A Systematic Study of the Consequences of Astrobiology for Christian Doctrine
I am surveying the implications of astrobiology for the core topics in Christian systematic theology. Central topics will include the ‘purpose’ of creation, the notion of solidarity in sin and redemption, the possibility of more than one incarnation, the meaning of particularity, and how eschatology is to be framed within the timescale of the sum of cosmic civilisations. This project provides resources for a widened debate about the implications of life elsewhere in the universe, and helps leaders and members of one of the major faith communities – members of the Christian Churches – to be better prepared to respond to provocations that would be posed by signs of astrobiology, should they be found. Although this project is primarily spelt out in terms of Christian theology, inter-faith dimensions to these questions will also be in view. Moreover, a resource written primarily with the Christian Churches in mind will reach beyond those who are regular, practicing members of these communities: a considerably larger group of people, who stand at a remove from explicit religious adherence, nonetheless look in significant ways to theological tenets for orientation in understanding the world and their place within it.
Andrew Davison is the Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Corpus Christi College. He holds undergraduate degrees and doctorates in both natural science (Merton College, Oxford) and theology (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge). His books include The Love of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy for Theologians (2013) and Why Sacraments? (2013). His interests lie at the intersection of theology, philosophy and science, including work on astrobiology, finitude, participation, and emergence and hylomorphism.