Nature, Contingency, and the Spirit: A Conversation with Wolfhart Pannenberg
Wolfhart Pannenberg was involved in the dialogue with the natural sciences from the beginning of his theological formation. His engagement with the sciences is characterized by the determination neither simply to incorporate scientific findings into a theological account of reality nor to adapt theological reflection to the state of scientific theory, but to challenge scientific methods, hypotheses, and theories from a theological perspective. Pannenberg has attempted to develop a theology of nature in which the concept of contingency plays a crucial role—both for science and theology. In Pannenberg’s magisterial Systematic Theology (1988–1993) the different aspects of his theology of nature are integrated into the framework of a comprehensive view of the Spirit as a field of force. This essay will build on Pannenberg’s achievements and offer them as an encouragement to explore further aspects in the dialogue between theology, philosophy, and the sciences.