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Religions 2015, 6(1), 221-244; doi:10.3390/rel6010221

The Physics of Augustine: The Matter of Time, Change and an Unchanging God

Department of Physics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1300 University Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35294-1170, USA
Academic Editors: Scott McGinnis and Chris Metress
Received: 4 January 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2015 / Accepted: 15 February 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [519 KB, uploaded 17 March 2015]   |  

Abstract

Scientific questions posed by St. Augustine, early father of the Christian church, are presented as a part of a proposed undergraduate course for religion and philosophy students. Augustine regularly seasons his religious, philosophical and moral investigations with analysis focused on the physical nature of the universe and how it can be quantified: “And yet, O Lord, we do perceive intervals of time, and we compare them with each other, and we say that some are longer and others are shorter” (Confessions, Book 11). The physical analysis is sometimes extended, pressing the attention and grasp of the unsuspecting student of religion or philosophy. Though Augustine emphasizes that true knowledge comes from faith and revelation, his physical inquiries imply that he values such analysis as a way toward truth. In contrast, Master of Divinity programs, which train the majority of Western Christian ministers, require little science experience and usually no physics. Serious investigation of Augustine’s physical explorations reveal an alternative way of understanding scripture, especially Jesus’ sayings: could the master engineer who created the universe sometimes be speaking in straightforward scientific terms? View Full-Text
Keywords: Augustine; pedagogy; core texts/great books programs; history of Christianity; physics; time; science and religion Augustine; pedagogy; core texts/great books programs; history of Christianity; physics; time; science and religion
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nordlund, T. The Physics of Augustine: The Matter of Time, Change and an Unchanging God. Religions 2015, 6, 221-244.

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