SOUL by Angela Tilby


God, Self, and the New Cosmology
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 Tilby, who produced a series called Soul for the BBC (to be seen in the US on the Learning Channel), here uses her findings from that program as the basis for a personal odyssey through the sometimes conflicting claims of Christianity and science. The author seeks a truce between scientist and priest, and she achieves this by rejecting a fair portion of traditional Christian theology and an equal chunk of modern scientific theory. Within Christianity, she finds the doctrines of monotheism and creation ex nihilo troubling, and she discovers her new Christianity in seemingly incompatible sources: New Age priests (Thomas Berry, Matthew Fox) who emphasize God's participation in the world, and Eastern Orthodoxy, usually perceived as archconservative but praised here for its emphasis on the Trinity (God as relationship). Among scientists, Tilby has trouble with some hard-core physicists like Stephen Hawking--not adverse to psychologizing, she suggests that Hawking's rejection of God is related to his separation from his Christian wife--but approves of Ilya Prigogine and quantum mechanics, which, she believes, accords with the idea of a creative God permeating the cosmos. Tilby's scope is vast and rambling (Newtonian physics, relativity, the Big Bang, the anthropic principle, chaos theory); her work thus doubles as a primer on the new cosmology as seen through religious eyes. A likable book--when Tilby writes about her urgent wish to reconcile science and faith, many will cheer--but not in the same league as Brian Appleyard's Understanding the Present (p. 31), which paints religion and science as forever at war. This is altogether more subjective, simplifying, and, finally, unconvincing.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-47125-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993