Just whipped through John Polkinghorne’s little book Traffic in Truth: Exchanges between Science and Theology which, like the Darwin book I blogged about earlier, provides an easy entrance to thinking about the relationship between science and religion. It reads like the combination of an introduction and conclusion from one of his other more lengthy books – at 54 pages it’s small enough to skim through in an single sitting. In his overview of the roles of chance and necessity in the universe he says,
Evolving fruitfulness seems to require a compromise between reliability and change. Too reliable a world would be so rigid that nothing new took place; too changeable a world would be in such a state of flux that nothing would ever persist in it.
When I read it I instinctively thought of the church – those that are too reliable and never venture into new things unless they are certainties and those that refuse to hold onto traditions and structures that are life-giving and are always looking for the next-best-thing. An emerging or reforming church need both chance (life-giving novelty) and reliability (life-giving traditions).
There is an official web site for John Polkinghorne with information about him, his work and talks and with links to science & religion resources.