Beyond Barbour: A Theology of Science from Ancient and Modern Thinkers

Tom C.B. McLeish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, I will challenge a common background relational assumption behind all of Barbour’s categories as intrinsically unfaithful to the universal nature of both science and religion, arguing instead that it is more fruitful to ask what a ‘theology of science’ might look like. ‘What does science do, and what is it for, within a theological worldview?’ This approach works very well in a teaching context when developed in two ways: (1) historically and (2) using Biblical studies in wisdom, especially in the book of Job. Students of this approach start to think in new ways and ask new questions, suggesting an approach to science or in its more ancient form natural philosophy – the ‘love of wisdom of natural things’ – that can draw on theological and cultural roots. I suggest that deriving a human narrative for science in this way can transform the way political discussions of ‘troubled technologies’ (genetic medicine, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), fracking, etc.) are framed and the way we approach science in education and the media.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2019

Publication series

NameContemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education
ISSN (Print)1878-0482
ISSN (Electronic)1878-0784

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