Crafting a book that will inform and transform people’s thinking as to why belief in God is reasonable

Author: Nicholas Hawkes

Hawkes, Nicholas, 2022 Crafting a book that will inform and transform people’s thinking as to why belief in God is reasonable, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This PhD seeks to craft a book that is relevant to the social climate of the day, one that will inform and transform people’s thinking as to why belief in God is reasonable. The underlying passion behind it is a desire to develop a tool for ‘market place’ apologetics. As such, it is brutally practical.

The planned PhD is part of a wider narrative that involves three books. Each book is a development of the last.

The first apologetic book (The Dance Between Science and Faith) gave the scientific case for why Christianity was scientifically reasonable. However, because the book featured a lot of science, those not interested in science found it too technical. Another book was therefore required.

The need for another book was also stimulated by a theological conviction. This was the realization that God has not just left an invitation for us to reach out to him in the cosmos for physicists to appreciate, but that he hangs his business card in all disciplines that search for truth: including physics, biology, sociology, philosophy… indeed, in every area of human experience. This resulted in researching and writing the book Who Ordered the Universe? Evidence for God in unexpected places. This book broadens the scope of apologetics into some exciting new areas such as mathematics, the notion of truth, and death.

Original thinking in this book is not only evidenced in the scope of the work but also in its exploration of the vexing issue of suffering—and the place of God in it all. Its conclusions are emancipatory and give solid reasons for hope.

A paper spawned by the book on ‘mathematics’ attempts to solve a paradox that has baffled mathematical philosophers for two-and-a-half-millennia concerning what mathematics actually is. It does so by appealing to recent research conducted over the last one-hundred years into quantum physics.

Other papers explore the relevance of quantum physics to apologetics. They note that science is now bumping up against meta-questions… and that the times may be calling for a New Enlightenment in which the Aristotelian “ultimate cause” (once banished by Francis Bacon et al. from scientific discourse) be allowed to make a reappearance. Evidence for the existence of an overarching consciousness is explored.

The need for a third book was brought about by the harsh reality of the publisher of Who Ordered the Universe? going into voluntary liquidation at the time the book should have been marketed. But even in the five years since it was published, Western society has moved on. It is now less inclined to acknowledge its Christian heritage and less wedded to the notion of truth. A desire for autonomy has redefined morality, and emotionalism has replaced rationalism. This called for a third book, God and Me: Reasons for Faith—excerpts from which are included in the accompanying thesis (but it is not included as one of the prior published papers, as it has not yet been published).

Keywords: apologetics, Christianity and science, science and faith, cosmology, suffering, mathematics, quantum physics, philosophy

Subject: Theology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2022
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Professor Andrew Dutney