Karl Heim

Karl Heim (20 January 1874 – 30 August 1958) was a professor of dogmatics at Münster and Tübingen. He retired in 1939.[1] His idea of God controlling quantum events that do and would seem otherwise random has been seen as the precursor to much of the current studies on divine action.[1] His current influence upon religion and science theology has been compared in degree to that of the physicist and theologian Ian Barbour and of the scientist and theological organizer Ralph Wendell Burhoe.[2] His doctrine on the transcendence of God has been thought to anticipate important points of later religious and science discussions, including the application of Thomas Kuhn's idea of a paradigm to religion and Thomas F. Torrance's theory of multileveled knowledge.[3] Mention of Heim's physical and theological concept of extra-dimensional space can be found in a 2001 puzzle book by the popular mathematics writer Martin Gardner.[4] His concept of space has also been discussed by Ian Barbour himself, who in a review of the book Christian Faith and Natural Science (English translation, 1953, Harper & Brothers) and in a mention of "its more technical sequel" The Transformation of the Scientific World-View (English translation, 1943, Harper & Brothers), found it to be "an illuminating insight."[5]

Karl Heim
Born(1874-05-08)May 8, 1874
Died30 August 1958
Known forReligion and Science theology
Scientific career
InfluencesSøren Kierkegaard
InfluencedWilliam G. Pollard

Place amongst German scholarsEdit

Until the late 1960s Karl Heim's call for a religion and science dialogue was a lone voice amongst German theologians. Within the realm of German scientists who were also Christian laity or religious proponents, Heim's views did however have contemporary company. So while German theologians Karl Barth and Rudolph Bultmann discouraged all types of interdisciplinary religious dialogue with science or any other intellectual discipline, scientists such as Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn, Gunther Howe, and Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker readily participated in religion and science dialogues from the 1930s onward.[6] In the 1960s Anglo-American Creationism-type religion and science dialogues (in particular young earth) began to be promoted by A.E. Wilder-Smith and others involved in the Karl-Heim-Gesellschaft (i.e., the Karl Heim Society).[7]

Concept of spacesEdit

Heim's analog of spaces has been subject to some criticism. He appeared to use a scientific concept to create a new natural-supernatural relationship using a fourth dimension, which, in modern physics, cannot be visualized, and relates to mathematical and physical measurements and is always expressed as a mathematical equation.[5]


  • Christian faith and natural science (1953) full text [1]
  • The transformation of the scientific world view (1953)
  • Jesus the Lord; the sovereign authority of Jesus and God's revelation in Christ (1959)
  • Jesus, the world's perfecter : the atonement and the renewal of the world (1959)
  • The world: its creation and consummation (1962) full text
  • God transcendent; foundation for a Christian metaphysic (1935)
  • Germany's new religion; the German faith movement(1937)
  • The nature of Protestantism (1963)
  • The church of Christ and the problems of the day (1935)
  • Spirit and truth; the nature of evangelical Christianity (1935)
  • The world : its creation and consummation : the end of the present age and the future of the world in the light of the resurrection (1952)
  • The Living fountain; a series of sermons (1936)
  • The new divine order (1930)
  • The gospel of the cross; a second series of sermons (1937)
  • The power of God (1937)

Further readingEdit

  • Schwarz, H (1997). "Karl Heim and John Polkinghorne: Theology and natural sciences in dialogue". Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. 9 (1/2): 105–120.
  • Saunders, Nicholas (2002). Divine action and modern science. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52416-4.
  • Allen, EL (1950). A Guide to the Thought of Karl Heim: Jesus Our Leader. Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Chaning-Pearce, M (2008) [1st. pub. OUP:1941]. The Terrible Crystal: Studies In Kierkegaard And Modern Christianity. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4367-0151-8.
  • Ingemar Holmstrand (1980). Karl Heim on Philosophy, Science and the Transcendence of God (Studia doctrinae Christianae Upsaliensia). Almqvist & Wiksell Internat. ISBN 91-554-1026-X.
  • Avery Robert Dulles (2005). A History of Apologetics. Ignatius Press. pp. 313–314. ISBN 0-89870-933-4.


  1. ^ a b Saunders, Nicholas (2002). Divine action and modern science. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 101. ISBN 0-521-52416-4. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  2. ^ Schwarz, Hans (2005). Theology in a global context: the last two hundred years. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. pp. 560–571. ISBN 0-8028-2986-4. Retrieved 2008-11-13. Karl Heim theologian.
  3. ^ Ingemar Holmstrand (1980). Karl Heim on Philosophy, Science and the Transcendence of God (Studia doctrinae Christianae Upsaliensia). Almqvist & Wiksell Internat. pp. 141–150. ISBN 91-554-1026-X.
  4. ^ Gardner, Martin (2001). The colossal book of mathematics: classic puzzles, paradoxes, and problems: number theory, algebra, geometry, probability, topology, game theory, infinity, and other topics of recreational mathematics. New York: Norton. pp. 154, 169, 706. ISBN 0-393-02023-1.
  5. ^ a b Barbour, Ian (1956). "Karl Heim on Christian Faith and Natural Science". The Christian Scholar. 39: 229.
  6. ^ "Science & Christian Faith in Western Europe: Personal View". J.W. Haas, Jr. PSCF. 42 (March 1990): 39-44.
  7. ^ "The German Creationist Movement". Thomas Schirrmacher. Impact supplement to Acts & Facts. July 14, 1985.