The conference “Nature and Beyond: Transcendence and Immanence in Science and Religion” is jointly organized by the Science & Religion Department of Lyon Catholic University and ESSSAT (the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology). For the Science & Religion Department it completes two years of research on Divine transcendence and immanence in the universe. For ESSSAT it is the 17th European Conference on Science and Theology.
How can we understand that God is simultaneously in and outside of his creation, without falling into the pitfalls of the absence of God in the world and of pantheism? Faced with modern science, the Churches have tended to stress transcendence to the detriment of the immanent presence of God in the world. Romantic and Gnostic reactions have favoured a direct experience of the Divine through and in nature by spiritualizing it. Pure transcendence leads us towards God’s absence. Pure immanence closes the horizon of meaning within the limits of the world.
Coming from an interdisciplinary perspective, this conference seeks an expression of Divine transcendence and immanence that would distinguish God’s otherness and his intimate presence for his creation. The sciences use the concepts of emergence, energy, incompleteness, biodiversity… Philosophy and theology attempt to distinguish immanence and transcendence. Philosophical reflection begins with the concepts of logos (reason), infinity, beauty, participation… How does the Bible present a God who is both Other and close to us? Theology evokes the themes of continuous creation, rituality, kenosis, love, glory…
– Philip Clayton (Philosopher, Claremont / USA)
– Lydia Jaeger (Physicist, Nogent-sur-Marne/France)
– Christopher Southgate (Theologian, Exeter/UK)
– Helen De Cruz (Philosopher, Cognitive Science, Oxford/UK)
– Bertrand Souchard (Philosopher, Lyon Catholic University / France)