''... the most important problem for the Orthodox theology of tomorrow will be to reconcile the cosmic vision of the Fathers with a vision which grows out of the results of the natural sciences... Theology today must remain open to embrace both humanity and the cosmos'' (Dumitru Staniloae).
''Modern science, based as it is on a rationality subordinated to non-spiritual categories, likewise can never attain a knowledge of anything in itself, no matter how much it concerns itself with experiment and observation or how far it carries its function of dissection and analysis. This is the situation to which modern science has been condemned and to which it continues to be trapped. It is compelled by its very premises to ignore in things those qualities that transcend their finite appearance and the reason's capacity for logical analysis and deduction'' (Philip Sherrard).
These two statements by Orthodox theologians capsulize the two-fold necessity for a work like Nesteruk's: the responsibility for contemporary Orthodoxy, if it is to be true to itself, to engage the already extensive dialogue between science and theology in the West; and the West's need to incorporate the insights patristic theology (the essential core of Orthodox theology) offers to that dialogue. This book might be a paradigm of how Orthodox theology can take up the challenge, in Nesteruk's own case developing the insight of T.F. Torrance (whom he acknowledges as a primary mentor) that theological and modern scientific concepts are similarly open and contingent to God's transcendent Reality, and obtain their proper validity when exercised in dialogue with that Reality. In the course of his investigations, Nesteruk discusses convergences between patristic and modern physics' views of time, creation, anthropology, and rationality, convergences which perhaps foreshadow a time when Evagrios' dictum that the theologian is one who prays truly might also be said analogously of the scientist going about his own workv theology of another sort. 287 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
In this unique volume, a new and distinctive perspective on hotly debated issues in science and religion emerges from the unlikely ancient Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition.
Alexei Nesteruk reveals how the Orthodox tradition, deeply rooted in Greek Patristic thought, can contribute importantly in a way that the usual Western sources do not. Orthodox thought, he holds, profoundly and helpfully relates the experience of God to our knowledge of the world. His masterful historical introduction to the Orthodox traditions not only surveys key features of its theology but highlights its ontology of participation and communion. From this Nesteruk derives Orthodoxy's unique approach to theological and scientific attribution. Theology identifies the underlying principles (logoi) in scientific affirmations.
Nesteruk then applies this methodology to key issues in cosmology: the presence of the divine in creation, the theological meaning of models of creation, the problem of time, and the validity of the anthropic principle, especially as it relates to the emergence of humans and the Incarnation.
Nesteruk's unique synthesis is not a valorization of Eastern Orthodox thought so much as an influx of startlingly fresh ideas about the character of science itself and an affirmation of the ultimate religious and theological value of the whole scientific enterprise.