This unit studies the complex relationship between religion, theology, and the natural sciences. Theological concerns guided the science of Kepler, Newton and many other early scientists. They held that studying the universe demonstrated the attributes of God. After Darwin, this view was replaced by radically different ones: to some science and religion are necessarily antagonistic, to others they belong to different realms, to yet others there is a mutually illuminating consonance between the two. We examine this change, the reasoning (good and bad) behind it and its intellectual vestiges, including some modern debates: "Anthropic Principle", multiple universes, and such scientific/philosophical issues such as "Why are the laws of nature what they are?" Finally, we explore the relationship between the "personal God" of religious experience and the "philosophers’ God" posited to explain facts about the natural world.

Unit Code: AP3300T

Points: 18.0

Unit Level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit Discipline: Philosophy

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning Outcomes


Articulate the complex historical relationship between religion, theology, and the natural sciences, with particular emphasis on the relationship during the "scientific revolution" and post-Darwinian Victorian-era controversies


Summarise the role and various interpretations of the concept of the anthropic principle, and the concept of multiple universes in contemporary 21st century debates


Appraise the various positions in this unit on the philosophy of science, and in particular the positions on the status of the presuppositions of scientific inquiry


Reflect on the different views of the relationship between the "personal God" of religious experience and the more abstract "philosophers’ God"


Demonstrate well-developed skills of analysis and argument in theology and the history and philosophy of science

Unit sequence:

1 unit in Philosophy or Christian Thought


Lectures and tutorials


Description Weight (%)

2 x 500 word tutorial papers


Level 3: 1 x 1,000 word essay


Level 3: 1 x 3,000 word final essay


Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2014

Unit Record last updated: 2019-02-04 08:43:30 +1100