page I will be posting materials related to an online course for Spring 2020, “Trinitarian Perspectives on Faith and Science from T. F. Torrance and C. S. Lewis,” offered by Grace Communion Seminary (TH504).


As with most GCS courses, this class is 13 weeks long – 10 weeks for lectures, two for finishing assignments and writing the final paper, and one week for final feedback from the instructor.

WEEK

Sp ’20

PERSPECTIVE

APPLICATION

0

Jan 2

Registration begins.
Class Orientation Assignment open.

1

Jan 14

Thinking Theologically

Flat Earth Myth

2

Jan 20

Language and Reality

The Galileo Affair

3

Jan 27

Knowing Kata-physin

Art, Astronomy, Music and Theology in the world of Galileo

4

Feb 3

Cosmologies; God and Nature

Relational Space and Time: Maxwell, Einstein, and the Big Bang.

5

Feb 10

Contingent Order

Geology. Anthropic principle. Plurality of Worlds.

6

Feb 17

Preparing to Read Out of the Silent Planet

Stratified Reality: Scientism, Reductionism. Mind/Brain/AI.

7

Feb 24

Dualism: Cultural Split

Deism, Intelligent Design and Scientific Atheism

8

March 2

Transformation of Natural Theology

Darwin, Evolution, Evolutionary Creation

9

March 9

Evil and the Natural Order

Nature and the Fall

10

March 16

The Priest of Creation:
Magic, Ecology, Stewardship.

The new Creation and the future of the universe

11

March 23

All regular assignments for weeks 1-10 and extra-credit book essays are due by Monday, March 30, 11 pm.

12

March 30

Weeks 11-12 are devoted to the final paper on two chapters from Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith.

13

Apr 7

Final paper due by 11 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

The schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
– William Butler Yeats (attributed)


Why T. F. Torrance? Why C. S. Lewis?
Examining the views of Torrance and Lewis are helpful because:

  • They are two of the most highly regarded 20th-century Christian writers.
  • Each wrote in the Nicene theological tradition of Athanasius.
  • The theology of each is encountered in-depth in other GCS courses.
  • Each wrote prolifically on Christianity and science.
  • Their books are not textbooks, but classics, for life-long learning.
  • Many report that reading their books is an intellectually exhilarating, life-changing experience.
  • Each spoke anchored in the Church, for the sake of the world.

Books:

Bibliographic information indicated below, for works by Torrance, is for the first edition, yet for this course any edition is fine. Click on any “McGrath number” (e.g., #1976-331) to go to the first edition record at tftorrance.org. Look in the right margin of that record to find links to all known later editions, translations, digital editions, and original audio lectures, as well as to booksellers via LibraryThing, Amazon, Bookfinder and AbeBooks. The approximate price indicated is based on a recent print edition at Amazon; the other booksellers may offer copies at lower prices. Please obtain these books before class begins.

  • Torrance, Thomas F. Space, Time and Resurrection (STR). Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1976; #1976-331. ISBN: 9780905312002. 209 pp.; we will read selections. About $30 at online booksellers. Available in many editions, including Apple Books and Kindle.
  • Torrance, Thomas F. The Ground and Grammar of Theology (GGT). Charlottesville, Virginia: The University of Virginia Press, 1980; #1980-369. 192 pp.; we will read selections. About $44 at online booksellers for ISBN 0567043312 edition. Available in many editions, including Logos Bible Software ($25).
  • Lewis, C. S. Out of the Silent Planet; LibraryThing. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1965. Originally published in 1938. 160 pp. About $10 at online booksellers for ISBN 0743234901 edition. Available in many editions, including Apple Books, Kindle and in audiobook format. The audiobook is 5 hours and 31 minutes long.
  • Torrance, Thomas F. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988; #1988-489. About $27 online for ISBN 0567665585 edition. Available in many editions, including audio lectures, Apple Books and Kindle. 345 pp. You will choose two chapters from chs. 2, 3, 4, and/or 5 as the subject of the final paper. If you do not wish to purchase a copy, the free original audio lectures should be adequate if you allow extra time for repeated listening and transcribing. The Trinitarian Faith is recommended reading for TH505 Doctrine of the Trinity.

“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!” Henry David Thoreau

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