He returned to Oxford the following year, becoming Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre , and again from until Apart from one year during which he was Royden B. Davis Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Georgetown University , he spent the rest of his life in Oxford , living in St John Street , just across the road from another eminent theologian, Henry Chadwick. In he was awarded the Templeton Prize.

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The Rev Arthur Peacocke AM BST 25 Oct The Reverend Canon Arthur Peacocke, who died on Saturday aged 81, made a significant contribution to the understanding of the structure of DNA during his early career as a scientist, though he became better known, after his ordination as an Anglican priest, as a leading advocate of the proposition that the antagonism between science and religion is based on a fallacy.

In more than papers and 12 books, Peacocke argued that the divine principle is behind all aspects of existence. He proposed a theory, known as "critical realism", which holds that both science and theology aim to depict reality and must be subject to critical scrutiny; and that Scripture, Church and religious tradition cannot be held to be self-authenticating.

He believed that, in the modern age, any theology is doomed unless it incorporates the scientific perspective into its "bloodstream". Thus he argued that Darwinian evolution, far from being a threat to Christian theology, offers a chance to develop it further. His scientific researches convinced him of the astonishing regularity of the universe, from the microscopic to the astronomic.

The processes of evolution, he believed, are consistent with an all-knowing, all-powerful God who exists through all time, sets natural laws and knows what the results will be.

As for the problem of evil, Peacocke argued that it is necessary for organisms to die for others to enter the world. Thus pain, suffering and death are necessary evils in a universe which provides the environment for beings capable of having a relationship with God. Peacocke was convinced that, in the debate between science and religion, the Church of England had a special role due to its historic inheritance of catholic order, evangelical commitment and openness to new ideas.

This had enabled it to provide a unique forum for open discussion: "One fruit of this, not generally realised but evoking admiration not to say astonishment in the informed of other churches, is the exceptionally large number of qualified scientists to be found in its ordained ministry," he observed.

Through helping to reconcile scientific and religious perspectives, Peacocke believed, the Anglican church was providing a service which could be crucial for the survival of the Christian faith in any form in the new millennium. After completing a doctorate, in Peacocke became a lecturer in chemistry and then senior lecturer in biophysical chemistry at Birmingham University.

After Crick and Watson announced their discovery of the structure of DNA in their famous paper in the scientific journal Nature in , Peacocke and his colleagues at Birmingham went on to show that the chains in DNA are not branched, as once thought, and that the double helix exists in a solution.

An evangelical Christian in his teenage years, Peacocke turned agnostic as an undergraduate, repelled by conservative evangelical Christianity, which challenged some of the key discoveries of science.

At Birmingham, influenced by the liberal theologian Geoffrey Lampe, Peacocke began a serious study of Theology, took a diploma and a degree in the subject, and was ordained in Arthur Peacocke was appointed MBE in He married, in , Rosemary Mann, with whom he had a son and a daughter.


Arthur Peacocke

Peacocke attended the prestigious Watford Grammar School for Boys. Peacocke then received a doctorate in physical biochemistry from Oxford in During the s, while working at the virus laboratory at the University of California , he was part of a team that identified properties of the recently discovered DNA molecule. He received a doctorate of science from Oxford in A self-described mild agnostic during his college years, Peacocke later found himself searching for answers to questions he considered too broad for science alone to answer. He began theology studies and received a bachelor of divinity degree from the University of Birmingham in , when he was also ordained a priest in the Church of England.


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The Rev Arthur Peacocke


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