I never met The Rev Canon John Polkinghorne. The first time I encountered his name was in a college philosophy textbook, one I was surprised to find still listed for sale online. Today as I read his obituary (More than a month after his death,) I feel a sense of regret having never met the man. I would love to have talked to him about his unique life path.
Dr. Polkinghorne was a Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge from 1968 until 1979. His published works include titles such as The Analytic S-Matrix (1966,) The Particle Play (1979,) Models of High Energy (1980,) and 31 others. But he resigned his position in the physics world to become an Anglican priest, though he remained an Honorary Fellow of the college until his death.
His worldview stood as a testament against the claims of some atheist writers who insist there is some barrier between science and Christianity. Polkinghorne saw no barrier. He believed, as other people of science believe, that advances in his field made it easier to believe in God. It is also the reason I felt it appropriate to make this post about his death on the website of a Southern and Country Gospel radio station. The purpose of the station is to encourage Christians in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to our faith. To that end, I hope highlighting Polkinghorne’s life (and others throughout the year) will shed light on the false idea that one must make a choice between following God or studying His creation. Polkinghorne’s words illuminated this idea in the mind of a much younger me years ago as a college student. I hope his words will continue to do the same for others.
John Polkinghorne was 90.