Gifford Lectures
Help | Site Map | About Us | Contact Usspacer


Any Word





  What’s New

2014 Gifford Lecture Series: University of Edinburgh

What is Caesar’s? Adjudicating Faith in Modern Constitutional Democracies to be held on Monday 19 May 2014. [More…]

2014 Gifford Lecture Series: University of Glasgow

Givenness and Revelation begins Tuesday 20 May 2014. [More…]

YouTube Channel

Gifford Lectures now has a YouTube Channel! [More…]


A new Gifford Lectures page for St. Andrews. [More…]

Eight Books Based on Gifford Lectures

Eight books derived from the Gifford lectures are available. [More…]


  Follow Us On

Facebook Twitter YouTube


Natural Theology 1891–1893

George Gabriel Stokes


Table of Contents


Delivered over the course of 1891 and 1893, George Gabriel Stokes's Gifford Lectures focused on the question of Divine Design, which he defined as God's Will and creation itself. Stokes contrasts Design with materialism, which posits that all life and all inorganic phenomena are caused by natural laws, and nothing more. Stokes rebuts that view by arguing a materialistic conception of the universe cannot explain why certain natural laws exist, such as the law of gravitation. It can only describe the phenomena we observe in the form of mathematical theories. Answering the why question relies on a type of knowledge that extends beyond the ken of science ó it relies on faith. Indeed, Stokes argues such a question can only be answered by appealing to the supernatural ó a God that created both functional and beautiful things for the physical and psychological well-being of His creatures. In his Gifford lectures, Stokes takes a particular interest in criticizing the materialistic view of life that he thinks is engendered in Darwinian natural selection. He also takes a particular interest in emphasizing the role Christian Revelation plays in limiting the types of knowledge claims that scientists think they can make. A deeply religious man and a renowned physicist and mathematician, Stokes tries desperately to combine his religiosity with his determined belief in the existence of natural laws.
Josipa Petrunic
KEY WORDS: Supernatural, God's Will, Revelation, Phenomenal world, Design, Darwin, Natual Selection, Christian faith, Death, Ether

Publication Data

OnlineAdam and Charles Black1891
OriginalAdam and Charles Black1891
Templeton Press