Divine and Contingent Order

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This book examines the implications of the Judaeo-Christian claim for our understanding of the universe that it is contingent: freely created by God out of nothing, and having an existence, freedom, and rational order of it's own while still dependent on him. Professor Torrent argues that this claim made possible the development of western empirical science, but that Newtonian phsyics obscured the connection between the rational order of nature and the Christian doctrine of creation. He shows how modern relativity and quantum theories have once again drawn attention to the significance of contingence, and imply that the universe is found to be consistently rational only if it is dependent on a creative rationality behind it. He considers finally the disorderly elements in the universe, both physical and moral, and argues that the doctrine of incarnation as well as of creation is ncessary to deal with the intellectual problems which they raise. The Very Reverend Thomas F. Torrance is Emeritus Professor of Christian Dogmatics, University of Edinburgh.