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Review of  
God's Action in Nature's World:
Essays in Honour of Robert John Russell

Edited by Ted Peters and Nathan Hallanger
ISBN: 0754655563. (Ashgate, 6/2006).

Bob Russell, the founder of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) at Berkeley, California, has been working at the interface of science and theology for over 25 years.  This excellent collection brings together sixteen scholars, many of them household names in the field, who provide a full and clear exposition and a multi-perspective critical commentary on Russell’s most original contributions to this area.

Their first focus is on the methodology of the science/theology debate, as encapsulated by Russell’s demanding “creative mutual interaction” approach to interdisciplinary dialogue.  This not only recognizes the importance of the theologian facing the challenges of the sciences, but also expects the scientist to uncover the implicit theology undergirding the philosophical elements that pervade his or her own work.

The second part explores Russell’s non-interventionist account of special divine action.  He locates this at the level of quantum indeterminism, which allows God’s hidden hand to steer the course of Nature – and, even, of evolution – “from the bottom up” without violating natural laws, by selecting one of the particular outcome states on the ontological openness of Nature.

Part three provides a more miscellaneous collection of essays on broader cosmological themes, including the late Arthur Peacocke’s alternative proposal for a “top-down,” “whole-part” model of special divine action, in which God influences the world as a whole panentheistically.

Despite the technical complexities of parts of the discussion, and the inevitable overlap between some of the essays, this book (which contains a complete list of Russell’s publications) is a must for scholars and libraries with an interest in these important themes.
                                                                                                                             
--Jeff Astley, North of England Institute for Christian Education, Durham

book cover

CTNS Books
Numerous science and religion books by CTNS faculty and associates are in circulation and more are scheduled to be published soon. Authors include Robert John Russell, Ian Barbour, Philip Clayton, Nancey Murphy, Ted Peters, W. Mark Richardson, Francisco Ayala, William Stoeger, and Wesley Wildman. CTNS has also supported book translations into non-English languages to help broaden the religion and science dialogue. Books by Ian Barbour have been translated and published in German and Russian. Books resulting from the CTNS Science and Religion Course Program have been translated into Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese with more to come.

Recent CTNS Books...Details and ordering information here.

2008

Cosmology From Alpha to Omega: The Creative Mutual Interaction of Theology and Science
by Robert John Russell
(Fortress Press) 2008. ISBN: 978-0-8006-6273-8

The Evolution of Evil
Edited by Gaymon Bennett, Martinez J. Hewlett, Ted Peters and Robert John Russell.
(Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co. KG.), 2008.ISBN 978-3-525-56979-5.

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action: Twenty Years of Challenge and Progress
(Forthcoming). This will be distributed by University of Notre Dame Press in North America.
Edited by Robert John Russell, Nancey Murphy and William Stoeger, S.J.
(Vatican Observatory – Vatican City State) 2008. ISBN: 978-88-209-7961-4.

2007

Physics and Cosmology: Scientific Perspective on the Problem of Natural Evil
Edited by Nancey Murphy, Robert John Russell and William Stoeger, S.J.
(Vatican Observatory – Vatican City State) 2007.
ISBN: 978-88-209-7959-1.

Visit the CTNS Books page for ordering details.

CTNS/Vatican Observatory Series on Divine Action
The CTNS/Vatican Observatory book series is the fruit of a multi-year collaboration between the two institutions. The project, and the accompanying book series, focuses on the theological concept of divine action in relation to contemporary scientific theories. Featuring an international team of scholars including physicists, biologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, and theologians, this series consists of an inaugural volume on foundational topics ( Physics, Philosophy, and Theology) followed by five co-published volumes on the theme of divine action.

Chapter summaries of CTNS/Vatican Observatory Series on divine action: click here.

Online Resources for CTNS Members

Online Resources for the Public

Theology and Science Journal

Theology and ScienceBegun in 2003, Theology and Science draws its academic strength from the background of over twenty years of CTNS development, the expertise of hundreds of scientists and theologians from around the world who have participated in CTNS research programs, as well as a cadre of more than 50 editors on the Editorial Advisory Board. From physics and cosmology to evolutionary biology, genetics, neuroscience and the environmental sciences, Theology and Science engages scientific discourse in dialogue with both Christian and multi-religious perspectives. With these affiliations, the journal provides a critical and comprehensive collection of articles and reviews that promote the creative mutual interaction between the natural sciences and theology. CTNS members receive both the printed and on-line versions of this outstanding journal. To view an on-line sample journal (Vol. 1, No. 1), see the instructions in the About Us section of this website.

To view the current Table of Contents, click here.

Become a member of the CTNS to receive Theology and Science in both the print and on-line versions. The fees are $67 per year (domestic or international) for regular membership and $40 per year for FT Student or over 65 Senior and includes four issues per year. Libraries and institutions wishing to subscribe to this journal may contact Taylor and Francis directly.

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