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John D. Barrow was Research Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge whose writings on the relationship between life and the universe drew insights from mathematics, physics, and astronomy.
He challenged scientists and theologians to cross disciplinary boundaries to test what they may or may not understand about the origins of time, space, and matter, and the behavior of the universe. His work cast the intrinsic limitations of scientific inquiry into sharp relief and given theologians and philosophers inescapable questions to consider when examining the very essence of belief, the nature of the universe, and humanity’s place in it.
Astronomy has transformed the simple-minded, life-averse, meaningless universe of the sceptical philosophers. It breathes new life into so many religious questions of ultimate concern and never-ending fascination. Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with still about the nature of the universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning. The concept of a lawful universe with order that can be understood and relied upon emerged largely out of religious beliefs about the nature of God.
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