Does theology have any relevance to the problem of life and death? According to John Heywood Thomas the answer is an unequivocal yes. A largely personal expression of this conviction precedes the argument's exposition, which is then stated first of all quite generally - that thing human is alien to theology's concern. Three main issues are considered: the unborn life, death as an event in life, and the possibility of global death. The issue of a life before birth is a complex problem, requiring as much awareness of philosophical issues as of relevant empirical factors. The same kind of multifaceted thinking is needed in confronting the issue of death, an inescapable topic for theology. If death is an event in life what does it reveal about the meaning of life? And what of the very human action of the funeral? After a discussion of the complex issues involved the argument returns to the global reference of theology. Two areas of concern are singled out to show that the theologian can offer guidance in debate: the environmental crisis and the threat of nuclear war.
John Heywood Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Nottingham University, was Head of its Department of Theology and successively Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Arts Faculty. He had taught previously at the University of Manchester, Episcopal Seminary Austin, Texas, and the University of Durham. Described by Paul Tillich as his