Title page for ETD etd-04292009-123129

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Pretorius, Mark
Email mark@sats.edu.za
URN etd-04292009-123129
Document Title Understanding reality : exploring the interaction between theology and science, with special reference to a theistic presupposition to certain worldviews
Degree PhD
Department Practical Theology
Advisor Name Title
Dr M Strydom Co-Supervisor
Prof J Farris Co-Supervisor
Prof J Buitendag Supervisor
  • world-views
  • miracles
  • eschatology
  • providence
  • open theism
  • evolution
  • creation
  • metaphysics
  • science
  • theology
Date 2007-09-05
Availability unrestricted

The question of reality has traditionally been answered from two broad and separate perspectives, namely natural science and theology. However, in recent times, there has been a growing realism and humility about the limits of the two disciplines, specifically in their pursuit of understanding what makes up reality. Indeed, many are openly speaking about “a new convergence” in the disciplines, opening the way to new insights and understandings about reality.

Because of this, many now see both disciplines as complementary ways of seeking to understand reality. As such, this research shows that there is justification to combine science and theology to further the general understanding of what makes up reality. However, the problem expressed, is that even though both disciplines accept their limits, both disciplines have conflicting world-views on what makes up reality. Nevertheless, the research shows that there is commonality, i.e. both study reality from a creation or natural viewpoint, although each differs on the method to use. Natural science basis its findings on empirically verifiable data, whereas theology, basis its findings on revelation and the “Wirkungsgeschichte” thereof.

Unfortunately, this research shows that the problem does not end there. Within the two disciplines there is what one could call supplementary-worldviews, meaning, each discipline has multiple world-views within its structures. Taking this into account, the research examines these various world-views, and then suggests a suitable solution to the difficulty of finding pluralism among these views.

The research begins with a clear understanding of what the different views consist of. It achieves success by setting up a common frame of reference between each view presented, and then researches each one individually, and where fitting, complementarity sought and explored. The research puts forth that one can only come to a reasonably clear understanding of what makes up reality, if one understands the beliefs and views of each on this.

The research further examines world-views such as the open-theism argument for determinism, Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and the different views about the end result of humanity and creation. It also examines God’s providence and how one would connect it to miracles, prayer, personhood and sin. The objective being to show that other than a theistic world-view, none of the alternative views give satisfactory answers to these questions, and neither do they give answers to the purpose for creation and humanity? The research also shows and argues that evil in this present world must not be thought of as something God willingly planned as an instrument of human punishment and education, but rather as something He allows because of human freedom.

The research also asks questions such as “What is the Final End of Everything”, a question that science and theology have been trying to answer ever since humanity became aware of its own existence. The research further expresses that as technology has increased, many of the issues surrounding eschatology have become obscure, and difficult to deal with. The research points out that at times, eschatology has become a topic of debate, resulting in accusations and acrimony among scholars. Yet the research shows that the Bible is clear about what the end entails, whether that is towards the believer or non-believer.

The research also makes a determination that any view that contradicts itself or destroys itself in the process or act of affirming itself, is self-defeating and false and only theism is actually undeniable. Thus, it is established throughout this work, that theism offers an argument with the undeniable premise that leads one to recognise the existence of an infinitely perfect and powerful Being, who has a purpose for humanity and creation. Indeed, the research shows that any world-view that cannot prove to be true simply based on the premise that it is non-contradictory, must be false. Finally, the research proposes and confidently states, that by implication, this would mean that theism, the only remaining non-contradictory world-view, would be true by the process of falsification of other alternate views, even in today’s scientific and technocratic age.


© University of Pretoria 2007

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 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  00front.pdf 54.41 Kb 00:00:15 00:00:07 00:00:06 00:00:03 < 00:00:01
  01chapter1.pdf 130.53 Kb 00:00:36 00:00:18 00:00:16 00:00:08 < 00:00:01
  02chapter2.pdf 136.46 Kb 00:00:37 00:00:19 00:00:17 00:00:08 < 00:00:01
  03chapter3.pdf 113.58 Kb 00:00:31 00:00:16 00:00:14 00:00:07 < 00:00:01
  04chapter4.pdf 134.19 Kb 00:00:37 00:00:19 00:00:16 00:00:08 < 00:00:01
  05chapter5.pdf 144.43 Kb 00:00:40 00:00:20 00:00:18 00:00:09 < 00:00:01
  06chapter6.pdf 98.52 Kb 00:00:27 00:00:14 00:00:12 00:00:06 < 00:00:01
  07bibliography.pdf 113.72 Kb 00:00:31 00:00:16 00:00:14 00:00:07 < 00:00:01

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