Volume 950, Issue 1 p. 175-182

Understanding the Universe


Corresponding Author


Queens' College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, U.K.

Address for correspondence: Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, 74 Hurst Park Avenue, Cambridge CB4 2AF, U.K. Voice: 44-1223-360743; fax: 44-1223-35522.Search for more papers by this author


Abstract: Physics constrains metaphysics but does not determine it. The central metaphysical question is that of scope; a true theory of everything must take personal experience as seriously as the impersonal. Science raises questions of intelligibility and anthropic fine-tuning that go beyond its own self-limited power to answer. Theism provides a coherent response, as well as furnishing a foundation for the human encounter with value. Evolutionary insight affords some insight in relation to problems of physical evil, but eventual cosmic futility can only find an answer in the faithfulness of a Creator whose purposes are not frustrated by death.