The God of Hope and the End of the World

John Polkinghorne

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October 11, 2003
192 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
ISBN: 9780300098556
Paper

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Cloth

Do we live in a world that makes sense, not just now, but totally and forever? If, as scientists now predict, the universe is going to end in collapse or decay, can it really be a divine creation? Is there a credible hope of a destiny beyond death? In this engaging and intellectually scrupulous book, a leading scientist-theologian draws on ideas from science, scripture, and theology to address these important questions. John Polkinghorne carefully builds a structure of the hope of the life to come that involves both continuity and discontinuity with life in this world—enough continuity so that it is we ourselves who shall live again in that future world and enough discontinuity to ensure that the second story is not just a repetition of the first.

Polkinghorne develops his argument in three sections. In the first, he considers the role of contemporary scientific insights and cultural expectations. In the second, he gives a careful account of the various testimonies of hope to be found in the Bible and assesses the credibility of belief in Jesus’ resurrection. In the final section he critically analyzes and defends the Christian hope of the life of the new creation.

John Polkinghorne, K.B.E., F.R.S., is past President and now Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge, Canon Theologian of Liverpool, and Fellow of the Royal Society. Winner of the 2002 Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities, he is also the author of Belief in God in an Age of Science and Faith, Science, and Understanding, both published by Yale University Press.

“[A] powerful book. . . . In this book, Polkinghorne raises a lot of questions basic to life, questions that the heavy overlay of scientific declarations in our age have made more pressing. His answers are carefully presented, based in solid Biblical and scientific fact, carefully thought out and clearly stated. The nonbeliever will be made to think. The believer shall come away with a strengthened hope and renewed trust in a faithful Creator.”—MaryHelen Clague, The Tampa Tribune

“This well-informed and clearly written book places the reader before the ultimate choice: the futility of cosmic decay or the final fulfillment of God’s creation. Polkinghorne offers compelling arguments for the belief that divine love is the ground of a true and everlasting hope. I highly recommend the book to skeptic and believer alike.”—Miroslav Volf, Yale University

"In this highly readable book, John Polkinghorne creatively treats such topics as the destiny of redeemed ’matter’ and the life of the world to come in light of the challenge of modern science, making this new book essential reading. It spells out in a very persuasive fashion the Christian meaning of eschatological hope."—Robert John Russell, founder and director, The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and professor, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

"Polkinghorne’s strong views and straightforward composition shine through on every page. . . . The God of Hope and the End of the World is both challenging and comforting. It is an excellent work, providing gallons of fuel for debates or personal pondering about the probable or possible shapes of the life of the world to come."—John Omicinski, America

“Thoughtful Christians will find much to praise in this modern Aquinas.”—Booklist

“This is a delightful, enlightening and edifying book written for thoughtful Christians whose faith requires an intelligent defense as their intelligence yearns for the comforts of faith.”—Wayne A Holst, Christian Week

“Readers interested in the ongoing explorations of Christian faith and cosmology will not want to miss this volume, particularly since Polkinghorne takes on fellow theology-and-science writers such as Arthur Peacocke.”—Publishers Weekly

"This volume is another sound, readable, and clear essay in science and theology from the prolific pen of Sir John Polkinghorne. . . . One of the best books on the growing theme of eschatology within the religion-science dialogue, and certainly the best first read on the topic. . . . This is an admirable book, given its scope, size, and audience. I highly recommend it."—Alan G. Padgett, Theology Today

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