Investigating the Scientific Theology from Nancy Murphy’s Viewpoint

Document Type : Original Article


PhD in Islamic Theology, Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute


The scientific theology is a new branch of contemporary Christian theology that defends the rationality and believability of theology by resorting to science. Nancy Murphy is one of the theologians pioneering in this arena. She has made great efforts to this end and it is advisable to get benefits from the results of such studies. The main issue in this article is to find out the features of the scientific theology in Murphy’s view and the critiques one can pose on it. To answer, using a descriptive-analytical method, we will first explain Murphy’s approach and, then, evaluate it. By referring to Murphy’s works, it is revealed that in offering her model of scientific theology, she has made use of hypothetical-deductive method of science and Lakatos’ scientific research program, placing theology in the hierarchy of other sciences. While enjoying some strong points, Murphy’s model suffers from serious weaknesses. Some of them are as follows: placing fundamental Christian beliefs in opposition to suppositional theories and hypotheses, temporary nature of theology due to its reliance on transient methods of science, not offering any reason for using science, relying on philosophy of science instead of science itself, and not following a certain rule of theology implementation of Lakatos’ scientific research program.


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