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The Open Secret

Alister E. McGrath (Wiley-Blackwell: May 2, 2008), 384 pages.

Alister McGrath’s The Open Secret provides nothing less than the foundations of a vigorous renewal of natural theology for our time. Theologians and others who have considered natural theology an exhausted topic will have second thoughts after reading this richly nuanced, scholarly, creative, and enjoyable book.” ~ John F. Haught, Georgetown University • “This is vintage McGrath: confident, capacious in scope, brisk in exposition, decisive in argument. Noone is better placed to make a case for a revisionary theology of nature; this book is sure to command a wide audience and to generate profitable debate.” John Webster, King’s College, Aberdeen • “For much of the twentieth century natural theology was regarded as intellectually moribund and theologically suspect. In this splendid new book, best-selling author and distinguished theologian Alister McGrath issues a vigorous challenge to the old prejudices. Building on the foundation of the classical triad of truth, beauty and goodness, he constructs an impressive case for a new and revitalized natural theology. This is a well-conceived, timely, and thought-provoking volume.” Peter Harrison, Harris Manchester College, Oxford “The book is learned, covering a great deal of historical ground. ~ First Things

Table of Contents

  • Pt. I The Human Quest for the Transcendent:
    The Context for Natural Theology

    • 2 The Persistence of the Transcendent
    • 3 Thinking About the Transcendent: Three Recent Examples
    • 4 Accessing the Transcendent: Strategies and Practices
    • 5 Discernment and the Psychology of Perception
  • Pt. II The Foundations of Natural Theology:
    Ground-Clearing and Rediscovery

    • 6 The Open Secret: The Ambiguity of Nature
    • 7 A Dead End? Enlightenment Approaches to Natural Theology
    • 8 A Christian Approach to Natural Theology
  • Pt. III Truth, Beauty, and Goodness:
    An agenda for a Renewed Natural Theology

    • 9 Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Expanding the Vision for Natural Theology
    • 10 Natural Theology and Truth
    • 11 Natural Theology and Beauty
    • 12 Natural Theology and Goodness
    • 13 Conclusion
    • Bibliography
    • Index