Andrew Davison: Theological Implications of the Natural Origins of Life

Date(s) - November 23, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Woodward (IRC) Building, Room 3

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Widespread scientific confidence in there being a natural origin of life, rather than a supernatural one, is a latecomer in the history of thought, held back as much by scientific considerations as by belief that this is more the purview of religion. Yet, over the course of the past century, a natural origin has become the default position. Surprisingly little theological thought has been given to that, with the mainstream churches taking a natural origin for granted, while some more conservative traditions hold out against the possibility. In this talk, Professor Davison will sketch this history, and argue that while Christian theology can take a natural origin to life in its stride, that deserves more attention than it often gets.


One of the founders of the Cambridge Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe, Andrew Davison is the Starbridge Professor of Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow in Theology and Dean of Chapel at Corpus Christi College. He is the author of many books, including Participation in God: A Study in Christian Doctrine and Metaphysics and Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine: Exploring the Implications of Life in the Universe (both Cambridge University Press).

He works at the intersection of theology, science and philosophy. He is the Starbridge Professor in Theology and Natural Sciences at Cambridge University since 2014. He holds a DPhil in Biochemistry (Oxford, 2000), plus a PhD in Theology (Cambridge, 2013). In the 2016-17 academic year, he was a fellow at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, on a NASA-sponsored programme to consider the implications for human society and self-understanding of life elsewhere in the universe. He published in 2023 Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine: Exploring Life in the Universe (Current Issues in Theology).   He is news editor for the journal Theology and Science, and editor of the Cambridge University Press series Cambridge Elements in Christianity and Science.

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