The bio-century challenge : life in a holistic context. In conversation with Cornel du Toit

12 Aug 2014

My engagement in this article with the South African systematic theologian Cornel du Toit in recognition of his valued scholarship is restricted to only two of his contributions in the context of the science–theology debate. The first of these are his recent unpublished paper Immanent transcendence and the nature of life: developments from Schrödinger to Kauffman (April 2012) delivered in Tartu, Estonia. In this contribution Du Toit points towards a challenging way and direction in which reflection on life should be pursued, namely holistically in a bio-century. The second of Du Toit's contributions discussed in this article is his thoughts on life in Values in the science–religion dialogue: biological roots of human nature and interaction with cultural environment. Here he focuses on the biological roots of life-supporting values. I subsequently ask what specific theological contribution can be made to a redefinition of life in the context of the science–theology debate. In my conversation with Du Toit a brief account is given of his argument for a redefinition of life. Broad outlines are then given to suggest how theological thoughts about life can contribute to its redefinition. Lastly the case for the integration of the constitutive importance of affectivity in any effort to redefine life holistically is argued.