The Measure of God, now in paperback, is a lively historical
narrativeoffering the reader a sense for what has taken place in
the God and science debate over the past century.
Modern science came of age at the cusp of the twentieth century.
It was a period marked by discovery of radio waves and x rays, use
of the first skyscraper, automobile, cinema, and vaccine, and rise
of the quantum theory of the atom. This was the close of the
Victorian age, and the beginning of the first great wave of
scientific challenges to the religious beliefs of the Christian
Religious thinkers were having to brace themselves. Some raced
to show that science did not undermine religious belief. Others
tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the
tools of science, facts and reason, could support knowledge of God.
In the English speaking world, many had espoused such a project,
but one figure stands out. Before his death in 1887, the Scottish
judge Adam Gifford endowed the Gifford Lectures to keep this debate
going, a science haunted debate on "all questions about man's
conception of God or the Infinite." The list of Gifford lecturers
is a veritable Who's Who of modern scientists, philosophers and
theologians: from William James to Karl Barth, Albert Schweitzer to
Reinhold Niebuhr, Niels Bohr to Iris Murdoch, from John Dewey to
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