Scientific Law and the Attributes of God

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Today’s popular apologetic for Theism emphasises perceived empirical ‘oddities’ – at the limits of scientific explanation. Intelligent-Design arguments focus on apparent lacunae in the causal framework of the natural order that necessitate special divine action. But even if such ‘gaps’ did not shrink or disappear, they would still be an inadequate one-sided basis for mature theistic conviction. Christian Trinitarian Theism orbits that Supreme Being, the author and sustainer of all created existence - in all its particulars and relationships, including those increasing facets where there is a valid scientific understanding. Whereas natural sciences, such as particle physics, elucidate firstly what everything is, the question of what everything does is equally central, and such regularities are properly mapped as scientific laws, albeit of Cartwright’s patchy or ‘dappled’ world. The aims of this paper are: (I) to explore the many fruitful correlations between characteristics of scientific natural law and the classical attributes of the Christian God, and (II) to discuss their significance, more as a theology of natural law, than a natural theology.Grounded in the Biblical text, and the sweep of historical and philosophical theology, classical divine attributes are revealed into the public domain for acknowledgement and worship. Terrestrial and celestial regularities are thereby attributable to God’s covenant commitments and faithfulness. Moreover, the spatial and temporal ubiquity of scientific law correlates with the omnipresence, eternity and immutability of God. Scientific laws, like the immortal and invisible God, are known only through their effects, combined with inference to the best explanation. Reflective scientists perceive the mathematical expression and progressive unification of these laws and are driven to postulate their necessary existence antecedent to the genesis of space and time, matter and radiation. Theism is a short but significant step further, grounding the scientific enterprise in the personal integrity of God.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationhost publication
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
    EventBeyond Paley: Renewing the Vision for Natural Theology - University of Oxford
    Duration: 1 Jan 1824 → …


    ConferenceBeyond Paley: Renewing the Vision for Natural Theology
    CityUniversity of Oxford
    Period1/01/24 → …


    • Laws of Physics, Theism, Scientific Law


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