Exercise on Better Polkinghorne through Pneumatology

Some of you have been rather critical of Polkinghorne's project. Even after hearing your criticisms, I am still happy to have assigned it because of all the texts that are realistic in our setting it is the one that most closely reflects the intersection of our course's concerns. Nevertheless, I am dissatisfied as well, not least because his concerns and ours have not been identical. I do think it has put us in a good place to think about these matters ourselves and to put to work theology we have been learning. I intend this assignment to give you a clearer sense of your own dissatisfactions, to advance our project (and perhaps his own) by addressing them, and to give us some practice in "constructive theology."

Describe either one major weakness or two minor (but not trivial) weaknesses in Polkinghorne's Science and Providence. Strengthen Polkinghorne's account at that point or points by strengthening its underlying theology, particularly concerning the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

I mean the word "weakness" in a roomy way. You may define it as a vaguery, an error, a contradiction, an aporia, a heresy, a fallacy, and so on as it suits your own agenda.

You may consult any theological source to help you improve Polkinghorne's account of divine action in nature, but I recommend that you not neglect the resources in Welker, McDonnell, and — if all else fails — my own stuff.

Remember, identifying the weakness is only one of the goals. The more important one is putting our pneumatological resources to fruitful work to improve our accounts of divine action in nature.

Please keep your paper 4-5 pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers.

Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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