By Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS
'Science and religion are both concerned with the search for truth, attainable through well-motivated beliefs. The aspects of reality they investigate are different - in the case of science, the impersonal, physical world; in the case of religion, the transpersonal reality of God. Neither can tell the other what to think in its own domain, but their insights have to bear some consonant relation to each other. Science tells theology about the structure and history of the universe and, in particular, emphasises its evolutionary nature. Religious insight can set the laws of nature in a more profound context of understanding, so that their deep order, rational beauty and anthropic fine-tuning become intelligible features and need not to be treated as brute facts. As a consequence, there is a vigorous and enlightening intellectual exchange between the two.'
For 25 years, John Polkinghorne was a theoretical physicist, working on theories of elementary particles. He resigned his professorial chair to study for the Church of England ministry and was ordained an Anglican priest in 1982. In 2002, he was awarded the Templeton Prize for his contributions to research at the interface between science and religion.
This lecture is generously supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.